Collections 03 Oct, 2020

Introducing: TO-YIK-CA rugs

 

A new collection of textiles that bridges contemporary designs with tradition. To-yik-ca means loom in the local dialect of the indigenous community of the Wichí in Argentina. Having previously worked with the Wichí weavers on our Litoral Collection of bags, clutches and baskets, we sought to find a way to both provide them with more income as well as exposure to help preserve their traditional knowledge with our community. Inspired by the ancient designs that you have long admired, we have adapted and designed an exciting and empowering collection of rugs.

Conversations with the NGO with whom we partnered, have shown that this collaboration is a meaningful way to continue to provide them with much needed income, in turn allowing them to continue focusing on their own craft and traditional ways of life – which is what we hoped for.

The designs depicted on the rugs in this new To-yik-ca collection are representative of the traditional lands of the Wichí peoples. After consultation, we then facilitated a collaboration between the Wichí and Andes weavers to translate Wichí traditional designs to woven woollen textiles. They shared features of their traditional designs and colour palette and we then adapted the designs to a large format for the weaving of the rugs, producing a modern take on traditional patterns.

Our talented Andes weavers are skilful artisans who are keen to push their skills and experience and were excited to experiment outside of their traditional Andean designs with us to see this collection come to life. After many months in the making, the end result is a beautiful collection of rugs that balance the contemporary with the traditional, featuring bold geometric shapes inspired by nature, and woven in sheep’s wool dyed in our signature warm, earthy tones, balanced with soft pastels.

Behind these rugs is a long and complex process that is steeped in tradition and untouched by modern technology. The techniques used to make our textiles are part of the fabric of Argentinian heritage. The manufacturing process is traditional and very manual, the rug is woven simply, by hand and wooden loom.

Our artisans work with 100% raw Argentinean sheep’s wool – a natural, breathable and renewable fibre with low environmental impact and provides warmth and comfort to any room. The process begins with the people who care for and protect the community’s livestock. The fleece is selected, washed, spun and then re-spun turning it into a two-threaded yarn. Water is a precious resource, especially in the remote and rural landscape where our weavers live, so the amount of water used to make our rugs is very minimal. Our artisans use natural pigments obtained from plants, flowers, vegetables and smoke, but sometimes they add anilines (mineral dyes) to create more intense colours.  Our artisans weave with the hand-dyed yarns in cooperative groups, sharing resources and ideas between themselves, and often taking turns to complete the one piece.

Head here for more on sustainability behind Pampa.

Pampa rugs have a positive social impact, providing ethical and honest work in remote Argentina to our Andes rug weavers. To work ethically means, to us, that the artisans are working in their own environments in rural Argentina and getting paid a fair wage, which is above the average wage received by people in their region who are undertaking similar work. By staying at home they are helping to preserve their culture, their own heritage, the art of craftsmanship and above all, their communities. Without this continued work, artisans are at times forced to leave their communities and move to bigger cities migrate to find employment, they cannot continue with this kind of work sustainably and it often leads to a loss of their skills, traditional knowledge and feelings of displacement.

We see our artisans as part of the extended Pampa family and we speak with most of them on a weekly basis. Their happiness, health and wellbeing and financial stability matters to us and as Pampa continues to grow, we hope it supports their growth too.

As well as paying a fair price to our Andes weavers for producing the rugs, 5% of every rug sale goes directly to a local NGO called Foundation Niwok, who live and work amongst the Wichí weavers and help them preserve their traditions and empower their livelihood.

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*All images & words are copyright of Pampa, for any kind of use please contact us at hello@pampa.com.au for permission.

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