Shipibo tapestry being embroidered by two women

Process of making Shipibo tapestry

Shipibo tapestries are beautiful and intricate pieces of art that are made by the Shipibo people of the Peruvian Amazon. These tapestries are made using a traditional technique that involves weaving together various natural fibers and dyes to create intricate designs and patterns. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the process of making a Shipibo tapestry.

Step 1: Harvesting the Natural Fibers

The first step in making a Shipibo tapestry is to harvest the natural fibers that will be used to weave the tapestry. The Shipibo people typically use natural fibers such as cotton, wool, and silk, as well as fibers from local plants such as the chambira palm tree. The fibers are harvested and then cleaned and prepared for weaving.

Step 2: Creating the Shipibo tapestry Design

Once the fibers are prepared, the next step is to create the design for the tapestry. Shipibo tapestries are known for their intricate and colorful designs, which often feature geometric shapes, animals, plants, and other natural motifs. The design is usually created by a skilled artisan who has years of experience in creating Shipibo tapestries.

Step 3: Dyeing the Fibers

Once the design is finalized, the next step is to dye the fibers. The Shipibo people use natural dyes made from plants, roots, and bark to create a range of vibrant colors. The dyes are prepared using traditional techniques that have been passed down through generations, and the colors are carefully chosen to match the design of the tapestry.

Step 4: Weaving the Tapestry

With the fibers dyed and the design in place, the next step is to begin weaving the tapestry. The Shipibo people use a backstrap loom to weave the tapestry, which is a traditional loom that is portable and can be set up anywhere. The artisan sits on the ground with the loom stretched out in front of them, using their hands and feet to manipulate the fibers and create the intricate patterns of the tapestry.

Step 5: Finishing the Tapestries

Once the weaving is complete, the tapestry is finished with a border that is often made from a different material or color than the rest of the tapestry. The border helps to frame the design and gives the tapestry a finished look.

In conclusion, making a Shipibo tapestry is a time-consuming and intricate process that requires a great deal of skill and patience. From harvesting the natural fibers to dyeing and weaving the tapestry, each step in the process is done with great care and attention to detail. The result is a stunning work of art that showcases the unique cultural heritage of the Shipibo people and the beauty of the natural world around them.

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