A Violeta Cover: How Artists from Different Disciplines can Inspire Quilts

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By Carolina Oneto, Individual Member, Santiago, Chile

For a Spanish translation, click here.

On October 4, 2017 was 100 years since the birth of Violeta Parra, who was a singer-songwriter, painter, sculptor, embroiderer and Chilean potter, considered one of the leading folklorists in South America and great popular music disseminator of Chile. Her work served as inspiration to several later artists, who continued with their task of rescuing the music of the Chilean countryside and the manifestations of the folklore of Chile and Latin America.

To celebrate 100 years of her birth, I was invited to participate in a Quilts Sample inspired by Violeta Parra.

At first, I thought I could take my inspiration from the lyrics of her songs, many of which I knew and sang while I was in school. But after further investigations about her textile work of embroidery on burlap, I was deeply moved by her work "Against the War”, 1963.

"Contra la Guerra" by Violeta Parra | Image: Departamento de Extensión de la Universidad de Santiago de Chile


In this work, Violeta made an embroidery with wool in jute cloth (burlap), where she appears represented by a woman of violet color (like her name), with a small branch with the form of a cross on her head, and as she indicated, she was accompanied by 3 characters who love PEACE, the red one is a Jewish Argentinian friend, who on his head carries a branch similar to the Menorah. In green (color that symbolizes hope) and with a lily twig in her head, it is the representation of one of Violeta’s friend, who introduced her in the ceramics. Finally, in blue, the sacred color of the Mapuches, is the representation of a Chilean woman with a cinnamon stick on her head, the sacred tree for the Mapuches.

The flowers of each character correspond to their souls. In this work, Violeta surrounds herself with these three characters, all cradling a dove of peace. The rifle represents war and death.

With this beautiful source of inspiration, I decided to represent the 4 characters in my quilt, and I did it with applications of hexagons and respecting the same colors that Violeta used to embroider them.

For the background, I chose a cotton fabric, that was similar in color to the burlap, and that even has a very subtle print simulating a weft.

Since the Quilt was for a collective show, it had to measure 50 x 50 cm, so the characters appear in a different arrangement, starting with Violeta in the lower right corner and from there continue counterclockwise.

The quilting was done with straight lines, going through the vertices of each hexagon.

Binding was not placed, in this case a facing was the best option for this quilt.

The creation of this Quilt led me to internalize the importance of peace, tolerance and diversity, values and rights that transcend the times and moments we live. This work leads us to understand that the love for peace must endure beyond religious, ethnic, social and political differences, especially in these days, where we see how these fundamental rights of human beings are transgressed and forgotten ... as said by Violeta Parra, "let's love PEACE."