Message Board Posting
Karen (Guthertz) Lizarraga
Like a few others, I married a foreigner; my husband was Peruvian (am now a widow)...I met him at Cal in the fall of 1959, my senior year at Cal...finished in 1960 with a BA in History. We eventually married, had four children, moved back and forth between the US and Peru a number of times and finally settled in Lima in 1979. My life has been intense and full...includes a bit of everything...after a good professional start in public assistance welfare work in the sixties in San Luis Obispo County (my husband got a BS in engineering at Cal Poly and I supported us and two children) and a three year stint in the Peruvian Andes, I decided to become a stay-at-home Mom, a decision that changed my life because it gave a new orientation...from the life of the mind you might say to the life of the hands...in Berkeley in the early seventies, I learned to canvas embroider and experimented with wax resist which brought me straight to the schyllya and charybdis of art and craft and in 1978 an award for designer/craftsman excellence-from McCall's-Needlework and Craft Quarterly (now defunct but at that time had the widest circulation in its genre)...which I passed through to smooth and not-so-smooth sailing into the waters of aesthetics and communication...still have my head above water, sort of, a bibliography, most of which is in the Cal Library under my married name, the words Proyecto Killka and others...worked, ad honorem, for seventeen years with the National Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, reorganized in 1992 as the National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History of Peru, taught the major theory course at the National School of Fine Arts for fourteen years and was what you might call a liason person for over ten years between the museum and the Universidad Nacional de San Cristobal de Huamanga in the highland city of Ayacucho, during which time we developed and projected an innovative pedagogical perspective and formed a collection of items that demolishes artificial boundaries between media, levelling the playing field...making a reality the longed for concept of We, the people... In 1991, after giving a paper at the 47th Congress of Americanists, I began to return Home, as I think of it - the capital H - more frequently and regularly. Differently from many others that live abroad - the more I became "involved", the more I began to feel like little Karen Guthertz from San Francisco, California...one reason why I was looking forward to the reunion and wasn't disappointed ...and which pushed me to decide to turn in this nutshell version of my life... think I left out only my two darling granddaughters, in Lima one, aged one year six months and one on the way and in New York another aged nine months......good reason to divide my time between San Francisco, New York and Lima.
Here is a picture of my San Francisco Boogie Woogie Memory Map ...embroidered wool, viscose and metal threads on canvas. It took almost a year to embroider this from memory (all except the lower left quadrant for which I used a map)...what gives the orientation is the tower of Roosevelt Junior High School, a Richmond District (also Berkeley) orientation, a geocentric alternative to the east, west, south, north "dogma"...changing paradigms. You can see the old Lowell towards the left... The embroidery was accepted for diplay at at an exhibit featuring cartography amd epistemology. It received a nice writeup from a local paper.
Thanks, hope you enjoy this.