Belén. Catamarca. Argentina
On the path of pre-columbian traditions, the Avar Saracho family work through the whole cycle of sheep and llama handcrafted knitting.
Antonio Avar Saracho
Please describe what you do:
We spin Llama and sheep wool manually with spindle and dye it with vegetable colour tints. We rescue pre-Columbian and traditional designs and we develop contemporary designs. We knit with textile loom: Rugs, Fabrics for production and upholstery and clothing, with ethnic details.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
We cover the whole process, from thread production to marketing. Nevertheless, the most attractive activity is still climbing the hills to search for and select wools.
What is your inspiration?
>Nature: the hills, the animals, the movement, the people. History, pre-Columbian civilizations, creative people… the reinterpreting of the past.
How would you define luxury today? (or) What is, to you, the essence of luxury today?
The Choice of a location and the joy of time.
Eco-awareness is growing as is social consciousness and the need to be responsible towards our world and its people. What part do you play in this global mission?
The manufacturing of hand-made fabrics and the spinning in manual looms is for me an important decision that in certain moments, is difficult to sustain. I dream about seeing my project multiplying in the future. To see women that once saw their mothers knitting and that with us they brought back their traditions, is a big step in the road.
Each product we make involves much time of our lives
When and how did your project originate?
Our project started when the work was already under way. During the late 90´s in north-eastern Argentina nobody produced handmade textiles. Life circumstances got me involved in this field so we started to rescue a lost cultural space. Hand made spinning and vegetable dyes had almost disappeared, towns once known for their textile tradition, started to live off subsidies (such thing is happening to a large portion of the population). We started to recreate design and seek out different moments in our history, patterns and textiles that were lost. Textile work was done two month in the year, June and July, and now with good business administration we can keep it going the whole year.
What continues to be your vision for this project?
In addition to producing threads, texture designs and fabrics we need to set businesses in big cities. Handmade, traditional and ecologic products are being valued more than ever in interior design as in clothing.
How are your creativity and passion an important part of this project?
It’s crucial to be involved in this kind of project. In fact, I think that without passion nothing could be done…and I believe this project hasn’t been done before so creativity is necessary to overcome obstacles.
If you were to choose a colour and an adjective to describe it, what would they be?
Earthy tones, motherly.
What is the message you wish to pass on?
We are so used to industrial production that is hard to show that our products are part of our time… in our lives. That they can find in our threads women knitting with the spindle at sunset, children running around…the organic dying made out of vegetables that surround us, the physical effort of our work.
Each of our products involves time in the lives of the ones who make them.
Name a person or place that has inspired you with their progressive vision
Involved in our project there are Mapuche women, Incas and anonymous European people creating designs…I like the work of William Morris, books by Ruth Corcuera, the Pre-Columbian collection at the National Fine Arts Museum in Buenos Aires, Coco Bedoya´s paintings, Nicolas García Uriburu’s collection and Ricardo Paz’ works