Ann Turley – Country – Architecture

Uros islands

Lake Titicaca forms a portion of the border between Peru and Bolivia. The fairytale-like Uros Islands are made entirely from totora reeds; the lives of the inhabitants of these artificial islands are entirely dependent upon the reed beds they live among.

Totora reeds were first used centuries ago to build these islands on Lake Titicaca by the Uro-Aymara families who made their home on the lake. The local people’s boats are also made from totora reeds, and they use these vessels for fishing.

The construction of the reed islands are true feat, as new reeds must be constantly added to the top to replace ones on the bottom that have dissolved into the water. Reed houses, stone stoves and fireplaces, and watchtowers all have to be supported by the island, as well as the weight of the residents and any possessions or animals they own. The reeds can also be eaten as a natural iodine supplement.

(From and

MATERIALS: background is paper fused to muslin, then painted and stitched. The houses are constructed from narrow strips fused to Wonder Under, then stitched in place. Details for the fence, clothesline and garden are created with a Pigma Micron pen. Close up view:

  1. You have well represented the simplicity and incredible life of the Uros. I like how you made the background. Nice the blue trousers

  2. A striking piece giving great insight into the lives of the Uros islanders. The construction of the huts is really effective.

  3. Beautiful piece with interesting background story, well done!

  4. studiociboulette

    I love lake Titikaka and the islands. Well done!

  5. A very interesting interpretation of the theme, thank you for the background story.

  6. I really like the piece and the story about it. I did not know and knew nothing about it. Your work is outstanding.

  7. This is an interesting piece, and I like the use of paper on muslin ! it gives a special structure.

  8. joanbrailsford

    I like the way that you have used paper in the background, which seems appropriate when thinking abut the ‘recycling’ quality of the reeds. The colours and techniques you have used for the houses are very effective. A lovely piece.

  9. Thank you for the background to this piece. The reeds are beautifully shown and you have added lots of stitch for detail – all is very effective.

  10. Your lovely piece is of special interest to me having visited the islands myself a few years ago. Really like the inclusion of paper in your work and you have represented the houses with great detail. Well done!

  11. For me too your piece is a trip back in memory lane. I so much enjoyed the quietness of the islands and will always remember the trip in the boat constructed of reeds. Love how you have been using paper for the background and the construction of the huts. Beautiful piece.

  12. Very interesting and informative back story. Your choice of fabrics and techniques gives your piece depth, dimension and texture. Well done!

  13. I love how you constructed the houses. The clothesline connects your composition. Nice background story. How inventive those people are!

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