As a child, I lived in southern Chile in lighthouses, as my dad was a lighthouse keeper. At school I loved art classes, and my teachers would always say that I was a daydreamer. While pursuing a construction degree in college, I took drawing lessons at the School of Fine Arts in Vina del Mar. In Santiago I discovered street theater, and started working as a performance artist with TEUCO and Sociedad Anonima, two street theater troupes. We did our own mask and prop designing. I moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1992, where I got an MFA in painting and drawing. I currently live and work in Concon, Chile. I have two amazing kids. Some people know me as Amaru, as I sign my artwork under that pseudonym.
I started crafting when I was very young. I loved creating things from scratch, like sewing clothes for my doll named Peta. With my sisters and friends, I would make dishes, pots and cups out of clay and dry them in the sun. We made wings out of old cardboard, and then tried to fly them by jumping off a tall ramp and falling onto a big pile of hay. Once I made myself a pair of shoes out of an old bicycle tire, and I swore I could run faster! LOLl! As a teenager, I used some of my dad’s wood and some of my mom's yarn to make lamps for my family. While in college, I would make and sell ornamental scrolls with handwritten quotes about freedom, or with song verses by the Chilean musicians Violeta Parra and Victor Jara.
On Chile’s Independence Day, September 18th, there is a tradition of making and flying kites that I very much enjoyed as a child. My dad used to make huge handmade kites, and we loved to help him. We used to live in the hilly city of Valparaiso, and we loved flying these kites in the strong September winds along with all the neighborhood's kids. We also made windmills out of colored papers for the same occasion.
I believe that sharing art and crafts brings us closer to each other. It allows us to see that even though we might live in different parts of the planet, creativity connects us all. The crafts I teach have a strong connection with nature, and with a spiritual world connected to the natural world. I feel that we need to reconnect with nature, which is the wisest and most generous teacher we all share.
I really like recycling and making things out of discarded objects. I make plant pots out of discarded water bottles or milk cartons. A few years ago I made a recycling workshop for children and we made kaleidoscopes. I also love drawing with all kinds of materials.
I love living in Chile, because I enjoy being by the sea. I love to swim in the Pacific Ocean, close to my home, even during the winter months. I also enjoy the winter celebration in the nearby fishing cove where the Chinos come to dance and play their flutes and I get to witness how old, Prehispanic traditions, are still alive today.