Tuesday, 17 May 2022
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  • Textile Details

    'Our Lady of Words', Linda Adams. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)
    'Our Lady of Words', Linda Adams. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)


    Title of Textile:Our Lady of Words
    Maker: Linda Adams
    Country of Origin: England
    Year Produced: 2015
    Size (cm): 93cm (width) x 78cm (length)
    Materials: Central embroidered piece is a cotton and linen mix framed with a cotton border on hessian backing. The dolls include mixed fibre (polyester, wool, silk, linen, cotton with some small beads and cardboard).
    Type of Textile: Arpillera

    In this arpillera, Linda, after much research and deliberation, chose to represent the life of Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral, by stitching her poems; eventually naming the piece Our Lady of Words. Gabriela won the 1945 Nobel Prize for Literature, the first female Latin American poet to do so. The Nobel citation, prominently stitched by Linda, reads:

    “for her lyric poetry which, inspired by powerful emotions, has made her name a symbol of the idealistic aspirations of the entire Latin American world“

    Born in Vicuña, Chile, in 1889, of Basque and Indian heritage, Gabriela became a school teacher at the age of 15. She went on to play a key role in shaping the educational systems of Mexico and Chile, as well as becoming a renowned international author and diplomat.

    Working on this arpillera was a very intense process as “…there was a lot to read and I wanted to use [poems] that I hope say something about the special kind of person she was; her strength, compassion and love of people.” For Linda the poem “Tiny Feet” (1922) “the blue cold little feet was the one that moved me emotionally … and I had to include it.”

    Linda feels that the slow rhythm of stitching brought her closer to the work of Gabriela: “Sewing gave me the chance to read the words over and over because sewing is a slow process and the more I read them the closer to her I feel.”

    The arpillera dolls (19 in total), created in workshops connected to various exhibitions, were added by Deborah Stockdale. These figures symbolise the central role of children and ordinary people in the remarkable life of Gabriela Mistral; educator, diplomat and poet (1889 - 1957).

    Owner: Conflict Textiles collection
    Location: Roberta Bacic, Northern Ireland
    Original / Replica: Original
    Photographer: Martin Melaugh

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