Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Map of patterns - Llamas, Alpaca and Lily Schlaen

This is Lily Schlaen. Her grandparents were Jewish migrants from Eastern Europe but she was born in Rosario, Argentina, the birthplace of Che Guevera.

When I asked her if she could help with my map of patterns, she told me about the sweet smell of alpaca wool, it's silkiness, the earthy colours which remind her of home and most of all its warmth.

"The poncho reminds me of feeling the bitter sweet cold of Cordoba's family had a little house in the mountains....a place between the Earth and the Heavens....nights of starred skies, the smell of orange peels burnt by my father at the open fire.....galloping wild on the neighbours horse, getting lost and given a fright by the mountains bulls...., visiting my Ukrainian violin teacher, who danced Russian style while playing franticallly the czardas on top of the kitchen table, high on the sharp vodka..."

Lily is a musician and has begun, 'Orquestra Sin Fronteras,' an orchestra without any barriers where people of all ages, abilities and nationalities come together to create beautiful sounds and a common purpose - a bit like the musical version of this map of patterns. Her orchestra is already booked to play at the Olympics in 2012! You can watch them perform on YouTube.

Although Lily has lived in England for a long time, whenever she feels homesick, her mother sends her a poncho or a jersey so that she can wrap herself in the warmth and smells and of home.
I've sewed a piece of Lily's precious alpaca jersey onto South America.

Amazingly it carries the same pattern as a picture I found of an ancient Peruvian embroidery - a procession of llamas and steps.

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