Maker

Constanza Urrutia Wegmann

Constanza is a Chilean textile artist working and living in the capital and largest city, Santiago. She shares her time between creating works of art and lecturing in the Textile Arts Workshop at the Fine Arts School of the University of Chile.

"I grew up influenced by a historian mother that loves books and written memory, a lawyer
father working in an office under what for me was a boring routine; a grandmother with
some Christian Arab ancestors that fled the oppressive conditions of the Ottoman Empire,
deserves special mention, she had full command of the arts of weaving and sewing, from
her I learned and got to love this trade, looking at her dexterity to fix old clothes and how
our furniture upholstery was miraculously transformed at the pace of a small sewing
machine. My family memories were treasured as each piece of clothing was repaired, a
time when nothing was abundant, except love and idealism.
All these traits are a legacy conditioning the search for subjects through which my artistic
expression is channeled, focusing especially into that period in the history of my country
when the common people felt that they had a place in the effort to build their dreams.
Later on, when time came to get academic training in the fine arts, it was all but natural to
choose textile art. Textile tradition, trade and manual abilities became my artistic
language, “textility” - if you allow me a word not found in dictionaries - was an important
element in my personal experience and also in the recent history of my own country.

Textiles showed up everywhere, whether I looked into native peoples’ heritage expressed in wonderful textile pieces or looking at the contemporary works such artisanal printed fabrics. Weaving, spinning, dyeing and printing made sense and became a liberating experience that should be nurtured and developed, including both the techniques and the history related to them. Therefore, my work traces the thread between textiles and memory, in order to recover a
fragment of history allowing people – through art - to rescue from obscurity such testimonies from our recent past, in the hope that such actions will help us to pursue the construction of a better society."

The Charanzani project is a set up proposed by Constanza, based on a weaved ribbon typical of said Bolivian village, the center of the Kallawaya cultural region. In her work she follows a process of deconstruction of the Andean textile work, isolating each structural element and conducting a sharp inquiry about their fundamental characteristics, the warp cloth, cordage and barrel, as well as the imagery and the context of the object; besides textiles and foodstuffs, Kallawaya has been known for its herbal doctors throughout the centuries, since pre-inca times to the present. 

The artist generates a shift towards the warp cloth, reflects through the densities of her work, the chromatic spectrum and seam zones. Researching the multiple options in textile technologies she moves freely through the different stages of the object development, the Andean heritage, serigrafic printing and finally the laser printed large format cloth. Recurring images in final work are the keys and horses of Charazani, under a modular sequence, getting a new result through iteration. This development nods to the Bauhaus movement, using the design to suggest the connection of the industrial process with the day to day character of the object.