Search |

Tatter Blue Library

Image caption appears here

Add your deal, information or promotional text

Image caption appears here

Add your deal, information or promotional text

Image caption appears here

Add your deal, information or promotional text

Arpilleras: Dollmaking

“Arpillera” in English loosely translates to burlap- descriptive of the common substrate fabric on which colorful, narrative compositions native to Chile, are appliquéd. 

However bright and lyrical these compositions may be, the legacy of Chilean Arpilleras is one of politics, deeply personal story, and lived trauma. 

The practice of Arpilleras was established in Chile in the 70s, during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. In those trying times, human rights violations were a daily occurrence. Many families knew torture, illegal detentions, and murders first hand. To this day, there are families searching for the remains of their parents, spouses, and children.

As we see time and time again, deep suffering can be the seed of profound resilience. An organization called the Vicaría de la Solidaridad, began to provide moral and legal support, primarily to female relatives of victims of abuse, detainees, and missing people. These women spent much of their time in offices, waiting for information from their relatives. It was there, under the guidance of a leader named Valentina Bonne, where the first Arpillera workshop began. With very few materials, they began to embroider and transfer their pain, anguish, and grief to the fabric. Their needle and thread told their stories.

In the Arpilleras, fabric figurines are representative of humans and play a relevant role in the construction and the narration of the stories that these textiles tell.

Join Scarlett Yàvar Garcia, as she highlights the importance of Arpilleras throughout Chilean history, discusses the significance of the fabric figurines and their makers, and engages our hands from all over the world in this doll-making practice.

“It is in our hands, in our needles and threads, that the history of these women is not lost.” – Scarlett Yàvar Garcia”

April 20th, 2024

10 am - 12:30 pm ET

This workshop will take place on Zoom. It will be recorded and the recording will be available to students for one month after the live session.

Please collect these materials before class. These are highly personalizable and we recommend you using your studio scraps.

  • Approx 8x8 inch square of stretchy fabric (pantyhose or a cast aside t-shirt works great) in whatever color you choose to imitate skin
  • Cotton stuffing (synthetic or organic) Enough to fill the small doll's head
  • Embroidery floss for doll's eyes and mouth (your choice of color)
  • Embroidery threads or yarn for doll's hair
  • Scraps of fabric for doll's clothes
  • Sewing needle and sewing thread
  • Craft or fabric scissors
  • Optional: Brooch clip, base pin, safety

Quick View

TATTER explores the medium of textiles to tell human stories and cultivate understanding.