A Boi and the role of iconography in textiles by Ana Maria Gomez

A: I.pron. clí. Prefijo de tercera persona. Third person conjugation
Boi: s. Manta (vestido prehispánico). Plaid (pre-Hispanic “dress”)

A boi: his plaid

Ana Maria Gomez: I have always been fascinated with the role of iconography in textiles among different cultures. Since the traditional looming machine allows a limited set of structural combinations, it could be assumed that most iconography consists of combinations of three basic shapes: diamond, triangles, and crosses. What’s interesting to me is to recognize how each culture appropriates these symbols in different contexts.

Some years ago I started a textile collaboration with William, a traditional handicraft artisan from a small town in the Altiplano cundiboyasense of Colombia: Cucunubá, Cundinamarca.
William is proud to be part of the people that perpetuate an ancestral textile tradition over many generations in this land. So important for the region of Cundinamarca that the spindle is one of the symbols in the town’s heraldry: this artifact occupies a place of privilege next to a dairy cow and the church. Together with William, we sit down by the loom and experiment with the traditional elements that constitute the textile iconography of this place since pre-colonial times. We twist and reinterpret these graphic symbols to create a new perception of them and how we interpret them. By reinterpreting the elements of iconography, the traditional ways of making the textiles are reinforced in the present time. The result is a series of timeless textiles, that recalls and rethinks the past, bringing new questions to the present. Each piece is unique and has a special rhythm and mix of color.

For both of us Is very important to be consent about all elements involved in the production process, from a very good alpaca quality that comes from Peru, until the production process we make with William. We like to respect realistic rhythms of production. Because we like to preserve the textile itself as it comes out of the loom, the flat surface, our production has been by now plaids and scarves. Now they are ready to host new warm encounters.

Content Credit: ©Ana Maria Gomez and Through Objects.

Images: © Alexandra Colmenares Cossio.

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