HISTORY BEHIND EACH PRODUCT
The textile in each Guanaco Estepa product conveys environmentally friendly values, histories, regional knowledge and peasant traditions.
Our yarns and textiles are made by hand using traditional techniques and designs. Yarn is spun on a drop spindle or a spinning wheel. Fabrics are either woven on Mapuche looms known as “wïtral” or knitted. A “chilla” is used for making carpets and decorative items. Dyes are natural (chemical-free) and based on native flora or regional minerals.
All products are made from 100% guanaco fiber harvested in the wild following the Animal Welfare Protocol.
We are an organization of spinners, weavers and small rural producers (drovers, breeders and shearers) from rural and semi-urban communities in Patagonia. We have joined forces with professionals from different fields, creating an association to promote an ethical manner of relating to the natural and socio-cultural environment of our area through making and selling beautiful, high-quality handcrafts.
Our handcrafts are made from original organic fiber from domestic animals (sheep, llama, goat, rabbit) and wild animals (guanaco). The fiber is processed using ancestral spinning, dying and weaving techniques to recreate regional textile art.
We shear our animals, spin the fiber by hand using a drop spindle or spinning wheel, dye the yarn with natural dyes made from regional native flora and weave according to traditional knowledge. Each garment is part of the history of Patagonia, reflecting particular lifestyles in the steppe and conveying unhurried times imbued with greater humanity and solidarity.
The Collective Brand “Guanaco Estepa” identifies quality products made from guanaco fiber following traditional native Patagonian techniques, which safeguard the species, the population and the environment.
All our products carry a Certificate of Origin and Legitimate Ownership (COLT). Guanaco in the wild are rounded up, corralled, shorn and released in Meseta de Somuncura, following animal welfare protocols and under supervision of Rio Negro Province Wildlife Department. Because the guanaco is an internationally protected wild species, we promote its use in terms of Public Resource sustainability. This is strategic to Social and Solidary Economy in order to improve the quality of life of local populations.
A community experience based on VALUES
EQUALITY – EMPOWERMENT – ORGANIZATION – ENVIRONMENTAL CARE – DIGNITY OF LABOR – FAIR TRADE – COOPERATION – POLITICAL PARTICIPATION - HORIZONTALISM
THE INSTITUTIONS BEHIND THE PROJECT
The project provides an innovative link between a civil society organization – “Surcos Patagónicos” Civil Association – and public institutions – Rio Negro National University and the Department of Wildlife of Rio Negro Province’s Secretariat of Environment and Sustainable Development.
Primary production is managed by “Loma Negra – Arroyo Tembrao” Civil Association, while hand spinning and weaving are done by craftswomen who are becoming organized under the “Guanaco Estepa” Work and Trade Cooperative. Many other Patagonian craftswomen’s associations have joined through the “Patagonian Associative Markets” (MAPA) Network.