Embroidery came up to me in a very magical way. I love this craft because it is very symbolic way to manuver your thoughts. My grandmother had the Alzheimer disease; she was a very refined embroiderer; she had it from her mother who was even better and I presume it goes beyond her… I am the oldest child, the first grandchild. As I lived in Barcelona, my grandmother was diluting and deleting herself…everyweek she forgot something, and it never come back to her again. Meanwhile I was in very difficult situation, because I became illegal from one day to the other because of a new law…anyway embroidery was not something I did. When I was most desperate I woke up one day with the will to fix my clothes. As I bought the threads and needles, I was feeling surprisingly excited to do it. When I started, I felt as if there was a thread floating in my back, piercing me and flowing through out my hand… It was magical and powerful; I felt a such a joy, I knew this feeling from nowhere but I felt so familiar with the craft. It was my very first time embroidering something, not just using needle and thread, but making a drawing, making a creation with it.. From then on I couldn’t stop .. I spent the whole week embroidering all my friends clothes, every hole, every horrible t-shirt became suddenly soemthing else…My mother called me at the end of the week informing me that my grandmother had forgotten how to embroider; I told her, no, she passed it on to me. My mother didn’t believe me, I had never been interested in any of my grandmothers crafts.
Nevertheless I felt included, I felt I belonged to my family in a new way, and for the first time….in some untangible way, we could communicate and I was bond to my grandmother and my great-grandmother and so on…
Embroidering makes sense to me in a very emotional way. It helps me disentangle my mind, and it gives me the sensation of being attached to a past memory that is far behind my knowledge and my conscience.
I think most of the hand crafts have a very special power, because it is a relationship with materials, with memory, it is a communion, it’s like a form of grace, when you know something that passed through you from your ancestors. Transfers into you, and then you have to use beyond the way they did it.
I have been using embroidery in non traditional way. In fact I don’t like to learn formal stitches, I like to invent or to be not so skillful. I like that embroidery has the power to transform any line into something else. I think it is because of the power of time. The time it takes, and also becasue it is a tangible line.
All the women in my family (around 15 of them) have been gathering together every tuesday to knit, to embroider or to make simply any hand craft they know. The power of this meetings its that they help each other, they talk about their lifes, their children, their families, their problems, they exchange recipees, and they also have piggy bank in each house and they save money for a special dinner at the end of the year.
The idea of gathering women from around Colombia, and generate a space in which they can interact, and exchange their stories, comes from here I think. I believe that when you create something that comes out from your sorrow, then it takes antoher meaning, and it is not only sorrow, but also is life connected with the divine, a new meaning. it is yourself creating something with your own hands. Getting women together and making a piece of fabric filled with all they consider worthy of remembering, it is weaving the country memory.
It is an act of “exorcism”. And it is a beautiful way of screaming and bringing to the present the terrible results of this war…