Thursday, June 9, 2011

still life with white flowers

still life with white flowers,
crewelwork tapestry and
chulucanas vase

In an artisan's shop in Ollyantaytambo, we admire the collection of art. The pink and black wall hanging is a beautiful example of crewelwork, a type of free embroidery with wool yarn applied to wool cloth. The designs include abstract lines and a stylized condor with two Inkas in ceremonial dress on either side. The black and white vase is an exquisite example of the pottery made in Chulucanas, a pueblo on the north coast of Peru, by descendents of the Tallanes, pre-Columbian peoples. The pottery is created through a unique multi-step process. Several techniques are used in the forming. Then a base slip is applied and the piece is burnished three times with river stones. After drying, the piece is fired in a wood-fired kiln. Next, the piece is decorated in a reverse method in which slip is applied to the parts to be left intact. A resin is also applied to give the piece its characteristic brilliance. Several more firings in a smoke kiln with mango leaves darken the uncovered areas. Then the slip is removed and a final wax finish is applied. When completed, each item is signed by the artists who created it. Simple and stunning.

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