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Behind The Stitches: Daniela Contreras Flores

“When I met tapestry I fell in love with the process"

Sam: Where are you from and where are you currently based?

Daniela: I am and I currently live in Santiago of Chile.


Sam: ¿De dónde eres y dónde te encuentras actualmente?

Daniela: Soy y vivo actualmente en Santiago de Chile

Sam: What is your craft of choice?

Daniela: My craft of choice is tapestry but I enjoy many other textile techniques.

Sam: ¿Cuál es tu oficio de elección?

Daniela: Mi oficio de elección es la tapicería pero disfruto de muchísimas otras técnicas textiles.


Sam: Where does your love of fiber crafting come from?

Daniela: It comes from when I was a child. My mother taught me how to knit when I was very young. Over time I have learned other things related to fibers and my love for it has never stopped growing.

Sam: ¿De dónde viene tu amor por la fabricación de fibras?

Daniela: Viene desde que soy niña ya que mi mamá me enseñó a tejer siendo muy pequeña, con el tiempo fui aprendiendo otras cosas vinculadas con las fibras y el amor nunca ha dejado de crecer.


Sam: When and how did you learn to weave?

Daniela: I learned to weave in 2010 with Paola Moreno, in the textile art workshop of the Universidad de Chile. That was my first approach with this technique.

Sam: ¿Cuándo y cómo aprendiste a tejer?

Daniela: Aprendí a tejer a telar el año 2010 con Paola Moreno, en el taller de arte textil de la Universidad de Chile, esa fue mi primera aproximación con esta técnica.


Sam: How would you describe your weavings to someone who has never seen them?

Daniela: This has always been a difficult question to answer. But I think I have already a predetermined quick answer in my mind, that sounds something like “My tapestries are characterized by being reproductions of very delicate and fine images that speak about different themes like...”, the rest of the explanation will depend on how much the other person wants to know.

Sam: ¿Cómo describirías tus tejidos a alguien que nunca los ha visto?



Daniela: Esta siempre es una pregunta difícil de responder pero creo que ya tengo una respuesta rápida predeterminada en mi mente que suena algo así como “Mis tejidos se caracterizan por ser reproducciones de imágenes muy delicadas y finas que hablan de distintas temáticas como...”, el resto de la explicación dependerá de cuanto más quiera saber la otra persona.


Sam: What has your crafting process brought to your life?

Daniela: I have always been very chaotic and unfocused. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do because I have always been fascinated by many different things. When I met tapestry I fell in love with the process. Somehow my work has helped me to find order and structure, focus on something specific, live the process, and finish things. Little by little I have been looking to take this for the rest of my life. Although many times it is not easy because our culture and society ask us the opposite. It demands immediate results, it demands a very different pulse from creating. There is a constant act of resistance and revolution in our trade.






Sam: ¿Qué ha traído a tu vida tu proceso de elaboración?

Daniela: Siempre fui muy caótica y dispersa, no tenía muy claro que quería hacer porque siempre sentí fascinación por muchas cosas distintas. Cuando conocí la tapicería me enamoré del proceso. De algún modo mi trabajo me ha ayudado muchísimo a encontrar un orden y estructura, colocar el foco en algo específico, vivir el proceso y terminar cosas. Poco a poco he ido buscando llevar esto al resto de mi vida, aunque muchas veces no sea fácil porque nuestra cultura y sociedad nos pide todo lo contrario, nos demanda resultados inmediatos, nos exige un pulso muy distinto al de crear. Hay un constante acto de resistencia y revolución en nuestros oficios.


Sam: How often do you create a new weaving?

Daniela: It depends on many factors. There are more intense seasons than others. But I think that every month I weave something, even if it is small because in addition to doing art I am a weaving teacher and I am always reviewing the technique or investigating new things. So there is always a woven in process or ready to be disassembled.

Sam: ¿Con qué frecuencia creas un nuevo tejido?

Daniela: Depende de muchos factores, hay temporadas más intensas que otras pero creo que todos los meses tejo algo, aunque sea pequeño porque además de hacer obras soy profesora de tapicería y siempre estoy repasando la técnica o investigando nuevas cosas, así que siempre hay un tejido urdido, en proceso o listo para desmontar.



"I fundamentally discovered how important it is to observe what others see in your work, as it is usually very different from what one initially observed"



Sam: When was the first time you showed your work to the public and what was that experience like for you?


Daniela: The first exhibition in which I participated was in Costa Rica, the year 2010. I could not go but two years later I participated in the exhibition Contemporary Textile Art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Chile. It was a very exciting and educational time. I fundamentally discovered how important it is to observe what others see in your work, as it is usually very different from what one initially observed. The encounter with the other and the dialogue were two very important things within that experience.

Sam: ¿Cuándo fue la primera vez que mostró su trabajo al público y cómo fue esa experiencia para usted?


Daniela: La primera exposición en la que participé fue en Costa Rica, el año 2010 y no pude ir pero dos años más tarde participé en la exposición Arte Textil Contemporáneo en el Museo de Bellas Artes en Chile, fue un momento muy emocionante y de mucho aprendizaje, donde fundamentalmente descubrí lo importante que es observar lo que otros ven en tu obra, pues suele ser muy distinto a lo que uno observó inicialmente. El encuentro con el otro y el diálogo fueron dos cosas muy importantes dentro de esa experiencia.

Sam: Can you walk us through your crafting process? What goes into creating one of your weavings?


Daniela: The process is quite long and has several parts. The first thing is to have an idea/inspiration. Then I materialize this in a photo. Sometimes I take the photo myself and other times I ask a friend to take it, in general, I do not need something so professional. It is more of a guide. Then I work with that image digitally, simplifying things, changing color, etc. Then I print it in a 1:1 format and with the print, I select the colors. At the same time, I prepare the loom and mark the drawing on the warps already mounted. Once all these steps have been completed, I am ready to weave, which is undoubtedly the best moment of the process. With the finished tapestry, I make the endings, which can also be a fairly long process. This is a summary of most of the steps I take to create a tapestry.

Sam: ¿Puedes guiarnos a través de tu proceso de elaboración? ¿Qué implica crear uno de tus tejidos?


Daniela: El proceso es bastante largo y tiene varias partes. Lo primero es tener una idea/inspiración, luego materializo esto en una foto, algunas veces tomo la foto yo y otras veces le pido a alguna amiga que la tome, en general no necesito algo tan profesional, es más bien una guia. Luego trabajo con esa imagen digitalmente, simplifico cosas, cambio color, etc. Luego lo imprimo en un formato 1:1 y con la impresión selecciono los colores. De forma paralela preparo el telar y marco el dibujo sobre las urdimbres ya montadas. Cumplidos todos estos pasos estoy lista para tejer, que es sin duda el mejor momento del proceso. Con el tejido terminado realizo las terminaciones, lo que también puede ser un proceso bastante largo. Este es un resumen de la mayoría de los pasos que realizo para crear un tejido.

"When the work is finished the emotion is a mix of gratitude and confidence, of having been able to achieve the challenge and know that I am ready for a new one"


Sam: How long does a typical weaving take you to complete?

Daniela: The time is very varied, in a technical sample it can take me 4 hours. But in a medium format, it can take me 3 months. The largest tapestry I have made took 2 years! Time is something very complex to quantify when you weave because the crafting of the fabric is slow in itself and our life and society demand a lot of activity. That energy is very different from the act of weaving, sometimes it hinders and sometimes nourishes it. It is necessary to learn to channel and organize many things when you are a weaver.

Sam: ¿Cuánto tiempo te lleva completar un tejido típico?


Daniela: El tiempo es muy variado, en una muestra técnica puedo tardar 4 horas pero en un formato medio puedo tardar 3 meses, el tapiz más grande que hice tardé 2 años!. El tiempo es algo muy complejo de cuantificar cuando tejes porque el oficio del tejido es lento en si mismo y nuestra vida y sociedad nos demanda de mucha actividad, esa energía es muy distinta al acto de tejer, a veces lo entorpece y otras lo alimenta, es necesario aprender a canalizar y organizar muchas cosas cuando eres una tejedora.

Sam: Where do you pull your inspiration from when starting a new project?

Daniela: I am a restless person. That makes the inspiration come from very varied places. There is not a single source. Sometimes it can be a poem, a photo I took from some time ago, a painting, a song, a meme, everything is possible. But in general, I feel a great fascination for the pre-Columbian peoples, especially those belonging to Peru. Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the state of nature and the way in which we connect with each other within such a technological society.


Sam: ¿De dónde sacas tu inspiración cuando comienzas un nuevo proyecto?

Daniela: Soy una persona un poco inquieta, eso hace que la inspiración venga de lugares muy variados, no hay una sola fuente. A veces puede ser un poema, una foto que tomé hace tiempo, una pintura, una canción, un meme, todo es posible. Pero en general siento una gran fascinación por los pueblos precolombinos, sobre todo los pertenecientes a Perú, y últimamente he estado pensando mucho entre el estado de la naturaleza y la forma en la cual nos vinculamos entre nosotros y con ella dentro de una sociedad tan tecnológica.

Sam: Do you enjoy the process of making more or less than the finished object that you made?



Daniela: They are very different emotions, I don't think one is over another. The process is magical because the image appears little by little. There is a lot of love, doubts, and learning during that time... it is enigmatic. When the work is finished the emotion is a mix of gratitude and confidence, of having been able to achieve the challenge and know that I am ready for a new one.


Sam: ¿Disfruta el proceso de hacer más o menos que el objeto terminado que hizo?

Daniela: Son emociones muy distintas, no creo que una esté sobre otra. El proceso es mágico porque la imagen va apareciendo poco a poco, hay mucho amor, dudas y aprendizaje en ese momento, es enigmático. Cuando la obra ya está terminada la emoción se mezcla con la gratitud y confianza de haber podido lograr el desafío y saber que estoy lista para uno nuevo.

Sam: Are there any books, youtube channels, or classes that helped you with your creative process when you were first starting out?

Daniela: In addition to the classes I had at the university, some very important books have appeared in my path. The most important is Manual de técnicas textiles andinas de Soledad Hoces de la Guardia y Paulina Brugnoli.


Sam: ¿Hay libros, canales de youtube o clases que realmente te ayudaron con tu proceso creativo cuando empezaste?

Daniela: Además de las clases que tuve en la universidad, han aparecido algunos libros muy importantes en mi camino, el más importa es Manual de técnicas textiles andinas de Soledad Hoces de la Guardia y Paulina Brugnoli.

Sam: What do you like to binge-watch or listen to while you craft?

Daniela: I can't watch anything while I weave, I don't have that ability, I can only listen. I love music and I have a fairly broad spectrum. Right now I am listening to a lot of trap and Chilean indie music. I love podcasts, my favorite is Caseritas.

Sam: ¿Qué te gusta ver en exceso o escuchar mientras haces?

Daniela: No puedo ver nada mientras tejo, no tengo esa habilidad, solo puedo escuchar. Amo la música y tengo un espectro bastante amplio, en este momento estoy escuchando mucha música trap e indie chileno, y amo los podcats, mi favorito es Caseritas.


..........
If you want to see more of Daniela's work you can follow her on Instagram @dcf_artistatextil.



Who should I talk to next? Leave your suggestions in the comments section along with any thoughts you have about Daniela's interview. I’m always on the hunt for inspiring crafters. Also, don't forget to follow along on my Instagram account @bobbleclubhouse for your daily dose of all things fiber. Until next time, happy crafting!

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