Meet Consuelo Jimenez Underwood
Meet Consuelo Jimenez Underwood

It glows! It has a glow to it! Which is what you get when you die your own material. It becomes yours. The most important form has been needle and thread. All indigenous women throughout the world know this medium of the thread, and I’m one of them. From a plant I can make a thread and now that I know how to weave with sticks or a loom or whatever, I can create art with nothing except me, myself, and I, and the Earth. That’s what attracts me to this process. I’ve almost gone full circle. When I first began the walk as an artist, the impetus was the form, that needle and thread. How can I make weaving and fiber cutting-edge art? I was getting to the point where I felt that the artwork that I was doing was becoming predictable. I had the form, I had my issues, I had my methodology all down, 20 years of it. It becomes like a formula. I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want formula. I wanted to make a new kind of art. Seventeen miles north of the border of San Diego, there’s another border crossing. There were a lot of people being run over in these freeways. They decided to put up a sign to warn the motorist that there might be a family crossing. The image is of a running family. The father dragging the mother and the mother dragging this little girl. On the top, it says “caution”. I thought “oh my God, they’re thinking of us as animals now”. Because you would always see these freeway crossings for animals. That just hit so hard that I can’t shake it. I decided to make the quilt for them, for those young ladies or little girls that perished traveling that freeway. I acquired the cloth in a thrift store. It was a beautiful cloth that needed embroidery. Halfway through the embroidery, I saw The Virgen, I saw her in there. She was dead. Right after that, barbed wires, there’s got to be barbed wires here. Then I saw the caution sign, that needed to be quilted into the piece. In “The Virgen de Los Caminos”, you can barely see it. Why can’t you see the family? Because they’re dead. They’re ghosts, they’re spirits, it’s there, but it’s not there. That’s how the stitching is. When I see a dead person, I think of flowers as their soul. Barbed wire, I see as the futile attempt of man to control life. There are two very powerful forces, the flowers and the barbed wire. They’re always butting against each other. Maybe in the next generation or two, those two will come be at peace, but right now, I’m the one bringing these two together.

1 thought on “Meet Consuelo Jimenez Underwood”

  1. S Blaney says:

    Beautiful and meaningful. I got chills listening and watching Consuelo in this video. She is a true artist making a statement and also producing cutting edge art. 

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