Cecilia Vicuña

Word & Thread


Word is thread and the thread is language.

Non-linear body.

A line associated to other lines.

A word once written risks becoming linear,
but word and thread exist on another dimensional plane.

Vibratory forms in space and in time.

Acts of union and separation.


The word is silence and sound.
The thread, fullness and emptiness.


The weaver sees her fiber as the poet see her word.

The thread feels the hand, as the word feels the tounge.

Structures of feeling in the double sense
of sensing and signifying,
the word and the thread feel our passing.


Is the word the conducting thread, or does thread conduct the word-

Both lead to the centre of memory, a way of uniting and connecting.

A word carries another word as thread searches for thread.

A word is pregnant with other words and a thread contains
other threads within its interior.

Metaphors in tension, the word and the thread carry us beyond
threading and speaking, to what unites us, the immortal fiber.


To speak is to thread and the thread weaves the world.


In the Andes, the language itself, Quechua, is a cord of twisted straw,
two people making love, different fibers united.

To weave a design is pallay, to raise the fibers, to pick them up.

To read in Latin is legere, to pick up.

The weaver is both weaving and writing a text
that the community can read.

An ancient textile is an alphabet of knots, colors and directions
that we can no longer read.

Today the weaving no only "represent," they themselves are
one of the being of the Andean cosmogony. (E. Zorn)


Ponchos, llijllas, aksus, winchas, chuspas and chumpis are beings
who feel
and every being who feels walks covered in signs.

"The body given entirely to the function of signifying."
René Daumal

A textile is "in the state of being textile": awaska.

And one word, acnanacuna designates the clothing, the language
and the instruments for sacrifice (for signifying, I would say).


And the energy of the movement has a name and a direction: lluq'i,
to the left, paña, to the right.

A direction is a meaning and the twisting of the thread
transmits knowledge and information.

The last two movements of a fiber should be in opposition:

a fiber is made of two strands lluq'i and paña.

A word is both root and suffix : two antithetical meanings in one.

The word and the thread behave as processes in the cosmos.

The process is a language and a woven design is a process re-
presenting itself.

"An axis of reflection," says Mary Frame:
"the serpentine
attributes are images of the fabric structure,"

The twisted strands become serpents
and the crossing of darkness and light, a diamond star.

"Sprang is a weftless technique, a reciprocal action whereby the
interworking of adjacent elements with the fingers duplicates itself
above and below the working area."

The fingers entering the weave produce in the fibres
a mirror image of its movement, a symmetry that reiterates "the concept
of complementarity that imbues Andean thought."


The thread dies when it is released, but comes alive in the

the tension gives it a heart.

Soncco, is heart and guts, stomach and conscience, memory,
judgement and reason, the wood's core, the stem's central

The word and the thread are the heart of the community.

In order to dream, the diviner sleeps on fabric made of wik'uña.


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