The Threads of Life

At the jobette, we feature a local artists each month. On the first Friday of the month, shops and art galleries stay open late, and in the summer, that’s when the farmers’ market is open downtown. So it’s pretty festive.

This month, our artists were a group of women who immigrated from Mexico. They live in a wine-making valley, and together they learned to read, speak English, and quilt. They call their group “Los Hilos de la Vida”, or “The Threads of Life”. Their quilts are remarkable.

Many of them show their immigration stories, and these can be joyful or painful. One artist told me that she carried her money in her hair to hide it from the coyotes who helped her across the border, and another woman told me that she was in labor during her border crossing and no-one believed her (both she and the baby are fine). This quilt shows a train journey, with the artist in a baggage car with her cats:

A woman after my own heart. There can’t be too many people who bring their cats on a journey like that!

This one would not be out of place in an art gallery in New York:

I’m not sure how she managed to transfer the wrappers from cigarettes and candy bars to the fabric, but it’s an amazing effect. She also has tiny wheels and other found objects. This part of the quilt represents the garbage piles in Mexico City – the city itself is in the background – where people live in huts. This is what she left behind to come to America.

I love it that these women came together to help and strengthen each other, to learn and grow together, and to tell their stories in such a beautiful and moving way.