I discovered tapestry in a casual way. I decided to study Fine Arts at the University of Chile and there I discovered the textile workshop. Somehow I found in this place something I was looking for, a different way to develop my artistic practice. In the workshop, the concepts of art and craft were intertwined. One of the characteristics that I love the most about working in textiles is related to the long processes involved in the different techniques being valued for their particularities, and as they contribute to the whole.
In the beginning I learned shibori. This technique introduced me to the language of fibers and colors. I was particularly interested in the gradations and soft steps between tones. Here I was introduced to the minuteness and slowness in the processes. Then I learned the gentle art of tapestry – one of my favorite techniques and the one I have been practicing the most. Thanks to this experience I discovered a new kind of time and a new way to relate to the environment – a very different way from what I was used to, where immediacy silences the beauty of delaying and contemplating.
My work is related to the reinterpretation of photographs, through re-framing small details and changing the scale of the images, generating new views, bringing to life new ways of “representation.” Other interests have resulted from the study of technical ways of representing different materialities, such as the folded sleeve of a wool sweater or a vasija de greda (clay pot) on a wooden shelf.
“Violeta’s hands” originated as an homage to Violeta Parra in her centenary. This work tries to, or at least chooses to give an answer to the question “How we can see her work today?” My attention was caught by a photograph in which she, Violeta, appears working at home. In this scene I felt the beauty of an instant. I believe that this scene evokes and reveals an intimate moment, one that usually has no spectators. I also found it interesting to represent an action and the development of a technique, such as papier-mâché, through weaving. This piece involved a lot of work, about a year. In the beginning, I spent five months researching Violeta’s work. After that I took on the formal study of the final image, its colors and fibers. The other seven months were weaving. During that period, my work time and its relation in general with the concept of time, tended to change. The set of actions went from hours and hours of weaving, or not weaving, thinking about weaving, and even dreaming about the movement of the weft – from one side to the other, back and forth, back and forth, generating rhythms that in my opinion go beyond every aspect of everyday life, or at least that’s what I felt when I was devoting most of my attention to this activity.
Through my work I seek to materialize all the emotions and thoughts that vibrate when I’m in contact with fibers, and to reevaluate techniques and “doing” in general – whether through art, craft or any practice that involves a personal investigation through materiality. I think it is necessary to go back a bit to how things were done before, look at the objects from the perspective of who produced them, in order to know their context and, in a certain way, to absorb a bit of the essence of their making and maker.
Pamela Palma Olguín lives in Santiago, Chile and is finishing her degree in Fine Arts with a major in Textiles at the University of Chile. She is currently doing an internship at the Andrés Bello Central Archive, in the area of conservation and restoration of photographs.