Friday, 4 March 2011

Women's World Day of Prayer

Today is the Women's World Day of Prayer. It is an ecumenical movement organised and led by Christian women who gather together on the first Friday in March each year to have a service which is written by a different country each year.  That country becomes the focus of the worlds prayers on the day itself, which begins as dawn breaks over the islands of Tonga in the Pacific and countinues across each continent until the last services of this special day are held back in the Pacific, on the islands of Samoa, circling the world in prayer for 36 hours.  This year we are lead by the women of Chile. 

Embroidered  by Norma Ulloa

The cover of the service booklet this year was designed by Norma Ulloa (picture above) who was born in Concepcion, Chile, 78 years ago. At the beginning of the 1970's, Norma joined a gorup of women who did crochet work in a workshop in a neighbouring village called Copiuleum.  In 1974 a German artist from Concepcion, Rosmarie Prim, who taught a special form of embroidery, entered into a relationship with them and created the Artisans' Centre.  Las Bordadoras de Copiulemu (the Embroiderers of Copiulemu) who a result of this initiative.  They started embroidering on the cloth of flour bags using wood and their own needles.  Rosmarie Prim taught them the method and established the condition that they were not to copy or seek inspiration in designs from magazines or advertisements.  Instead they embroidered the things they saw in their daily lives.

Each of the embroiderers has here own style.  Norma Ulloa liked simple designs using soft colours.  She embroidered in all her free moments and it was always late when she went to bed.  Before she started working on the Women's World Day of Prayer picture for 2011, she tried to imagine what life was like in Jesus' time, she read the bible and thought a great deal.  Her idea focused around prayer and bread.  She said of her work: "The upper part depicts Christ praying and healing.  On the left he is praying and the apostles have fallen asleep.  On the right is the healing of a lame person.  The lower part is related to bread.  First there is the wheat.  In the centre Christ is multiplying the loaves and the fish.  Finally there is the threshing with mares, a rural motif common in village life."  Thinking of Christ while producing this work, she felt deep emotion and joy and as she progressed should found it got better and better.

Sadly Norma Ulloa died of heart failure shortly after the earthquake in Chile in February 2010, which struck the areas surrounding Concepcion with great force.

[Please note that the above notes were taken from the WWDP Service Book 2011, page 27.]

I hope you enjoyed reading about this different style of embroidery.  I found it quite fascinating and just wanted to share it with you all.

Happy Stitching

1 comment:

Lee said...

Thank you for sharingh Norma Ulloa's embroidery and its special story