Arpilleras: A Peruvian Folk Art Tradition
Lucuma Designs began working with Arpilleras artisans in the late 90s, but the art itself started back in the 70s. It was a time of turmoil in Peru and the social unrest in the city forced many Andean communities to retreat to the outskirts of Lima to be safe and have a better life. When they migrated, they had to start their lives from scratch and learn new skills. The women took up the craft of quilt making from missionaries and transformed it with their own unique designs featuring scenes from their daily lives. The joyous colors of flowers, produce and nature embody the Andean people’s connection with and celebration of their surroundings.
The technique to make Arpilleras requires much creativity, attention to detail and dedication to recycling. Each quilt is made of sometimes hundreds of tiny fabric scraps including recycled bathing suit material. Each fabric scrap is cut just so and hand-stitched into place with extra embroidery to create a three-dimensional work of art.
Today, the art of crafting Arpilleras has undergone a few changes as a second-generation of artists has taken over the craft. Today they have re-invented the traditional art to accommodate the increasingly global market. Arpilleras may not be appreciated as the landmark folk art it once was, but Lucuma Designs’ dedicated partnership has allowed the artists to continue to improve their art form.
A woman cuts pieces of recycled green bathing suit fabric to make leaves for a tree:
The talented Arpilleras artists outside the workshop:
Beautiful Arpillera featuring a bustling farmers market scene in our Seattle store: