Tumbaga is the name of the gold, copper, and silver alloy often used to create ceremonial adornments by the Pre-Columbian indigenous people of Colombia and other countries in the lower Americas. Once the Spanish arrived, a large portion of these cultural artifacts were melted for gold and shipped back to Spain. By using tumbaga colors in my work, I not only reference the awe and loss I felt while visiting the remaining cultural relics at the Museo del Oro in Bogota, but also the awe and loss inherent in my relationship to my own Colombian heritage. Assimilating to American culture as an adolescent, I became disconnected from aspects of Colombian culture that were so potent in my memories of mud vases, crocheted doilies, knit “ruanas,” and hand-woven tablecloths, hammocks and handbags. Using line and geometry, I forge a connection with the kind of Colombian handicrafts I deeply revere but never learned, “restitching” the rift created by my migration." -- Diana Gabriel

"Weaving, knitting, and macrame patterns were a constant of my childhood. The imagery in my artwork is inspired by memories of handmade patterns in baskets, plate settings, tapestries, tablecloths, and doilies under the flower vases from my grandmother’s home in Colombia. Borrowing aspects of these artisan traditions, I recreate such moments from my childhood, taking part in a conversation that emanates from countless generations of women artisans.


In addition to my emotional, familial connection with the structure of patterns, my predilection for this method of making is also comes from my interest in transitions and processes –the logical steps that take a structure from one stage to another. Transitions can be minuscule or substantial, but each is inherently crucial to the composition and value of the final whole. The work I make isn’t planned, shifting the emphasis from the final product to the process –the collecting and weaving of separate parts into something more than they were individually." -- Diana Gabriel