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April 12-May 24, 2015: Karren K. Brito – Quechquemitls: Process and Product

Karren K. Brito

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About the Exhibition

Quechquemitls are womens’ cape that were worn by priestess and royal women before the Spaniards arrived in Mesoamerica and are still worn today. And they are still hand-made. This long-lived design is ingenious; two flat panels are joined to make a three-dimensional shoulder cape. The pre-hispanic ones were hand-spun and woven on back strap looms. The joins and edges tend to be elaborate and hand-done to add to the beauty and uniqueness of each cape.

With such a long history the quechquemitl appears in many elaborations; old ones are hand-spun and hand-woven with four selvages; newer ones use commercially spun yarn, and even now many are embroidered on commercially produced cloth.

The Quechquemitls in this exhibit also span a range of processes from hand0spinning to computer printing on commercially woven silk cloth. The process is as important as the product and these processes are documented in sketch- and note-books. You can see the starting materials as well as the samples and trials. In the 21st century few of us have any contact with the process of making textiles; we just buy them at the store. Here you can see the traditional craft.

Join us for the Artist’s Reception, from 5-8pm, Sunday, April 12, 2015. Karren will be on hand to talk about the materials, the process and the traditions.

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