Regina is holding a young boy on her arms, “you must not mind the mess. I have been working all day on the fields and it’s always something to do when you have small children. People should have children when they are 24-26. When you get older you don’t manage to do everything. You are more tired you know?” I don’t think she has to worry about having children at late age she looks pretty young.
“Look I am so sorry if you don’t like our work. But we did the best we could. But one never knows. There is a piece here that I don’t like so much and I wonder if you will accept it.”
My heart jumps as she unfolds the pieces and explains “you see this technique is very difficult to work in this kind of material, therefore I must have 40€ for each piece.” She points at some pieces that look nicer from the back than from the front, “This ones here, in this other technique are much easier and we take 20€ for each. But you should know that is still are better paid work.” Shadow stitching (ponto de sombra) was one of my favourite techniques. Very simple embroidered from the back, one stitch on the left, one stitch on the right, shaping crosses. This technique is usually applied on transparent materials on small shapes as leaves and small flowers.
One day at a flea marked I found a white blouse with embroidery. I wore it for a while and after some time I got fed up with the whites on my wardrobe and coloured them pink. This particular blouse picked up different shades of pink because it was made of different materials. I have been wearing it for years; every time I feel like being beautiful I put it on.
Now I have stolen the embroidery pattern and printed in different materials. I gave the women the embroidery pieces with thread in many different colours. They were all supposed to embroider the same pattern but the choice of material, colour and choice of technique would bee freely up to each one of them.
These women seldom embroider what they like, but what they get from the embroidery house. This was a big challenge for them. It took me a lot of explaining to convince them that they could embroider exactly as they liked.
“I didn’t know that you were going to make shirts out of it. If I knew I would probably do it differently.” At first I was only after giving these women a chance to create something at the same time as I would be able to show the uniqueness in hand work of each woman. But as I cant avoid, giving things a practical purpose, I found out that I could transplant the pieces into wearable items. As it seams to me, embroidery is at its best when in use. Weather its in the picture on the wall, your table cloth or, your clothing.
“I am in heaven… and if no one buys my 15 pieces, I will have to be beautiful every other day of the month.”