I wanted to do something special for my good friends Sarah and Edhie Alcalde. Even though they live in Talara (an hour away), we have become very close friends over the last several years. Edhie is an anaesthesiologist while Sarah has stayed home to raise three children. All three of their children have become well respected doctors.
The family is originally from Trujillo and still maintain a home in Trujillo there. They have graciously offered to let us stay in this home whenever we have traveled to Trujillo. Not only did this save us in hotel and/or rental fees, but allowed us to cook for ourselves…. a huge boon as our diet is outside of the norm here.
Trujillo is the second most populous city in Peru located along the coast halfway between Lima and our home in Los Organos in the north. It has many archeological sites which rival Machu Pichu but generally don’t bring huge crowds of tourists.
It is also the center of the Marinera dance; the city being declared the National Capital of the Marinera by law January 24, 1986. A national competition, drawing participants from all parts of Peru and South America, is held each year in October. The marinera dance is a traditional folk dance of the coastal region. It is a graceful and elegant dance depicting a courtship; each dancer using a handkerchief as a prop.
I decided that a quilt depicting the marinera dance would be perfect for the Alcaldes. I specifically wanted to highlight the woman’s dress. Traditionally it is relatively simple, but still quite elegant; thus important to the overall beauty of the dance. I also decided to add a third dimension to the quilt by making the dress stand out from the quilt.
I found the material for the dress and the man’s suit in the local fabric stall in the market in Los Organos. The vender thought I was crazy asking for only 20 cm worth of fabric and searching through his scrap pieces.
Doing the dress, I wished I had had more experience sewing Barbie clothes. It took a lot of trial and error to get the puffed sleeves and the gathers in the skirt to work. Another challenge was sewing only the front half of a garment. I also haven’t had a lot of experience sewing a garment without a pattern.
The next step was to figure out what to do for the background. With this one, I decided to quilt the actual sheet music traditionally used. I researched the music, thinking a piano score would do nicely. However, piano isn’t an instrument used in traditional Peruvian music, so this search yielded nothing. Most often the music is played on a guitar with accompanying percussion. I was able to find the sheet music for “La Conchaperla,” one of the most famous pieces of music used while performing this dance.
I decided to quilt the actual sheet music traditionally used for the background. I researched the music, thinking a piano score would do nicely. However, piano isn’t an instrument used in Peruvian music, so this search yielded nothing. Most often the music is played on a guitar with accompanying percussion. I was able to find the sheet music for “La Conchaperla,” one of the most famous pieces of music used while performing this dance.
Since finishing and gifting this quilt, I find it humorous that virtually everyone who sees it lifts the skirt up to see what’s underneath! You curious, too? What you’ll find is a lace petticoat.
Edwar, Sara and Edhie’s son, wasn’t too sure about the music in the background. He actually researched it himself and was amazed I had it right; it was authentic.