e-Book: Painted Threads

Pacita Abad's Abstract Trapuntos, Text by Jack Garrity

Pacita's artistic transition from her early easel and flat surface using oil on canvas to large mixed media artwork created on her studio wall or floor evolved over time, but in retrospect it had a number of obvious and important personal antecedents.
Pacita was born and raised on Batanes, a poor, isolated fishing island in the South China Sea where families lived on very frugal budgets. Pacita's mother was a dedicated housewife who raised 14 children. She made all of the family's clothes and crocheted curtains, bedspreads and tablecloths for their house. She insisted that Pacita and her eldest sister Rency learn how to crochet, embroider and sew, as they were taught never to waste any material.

Later when the family moved to Manila, Pacita focused on her studies, but frequently went with her mother and sister to the Divisoria wholesale market to buy cloth, buttons and other material. However, it wasn't until 1970 when she was living in San Francisco's Haight Asbury district as a student, that she used her sewing skills to work as a seamstress to earn money. It was there at the epicenter of the hippie movement that Pacita also saw people wearing beads and embroidering, crocheting and patching their clothes with tribal textiles from Mexico, Guatemala and India to make them funky.

 

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