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I learned this supplementary warp technique in Huancayo, Peru making little bird and geometric figures for a border on a wider piece of weaving. Later I studied it again in Cabanaconde, Peru-a variation, but again used to decorate only a small part of a large weaving.

Once when visiting a farm in southern Argentina, the owner showed me a belt that had been made by the wife of his Mapuche farmhand many years earlier. I was surprised to see that it had been woven using this very same supplemetary warp technique-large colorful geometric patterns that filled the width of the belt. I then became fascinated by Mapuche designs and the use of this technique. Recently I was given a beautiful book of Mapuche designs and was able to use it to weave the above band.

As always when I use a new yarn or, as in this case, a new combination of yarns, it is difficult to judge how wide the piece will be and so I started out too wide and the band gradually narrowed. I never use tenter sticks or stretchers but now I know how to gauge the width of this number of warps with this combination of yarns and will try again!!. The blue warp is much thicker than the ground weave so that the supplementary warp pattern jumps out of the background.

I had been trying for months online without success to make contact with someone in the Mapuche community who would teach me to weave. In May, on my way to Australia, I got stranded in Santiago airport for hours and made friends with a Mapuche family and now I am going to go and weve with them in November!!

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