Penelope is one these awesome greek’s mythological characters who lives in our imagination. She is the wife of Odysseus, and during the long wait for her husband on his epic three year Odyssey, she weaves. On her loom and with a thread in hand, a carpet of choices is being concocted. A device to delay marrying her suitors, while waiting for her husband / love to return. The potential for her plans to unravel is great, and in this story the carpet is not the main point, but a symbol of the thread of life and our ability to weave and to reel off. Our ability to wait, to be creative and to have choice.
I have always felt connected with the fascinating Penelope, with her choices and power to be the architect of her own destiny. She belongs to a constellation of characters from literature who are linked to textile arts. They are the weavers, spinners, tailors and couturiers. They are people, fairy, extraordinary beings or even animals those activities and inner being is embedded in their creative spirits, skilled hands.
As a member of the Tapetes Contadores de Histórias (The Carpet Storytellers), to work with textile arts and literature, opened me to the possibility to investigate part of this vast and endless universe. Nowadays, my group consists by Andrea Pinheiro, Edison Mego, Rosana Reátegui, Warley Goulart and me, which for the last 18 years, has developed pieces, storytelling shows, interactive exibihitions, installations and workshops with the creative aim of building and maintaining the relationships between orality, literature, textile art, theatre and animation.
We create embroidered and sewn objects in cloth, of different sizes and shapes. They can be rugs, aprons, suitcases, boxes, books, panels to been used as scenography to narratives or objects in a installation, as big cloth tree, a racing dog, a tent.
To be in partnership with this group all these long years creating and thinking as artists is to be a kind of Penelope. We weave and reel off, but in our case the waiting becomes maturation, choice, creation and re-invention of our own artistic language, deconstructing our own way of doing, interweaving art and life in the same carpet.The re-invention journey it is not a lonely way, it is established by meeting new and old artists, partners and collaborators.
We started The Carpet Storytellers from a meeting in 1998 with Raconte Tapis, from a project developed in France. Inspired by Tarak Hammam (one of the french project’s mentors, who conceived it with his mother Clotilde Hammam) we formed out group which is based in Brazil.
In the first years we stayed with the same style as was originally created in France. Over time, our Latín American culture shone through, and we began to change, opening new posibilities for us to be closer with, and in consonance to our identities and realities. In this way as a group, we dove into the storytelling universe excited by the textile art, researching texts that weave deep relations between orality and textile art (like the ones made by Ana María Machado and Marie Louise Von Franz).
With Ana Maria Machado we came across the semantic origin of the word text, which we found has the same root as the word textile. This continues to guide and inspire us.
The Carpet Storytellers see ourselves on the journey of the endless weaver. We always consider each proposal or project that we undertake. We ask ourselves, “what does this story ask us to create? Which kind of images are we drawn to? What feelings arise in the story that move and touch us? What parts of the story connect in shape and form within the craft of textiles? While trying to answer these questions, we create. For us it’s about trying because our answers are not always the right ones. They are approaches, and creativity materialised. They often bring new challenges, but we keep answering the call. We can see an infinite ball of wool. We always have our work to refresh us, and our repertoire stories and our props, renewing us and helping us to discovering new feelings.
About the Storyteller: Cadu Cinelli is the co founder, an art director, storyteller and visual artist with the group Os Tapetes Contadores de Histórias (The Carpet Storytellers). With his group Cadu, has performed, taught and presented exhibitions in Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguai, Peru, Nicaragua, Mexico, Benin, Portugal and Spain.