Textile Tourism: ECO-WEAVING

It is easy to be attracted to the materials in the work of Uruguayan artist Silvia Umpiérrez, as if she had nothing to do in the making of her creative pieces.

Silvia Umpiérrez: basket. Weaving with "pinocha" (pine needles), and other materials.

On the other hand, this unique work also shows a revaluation of the natural element normally thrown away or burnt, appearing to us in the life of something else. That can only be achieved through a thinking and creating process: Silvia’s own rhyme and reason is present at all times.

Silvia Umpiérrez: basket showing a Central American weaving technique. Pine needles.

She enjoys the sensorial beauty of dry nature—its colors and scents—which she normally works on a very simple, native loom used in the Uruguayan countryside to weave blankets and flounces, whose warp allows the incorporation of various materials.

…“I weave with my hands, placing each fiber, one by one. Same as life itself, I weft with transparencies and textures, respecting the natural colors of each material…”

Silvia Umpiérrez: basket in Coulding technique.

Silvia feels comfortable within this form of showing dry elements, including them in artistic work as well as utilitarian objects. She makes her tapestries by working with palm tree inflorescences, which give her a certain transparency. 

Silvia Umpiérrez: tapestry detail. Formio fiber (natural raffia-like leave, approx. 150cm. in length).

Tapestry by Silvia Umpiérrez. Some of the materials employed in her tapestry are banana peels, gum wraps, philodendron, and in some cases, her own dyed yarns and leathers.

In 2009, the Montevideo Museum of Contemporary Arts invited artists to create art with industrial fabrics. This was the first time that Silvia ventured away from organic found materials, using instead her grandmother’s ironing board to make a more traditional composition.

This year, however, Silvia’s wonderful mobile piece is being exhibited in the Art Object Salon at the WTA’s 6th International Biennial of Contemporary Textile Art in Mexico. Made with materials such as eucalyptus and woven philodendron and watsonia leaves, it measures 50 X 35 X 20cm. 

Silvia Umpiérrez. Work presented at 6th WTA Biennial in Mexico.

Decorative lamp by Silvia Umpiérrez.

Decorative lamp by Silvia Umpiérrez.

Left: Two of Silvia’s candle holders.

Photos at the bottom show raw materials before being woven into beautiful tapestries. Banana leaves and a great variety of twigs and sprays become part of the weft. The last picture is a detail of the finished tapestry.

Silvia Umpiérrez: tapestry (the "after" photo)

To see more of Silvia’s work, please go to her blog (in Spanish) at

—Silvia Piza-Tandlich, translation


2 thoughts on “ECO-WEAVING

  1. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my website so i came to “return the favor”.I’m attempting to find things to improve my site!I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

    • Hi Lindy. It’s always good to see other people’s work for inspiration. When it comes to the technicalities of blogging, however, I’m afraid I’m merely a survivor with absolutely no creativity
      Have fun!

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