The Layered Textiles of Nena Bardaro, Montevideo.

Yesterday I visited a very interesting retrospective exhibition of the textile art of Uruguayan artist Nena Bardaro, Puntadas de luz,  By presenting this exhibition, the Museo Blanes recognises her importance in non-traditional textiles in this country, as an artist who led in technical and materials innovation, via a long engagment with the community through many activities using her art and creativity, but especially costume and stage scenery design, teaching and training teachers of art.  Her use of natural fibres and experimental use of synthetic fabrics which poliferated in the 70’s resulted in distinctive layered sheer fabric compositions on both grand and minute scales.  Fascinatingly, most pieces in the exhibition feature her particular signature technique of fastening the fabric layers together with what look like tiny stitches but are actually dabs with a very hot tool – a soldering iron or similar – the catalogue doesn’t say, and I could not tell from the photos that accompanied the exhibition.  In any case, such a technique is only possible with synthetic fabrics.

Nena Bardaro, wall hanging detail of stitch-like construction with heat tool.

It is true to say that her work imbues the traditions of the quilt with strong ‘simple’ designs as found in  molas  the hand stitched layered textile art of the Kuna Indians of Panama and Colombia. For the majority of artisans engaged in works of layered fabric held together by stitch (or dabs by a heat tool) the workshop is most frequently the home, on a domestic scale which can to some extent expand and contract as demands for space for larger or small works change.

Nena Bardaro,  Wallhanging, 1974,  175cm x 113cm


Nena Bardaro,  Wallhanging, 1976,  119cm x 190cm approx.

The exhibition opened on May 24th last, and runs until July 24th. Nena’s expertise spanned a wide variety of techniques, knitting, crochet and weaving included, but it is the layered constructions the Museum have chosen to focus on  this time, and I am so pleased to have had the chance to see this.  A full colour catalogue is available from the museum book counter.  An important part of this exhibition is its celebration of Nena’s teaching many art workshops and programs of art and hand crafts to children.  Today, children from many schools visit the museum, and I hope at least some of them find inspiration in this display, as I did.  I myself have a suitable heat tool I used to provide texture in such works as Timetracks 7 , 2006 and Post Apocalyptic Lace, 2009, both layered nylon organza constructions, though I haven’t used it for anything major for a while.  This week I’ll have an experimental day to see what I more can do with it as a stitch alternative with the nylon organzas and other synthetics I have sitting around.  Holes …

“Puntadas de luz” opened on May 24th last, and runs until July 24th.  A full colour catalogue is available from the museum book counter.  Museo Blanes information,

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