Karen Barbé Workshops

26 Oct 2008


Copihue, also known as Chilean Bellflower, is Chile's floral emblem and it's usually seen on crafts and touristic souvenirs or as a graphic icon for symbolising traditional events and locally made products. As with any other national emblem, copihues often end up relegated to the tourism business and are certainly ignored by locals but seen as folkloric and nice by visitors.

For some time I've been wondering if it is possible to take these symbols and actually create something (a pattern?) that doesn't feel like a tacky souvenir. The thing is, will ever a person want a product based on their own national emblems? Will French really like something inspired in the Eiffel Tower? Or Dutch want any more tulips in their homes? Will Chileans take in copihues for their house decoration?

I felt I needed my own share of copihues to figure it out so I added some into my home space. I was inspired by Mapuche woven textiles motifs which are very geometric and bold. Then I worked with wool felt for making this tray holder that doubles perfectly as a folder holder.

And some days ago, while visiting Pueblito Los Dominicos here in Santiago, I found these beautiful hand-painted doilies. Of course, I couldn't resist and had to buy a pair with copihues.


Kristina said...

Karen I absolutely love your interpretation of these lovely copihues!

Karen Barbé said...

Thank you Kris!!!

Redgate Studios said...

It's strange how we think that what we're surrounded with is too common to use - but for me, it's a beautiful flower and it looks so modern in the context you've used it in.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful thing is this blog. I was looking for Mapuche rug patterns and came upon your site. My grandmother had copihue placemats and napkins on handwoven natural cotton with crochet lace edging. very sweet and touristy. I still have them.