“I’m very proud of being a weaver , It´s a marvelous art. This is something really beautiful and at the same time it allows us to stay in our homes with our families. I like weaving so much! We won´t let this wonderful tradition fade away!” Says Nelly Melian, one of the talented weavers from Santiago de Estero and who works with AWANAY
Awanay is a rug design firm from Argentina that also a social enterprise. Their textiles are hand-woven in looms by native communities that live in very inaccessible places in northern Argentina. Their mission is to help rescuing and developing their ancient art so they can have the opportunity to work and live in their homeland, keeping their traditions.
AWANAY blends tradition with art and design creating modern rugs to fall in love with. Their collections share with the world the joy, magic, love and kindness that thrive within the native communities in a modern and simple aesthetic.
All rugs are made following ancient techniques using pure wool from sheep or llamas. Many weavers are pastors and shear their own animals. The yarn is handspun on a spindle which gives it a unique irregular texture that cannot be made via industrial looms.
Colors are produced by the weavers using wild plants and flowers collected in the mysterious and isolated “dry forest” in Santiago del Estero, an incredible place with labyrinthine paths reigned by cactus and adobe houses spread 10 or 20 km from each other. Some examples of dye-plants that AWANAY uses include:
- Pink salmon shades come from OREJA DE MONTE, a fungus that adheres to humid trunks.
- A wide range of greens are produced by YERBA MATE, (the typical Argentinean infusion).
- GRANA COCHINILLA, an insect that lives in cacti, yields beautiful shades of pinks and purples.
Looms are a part of daily family life; the women weave in their houses, mostly outdoors, in the field or “monte” with looms that are handmade from tree trunks. Like their ancestors before them, the women continue to weave for themselves and their families, but also to keep their communities alive.
Awanay sells worldwide following fair trade principles @ www.awanay.com or in NYC in ALT FOR LIVING.