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A R T I S A N S 

We work with communities native and rural communities of Argentina. When necessary, we complement with the work of artisans and cooperative workers and productive enterprises in communities with social vulnerabilities in Buenos Aires and surroundings. The dissemination, commercialization and production enable the craftsmen to empower themselves, generate income and maintain their way of life and culture rooted in their Earth.

KOLLAS AND DE LA PUNA COMMUNITIES

Surrounded by mountains and silence, craftswomen and craftsmen spin and weave the fibre of the llamas that live in this region. Thanks to their ancestral knowledge and community values, which are part of their culture, they are united in cooperatives and social organisations, which in addition to generate work for more than 200 families, are a space of empowerment and struggle for their rights.

  

“I am proud to have fulfilled the goal of living from our production, creating our source of work, paying for ourselves as women, because before we were very dependent on the husband”

 

(Eugenia Gutierrez, weaver and leader)

WICHÍ COMMUNITIES 

We work with three native communities of the Wichí ethnic group, in Monte Chaqueño. They work the Palo Santo’s wood and the fabrics in vegetable fibre, made with one of their native plants, called Chaguar. Their quiet way of life is guided by the rhythms of nature, contact with the river and the mountain. They maintain their own language and idiosyncrasy, away from the consumption paradigm.

“The sale of craftworks for women is essential, not only for the income that represents them, which is very important, but also because it connects them a lot with the history of their culture, then that is not lost”

 

(Lucía Cardini, Niwok Foundation)

This work is a rooted tradition that is part of their culture and that by commercialising it, it also becomes a means of subsistence and empowerment, generating their own income and showing their work proudly to other cultures and peoples.

“We try not to lose this because it is a part of our culture that should be erased. My grandmother taught me, and now my daughter is starting to pry, she wants to learn.” (Jesica, craftswoman from Campo del Cielo)

 

 PILAGÁ COMMUNITIES

 We work with 80 associated craftswomen and manage their cooperative dedicated to basketry with cardillo fibre and straw brava. Their territory is flat and warm, close to the beautiful Bañado La Estrella, where caimans, snakes, ostriches and hundreds of birds live. They weave in groups or in their homes, carrying out the whole process together with their daily and domestic chores.

In the tranquillity of their homes, women weave on huge handmade looms as machine or made on the floor, on the ground. Many of them spin and dye the wool too.

TELERAS SANTIAGUEÑAS

On the side of the road, where the earth cracks and the sun warms to 50ºC during the summer, a Telera tradition of vibrant colours and thick wool yarns is preserved. Probably, the joy of the fabrics are the fruit of nobility and strength of these craftswomen who open their doors to the visitor and decorate with creation the monochromatic landscape that surrounds them.

“One of the goals we set ourselves at that time, before 2004, was to think in an enterprise, a place, a work containment for our children. At that time we all had babies and little children and it seemed like an impossible dream . Today, two of my children are associated with the cooperative, one is 21 and the other is 18, it is amazing for me personally to feel that that dream that seemed so difficult to achieve, has been fulfilled. (Fiorina, craftswoman)

You can read the full interview and get to know them better in our journal.

TEJEDORAS DE TUCUMÁN

Surrounded by valleys of Tafy, in Tucumán, this group of 40 craftswomen and craftsmen work the wood, metals, but mostly the weaving on loom. Within/ Inside this organisation there are producers of textile tools, spinners and weavers. They spin, dye with natural inks and colours, and weave on circular and traditional looms, as well as two needles and crochet.

“The one who says that people don’t change, come  see me” told us Oscar, and he enlightened us with is proud smile and his inspiring story.

OSCAR AND HIS WORKSHOP

We work with a  workshop of Buenos Aires leather craftsmen, with a  particular story that inspires us: its founder learned the trade while in prison. Having regained his freedom, he set out to change his life, using what he learned as a tool.

Most women living in rural areas accompany their husband (labourer or stall holder farm) in the countryside, take care of the children, take care of the school and are responsible for domestic chores. In that framework, this work stands as an interesting opportunity for empowerment.

“The most important thing is that I am a mom who lives in the countryside and I have my project. It’s an income for my family and a personal growth” says Lorena, from Paraje Shaw. 

RURALES WEAVERS FROM BUENOS AIRES

These women of rural areas of Azul learnt to spin and weave while waiting for their children in the rural schools, so far from their homes they had to go there until their children finished their activities, attending every 15 days. Today this work is an income opportunity, but also a space of meeting, socialisation and exploration of the female identity.

“Here we feel that we are in a company, with production and sales goals. We distance ourselves from the therapeutic fact, each one has his therapist or doctor. Here we seek to achieve through work a livelihood” (Oscar, president of the cooperative)

WOOD CRAFTSMEN, BUENOS AIRES

  “La Huella” is a social company that combines community mental health  with the social and labour integration based on  production and unique, special and sustainable furniture and objects. Its members have come to work with the wood as an occupational therapy, and today self-manage this beautiful undertaking that makes pieces of wood.

If there is one thing I am proud of, it is that I have seen how some of my classmates who had not managed to finish primary school, in some cases in addition to finishing primary school -when they were old and with raised children- were also able to finish high school. And work and train, and keep going ahead despite adversities.” Tamara, co-founder of the cooperative, 20 December.

FABRIC COOPERATIVES FROM Buenos Aires

They are responsible for making the  textile bags that protect each of our works. And also the textile finishes of wallets and accessories. We work with the cooperative “20 de Diciembre”, created as a source of work for dressmakers who managed to escape from clandestine textile workshops; and with the organisation “Yo No Fui” that trains and generates work for women who have been deprived of their liberty

Leandro, 24 years old, is one of the 18 employees that work in the factory. “I have two sisters and I am the unique boy. On the weekends I do the gardening chores and I help my dad, who is an upholsterer and makes car seats in Escobar”, he says.

 

Currently, they are around 40 among those who work and those who are in the process of learning.

LOS NARANJOS

 12 years ago a group of children from a Hogar de Moreno began taking ceramics classes as a way to spend their evenings and learn a trade. Today, these children grew up and are skilled potters who make up a workshop - a school where they work and teach the trade to new children and adolescents, in the north of the metropolitan region of Buenos Aires.

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Leandro, de 24 años, es uno de los 18 empleados que trabajan en la fábrica. “También hago changuitas porque tengo que ayudar en mi casa. Tengo dos hermanas y soy el único varón. Los fines de semana hago tareas de jardinero y ayudo a mi papá, que es tapicero y hace butacas para autos en Escobar”, cuenta. 

Actualmente, son alrededor de 40 entre los que trabajan y los que están en proceso de aprendizaje.

Porteñas Weavers , Oculta City, CABA

 There are about 30 women from the neighbourhood Cuidad Oculta and Pilar, who attend weaving workshops and for the time, they were asserting themselves in the trade. Women desire to progress empowering themselves individually but they work in groups. This alliance is possible thanks to Sahdes, a non-profit civil organisation that promotes health and integral expansion of women and girls' social vulnerability conditions.

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