Bolivian Frieze Patterns

Hola compadres!

In July of last year I had the incredible opportunity to travel to La Paz, Bolivia to serve impoverished families, an orphanage, a free medical clinic, and lose 16 pounds in 12 days because there’s LITERALLY 30% less oxygen that high up (roughly 13, 000 feet above sea level!) so even walking up one flight of stairs was like a full-body workout. (Altitude sickness SUCKS you guys. It sucks HARD. When I got off the plane security could tell I was turning pale [hard for me to do, mind you] and I had to sit for TWENTY MINUTES before the room stopped spinning and my stomach decided to remain in my body.)

Anyways, while there, I (fashionista that I am) bought a crap ton of Bolivian printed fabrics/artworks and they were the first things that came to mind when I thought of frieze patterns!

What you’re looking at is a fabric photo frame (with our group standing in front of a free health clinic we volunteered at) and then a fabric covered notebook. While the photo frame is at an angle, the original fabric is full of straight frieze patterns, as is the middle bar design of the notebook.

Bolivian fabrics are rich in color and patterns of all kinds with glide or rotational symmetry:

The fabric is typically woven from llama, alpaca or sheep wool and usually cut into shawl-like clothing called “aguayo”. Different regions have different predominant colors or patterns that relate to the country’s rich history. If I remember, next class I’ll wear the shoes I bought there that also have (significantly smaller) patterns on them. 🙂

Here’s a picture I took at one of the park days we hosted for families – you’ll see a woman on the left sporting a baby carrier with similar patterns on it:

Math, culture, art, FASHION!

(P.S. If you’re ever thinking “Huh, I wanna support a third world country but I have no idea which one/how to give the most I can, Bolivia needs HELP. They don’t like the American government so they’ve kicked out the Red Cross and Salvation Army even though SEVENTY PERCENT of the FRIGGIN ENTIRE NATION is under the “$2 a day” international poverty line. A ton of the 3-16 year olds we worked with at the orphanage won’t have teeth when they’re adults; dental care is that poor. We spent a day working with families in an area where having a real roof (not just metal sheeting) was a luxury. Abuse of all kinds is very common and kids suffer most. They don’t have a postal system in the ENTIRE COUNTRY meaning aid needs to be delivered with volunteers or sent by parcel service which is pricey. HOWEVER One American Dollar is worth almost SEVEN (6.93 to be exact) Bolivianos, meaning you multiply by nearly SEVEN any money you donate! If you want more info let me know – Bolivia and her people totally changed my life and I want to spread the word on how to help. 🙂 )

Adios! (Me right outside of a LITERAL hole-in-the-wall pasterleria [bakery] in Western La Paz.) Did I mention the sky is bluer there because there’s less pollution? #NoFilter


2 thoughts on “Bolivian Frieze Patterns”

  1. I absolutely love the fabrics you bought in La Paz. I’m obsessed with the color combinations and the Frieze patterns that are on them as well. They are so beautiful and I also feel represent the culture really well as a whole. The glide symmetry on one of the fabrics really caught my eye because of how unique it is.
    I feel like this is one of the many posts I’ve read here that I’ve genuinely learned quite a bit about a topic/place that I didn’t know much about, so thank you for that! I would love to travel to Bolivia to offer my help and also examine the beautiful woven fabrics they have to offer. Wow I’m obsessed. I want a fabric for myself.
    If you’d like to explore more textiles with various Frieze patterns associated with them, I’d suggest going to this website:

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