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Arpillera

On This Day in History Quilt for February 27:
On this day in 2010 an earthquake measuring 8.8 on the Richter scale hit off the coast of central Chile killing over 500 people and injuring thousands. The quake spawned a tsunami that damaged coastal towns in Chile as well as minor damage in California and major damage to a fishing village in Japan. It was the sixth largest earthquake ever to be recorded by a seismograph.

1E-3D-2269_2.27.13

This 18” x 14” machine pieced, appliqued and embroidered wall hanging titled “Arpillera” was made in Chile around 1980. The word arpillera means burlap fabric in Spanish, and is used to describe the complex tapestries (and in this case a pieced and embroidered textile) created by women in protest of the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship. The narrative textiles describe the harsh effects this regime had on Chile and its people.

The quilt was documented by John Beck, staff member of the Michigan State University Museum who purchased it from Madame Letellier, who was teaching at the University of Michigan at the time. Letellier is the widow of Orlando Letellier who was assassinated by the Pinochet regime in Washington D.C. in 1976. The piece tells the story of a strike by the professionals’ union (professors, engineers, etc.) in Chile.

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to read more about it’s history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Chile_earthquake  
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/February_27
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letelier_case
http://www.coha.org/chilean-women%E2%80%99s-resistance-in-the-arpillera-movement/

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Amy Milne headshot

Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance
amy.milne@quiltalliance.org

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