Cross Pollination
Molas & Huipiles from the Collection of Sandy Dierks

March 9 - April 28, 2013 / Curated by Elia Haworth

 Kuna mola of two flowers and two butterflies joined in middle

Kuna mola made with layers of fabric, reverse applique', surface applique' and embroidery.

Sandy Dierks, Bolinas resident, textile artist and educator, began collecting Kuna and Mayan textiles in the 1960s while she was in art school. Her interest in traditional textiles and learning techniques to apply to quilt making led Sandy on many trips to Guatemala, and later to Kuna Yala.

This is an exhibition of richly colored and beautifully crafted textiles by women artisans from two ancient Mesoamerica cultures. Molas are intricately sewn panels and blouses created by Kuna people from the autonomous region Kuna Yala in Eastern Panama.  Huipils are woven and worn by women in Guatemala, just as their Mayan ancestors did. Both textiles exemplify centuries of cultural cross pollination with other nations and the inventive adaptation of new ideas into traditional crafts, sometimes with startling results.

In 1976 Sandy moved from Los Angeles to Bolinas and married artist and organic farmer Dennis Dierks.  Several young Kuna men have stayed at the Dierks’ farm, Paradise Valley Produce, to learn new and different ideas about agriculture. Sandy regularly travels back to Central America to visit friends, document textile techniques and help to advocate for protection of the Kuna and the Mayan way of life.


Two Kuna women with Sandy Dierks 

Sandy Dierks and Kuna friends in Kuna Yala


Guatemalan women at market 

Guatemalan women wearing huipiles at market. Photo by Sarah Matzar