The baskets, trays and figures
made by Angela Riquelme with skill and talent,
are not made out of willow, but of a fabric called "voqui-pilpil", taken from a bush "very
similar to that of the copihue, found on humid
areas". It is a typical art form from the
mapuche rural communities, at the coast of the
"We take the green sticks. You have to boil
them and then leave them soaking in a flow of
natural water for at least two weeks. Then you
press, peel and carve them. That means, you take
out their roots and joints, till leaving them
smooth. You put them to dry out and, when knitting,
you moisten them so they become softer. There
is also the red voqui", says Angela.
She was born in San Jose de la Mariquina, thirty
miles away from Valdivia to the coast. She inherited
her husband's family's traditional job.
Mehuin to Panguineo, you see men, women, even
children doing this", she says. Fish, birds,
black-neck swans, cows, ducks and other animals
are part of the landscape reproduced on this hand-knitted
figures, done with just the help of scissors and
a small punch. "We get inspiration from what
we see, what surrounds us", she explains.
"Also the things of the shack. There are
some costumes that start to disappear, but that
you don't want to loose".
That's how the "balai", a kind of very
flat platter, very typical of the mapuches, is
still being used to clean the corn used for making
"mote" or "toasted flour".
The "chaihue", deeper and with two carrying
handles, is used for cleaning the "mote".
And in the "chini", one leaves the potatoes
and vegetables. There are also some ceramic objects
of domestic use, such as the "metahue",
a pitcher where one pours a drink made of fermented
cereal called "mudai". The same with
folkloric instruments such as the "trutruca",
"kultrún" or "pifilca",
which are reproduced on voqui-pilpil.