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The Will to Create del 3 - Far from México

Inför, under och efter årets Slöjdläger, 14-17 september på Halmens hus i Bengtsfors skriver medlemmen Ana Paula Lafaire om sitt skapande och Slöjdlägrets magi.

"I understood my mask was about my feelings of profound
indignationand powerless. I felt so far from México.
Next day I shared my feelings with my group, they listened.
We deepen in the topic of violence
against women, against us.
Making masks, reflecting, feeling, sharing."

Under Slöjdlägrets fyra dagar träffades människor som har minst en sak gemensam: kärleken till slöjden. Ana Paula Lafaire är en av deltagarna och tillsammans med andra tog Ana del av verkstäder i karvsnitt, halmslöjd och papier maché.

Här presenterar vi tredje och avslutande delen i en miniserie av texter och bilder. Väl mött!

Slöjdläger's workshop of Mexican masks was one week ago and I am still reflecting on everything. Because something has change this week, the world changed. I haven't mention yet the marvellous process of making papel maché. It consist of layers of newspaper and kraft paper stick together with home made glue, a mix of flour and water. The process is simple but it needs patience to let it dry. The materials are non expensive and easy to find. You don't need to make it perfect, there is freedom to edit something in the making if you don't like it, and that encourages you to explore.

After six layers of paper and a night of letting it dry, we released our mask from the clay models. They were light, strong, and ready to be painted! Colours and patterns were the final touch of a process of four busy days. We shared our results in a final exhibition at Bengtsfor's Halmens Hus, next to the hay hats and the beautiful results of wood carving. We said our good byes and returned home.

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For me, the magic of this four days was not in the learning of the technic of the craft, but in the whole aesthetic experience of the gathering. I was not expecting to be so touch by playing again with papel maché. It brought back memories of my childhood in México when I used to make "piñatas". The smell of the wet newspaper brought me back to Mexicans open air markets of handcrafts, and suddenly I realised it was 15th of September, day of Mexican Independence, the national holiday. My thoughts started a conversation in our group, while working we talked about prehispanic traditions of crafts, our personal experiences from childhood to womanhood. Everybody was curious and exchanging stories.

It is bittersweet being far from home in a patriotic day, but it is worst that I haven't feel happy about this date since long ago: México has been suffering extreme violence and injustice for many years and I don't feel like celebrating. Nevertheless, I was here in the Swedish forest making craft and enjoying myself among talented women. I breathed in, I smelled the sweet smell of nature, and I took a mental note of how lucky I am to be here. For first time, I tasted roasted bananas filled with chocolate. I was surrounded by women laughing, knitting, telling stories around the wood fire. I thought of the importance of having this safe spaces to share, to build a collective network, to disrupt the inertia of work and study, and just pause in nature. To laugh freely. I observed them all.

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I went to bed, it was already 16th of September, and the symbolic date was still resonating in my head. "What does it mean to be so far from México in time and space?" One year of living in Europe, one year far from home. I couldn't sleep, something bothered me, I opened Twitter to numb my mind but, it felt as if I had opened Pandora's box. Again, my timeline was filled with the news of another Mexican woman murdered. Again again again! In my county every 4 hours a man kills a woman, we even have a name for this hate crime: "feminicide". But this time, they found Mara's body the same day the politicians were about to throw a patriotic party. She was a 19 years old student, she took a private taxi but never arrived home because the driver kidnaped her. I felt the fear, I felt how the bittersweet feeling transformed in burning fury. I understood my mask was about my feelings of profound indignation and powerless. I felt so far from México.

Next day I shared my feelings with my group, they listened. We deepen in the topic of violence against women, against us. Making masks, reflecting, feeling, sharing. It became therapeutic. We walk in the forest, we picked mushrooms, we shared fickas, we reflected in silence. On Sunday, a national mobilisation was taking place back home and my group agree to be part of the calling for justice. I felt supported by all and empowered. I am bias, I am a 28 years old Mexican woman tired of violence and injustice. I came to Sweden to study a master in Design, to understand how to make the world safer, specially for girls and women. At Slöjdläger I remembered the importance of craft as a ritual to slow down, to be present among others, to enjoy nature, ficka and womanhood. To find your tribe no matter where you are.

This experience warmed my heart, it allowed me to change my mindset to face reality. But reality hit fast, two days later, and earthquake shocked México and the response of the civil society has been exceptional. I have been feeling so impotent of being far. I am not there to remove debris next to my friends. But, I see how everybody is reacting and my heart fills with hope. It feels like a fresh sweet air. I can only keep creating, I must find my tribe, start a conversation, a project, send help. I must be part of these synergy of action and hope, beyond my generation, my nationality. I want to practice the craft and art of embroidering networks from human to human.

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About the autor:
Hi, I am Ana Paula, currently studying the M. Business and Design in HDK, Gothenburg. I am appreciating the cultural clash of business, design, Sweden, México and everything in between. I would like to explore further crafts and tacit knowledge of making.

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Taggar: Slöjd