Quipus and sewing patterns

overlaping and layers


Hi Andrea

If we want to symbolized the idea of overlapping our daily routines and paths, or  even our thoughts, we may invent a new way of drawing, maps or patterns.

Paper patterns hide different shapes, it’s a language. Decode layer by layer. (again !).

And now I will jump into the Inkas. (Leonor and Miguel are talking about them).

I visited a exhibition called “ Chile under the Inka empire” .There I saw Quipus (sometimes called talking knots).

The Incas had never acquired the art of writing, but they developed  a system of knotted cords to store massive amounts of information important to their culture and civilization. The Quipus were made of Alpaca or Llama wool, dyed in various colors, the significance of which was known to the magistrates. The cords were knotted in such a way to represent the decimal system and were fastened at close intervals along the principal strand of the quipus.

It’s still a mystery how to use the quipu.

My thoughts exactly, Carolina!

I see you are a lover of sewing too (or maybe just do it out of necessity…)! It’s exactly these funny overlapped sewing patterns that I also think of in regards to cultural behavior patterns or movements in life. In Germany they are the ‘famous’ BURDA sewing patterns from the do-it-yourself fashion magazine with the same name. You go crazy trying to make sense and unravel them! All these years I have been holding on to a piece of one, and it’s been stuck to my studio wall for ages and inspiring different thoughts. I also love those little drawings demonstrating the different pattern pieces on the back.

I also really love the idea of the Quipus, very exciting. And the first thing that popped into my mind in connection with the talking knots was how carpets are knotted too and usually made of wool, only that their sometimes symbolic storytelling was in the images that were created on the surface. We could regard the experiences in our life or many of the memories as knots marking a continuous string.  There’s also the saying about making a knot in your handkerchief meaning that you want to remember something. Do you have that in Spanish too? Too bad the Quipus system is still a mystery — it would be so interesting to maybe be able to apply it to something…

Burda patternBurda pattern sketches


knots 1

knots 2

knots 3

Hi Andrea

You are right doing a relation between the Quipus and the carpets! Its very interesting to find some similitude between different cultures, and historic periods. Knots are the base of many textiles, and also the base of a lot of mountain and sailing apparel.

How can we communicate now trough them? Using thread to repair our clothes by ourselves? knotting our hair with rastas? Knotting handkerchief often to remember? (I know the expression, but I can’t find a  phrase in Spanish to say it).

Knots to remember.

Knots to tell, to count, to fix, to join….

Knots to unknot?

*I found this objects ( 1_3) on the street some days ago. Beautiful knots.

Smoke and snake


Hi Andrea

Here is summertime. It’s quite hot and every day we see fire around us, and of course, tons of smoke ( The first picture was taken some days ago in our countryside place) I found this snakeskin in the countryside this last week end.

It is not what we have been talking about this last months?

Layers and layers. Our trace. Leave our footprint while we are moving_migrating. Patterns, clothes….I was talking about charcoal some posts ago, and both, the skin and the charcoal are traces of something that happend violently. I mention it as a parallelism between our own human experiences_ feelings_travels_creation.

I think this encounter it’s our Christmas gift.

(I will be back on January 5th. I’ll go  to Valdivia, and then we will go to climb the Longaví volcano. Longaví means “snake’s head” in Mapuche language, so….see you in January!!!)


wishes for the new year

tarjeta navidad 2009

…//comunity//enjoy little things//talk more//go to the countryside//less TV//call our friends//teach with patience//peace// buy less//walk//read more//more culture//celebrate life// greener life//swapping//use the bike//dream// recycle//do things with your hands//share with elders//happiness//laugh//…

start walking…

san sebastian1

san sebastian2

Hi Andrea

I think our time is running now. It’s time to materialize our thoughts into metal (to say it in same way). I don’t want to start to close our conversation, maybe still there’s a lot to say.

I spend the last days of 2009 , and the first of 2010 walking. We walked during 6 days. We climb a mountain and we were in a natural hot springs. We didn’t find other people during this days. It is really amazing to be in a place like that, where you really can make a contrast between what we called civilization and nature. Where you can see the water that feed the cities, and how it was the land before the first migrations started. Point zero.

In this area you can see a lot of  trails that have been made by muleteers (arrieros), because they move their animals in summer (generally cows) from the lower ground to upper sides, looking for good grass for their animals. They usually trespass the “imaginary” boundaries between Chile and Argentina. There’s no limits for them, even the mountains or big canyons. They trace their path putting images of saints in the tress. They carve the trees and put this image with candles. You also find empty bottles of liquor in this places. They sign the tress with their names and dates.

They are migrating every year to the same place. Sometimes they are alone for several months. It’s inherent to them to sign the road and their pass. They are living a trace, a basic one, but a trace.

Hello Carolina, yes, time is running!

Sounds like a very interesting vacation but soothing for the nerves. You are right about getting to work, and don’t worry – you should do what it pulls you to. I have been losing myself between the layers so-to-speak, trying to block out information over-flow of the blogging activity of all the artists and at the same time use it to widen perspective. It is so interesting to read all these different angles and directions of thoughts that people are giving on the theme. But given that time is really running far too fast now, I too think it important that we each concentrate on starting our own works.

now, materials

the snake

working working

from paper to bench…

first steps, experimentando

mano y cobre

step 2

maquette, and silence

step 3

step 3, b

Many thoughts

Photo 7

still trying out some ideas….

I actually like a surprising side-line idea of the huge shadow gray area of all those people following us on the blog. Those little clusters that with time started growing and becoming bigger – kind of like grapes or moss… but I’m afraid I can’t get the technique to bring forth the results I would like.

back to work.

go ahead

step 4

A perfect fit?


papier maché, pigment

testing finishes

step 5

knot, unknot?

step 6step 6abstep 6c

Hi Andrea, I’m still looking for the right fit. Knot or unknot?…and taking a look to our conversation, from the begining….

the first five

step 7

final pieces, but not final pictures….

Here they are

“A Perfect Fit? >or<  Greener Grass On The Other Side?”





fragments, and ready

step 8

Hi andrea: this is a fragment of the final piece. Today I will put it in a box to send it. i dont think the proyect it’s over…let’s see what happend now…maybe the gray area turns to something more colorful!

very gray, earthquake

we suffered a big earthquake last friday night in chile. its a very very gray-black area for a lot chileans.

almost everyone here suffered in some way. damage houses, fear, no light, no water, no communication, their loved ones lost.

soon i will be  in touch, thankfully all my friends and family are fine.

VIP’S for us


the opening of the main exhibition. (lots of claps).