In the north of Chile, the Atacama Desert covers a strip of 1,000 kilometres and is the driest non-polar desert in the world. But, for a couple of months every few years when the rainfall is unusually high, this desert blossoms into a spectacular sight filled with many wild and wonderful flowers. Nicknamed the Flowering Desert (or in Spanish; desierto florido) this natural phenomenon has served as the inspiration for an organisation seeking to herald Chilean textiles, simply named Añañuca.

The añañuca flower grows in beautifully bold shades of orange, red and pink, and embodies the vibrancy of Chilean textiles that the organisation’s founders aim to bring to a UK audience. Established in 2009, Añañuca maintains a simple ethos: to produce handmade crafts, trade fairly and support the livelihood South American artisans. Only using craft skills traditional to South America, Añañuca’s textiles are dyed using natural plant extracts, reproducing the rich colour palette of the Atacama landscape in full bloom.

Añañuca’s products are made by artisans from areas all over Chile, and include beautifully textured rugs and blankets made on a traditional ‘chilote’ loom, combed blankets made by a mother and daughter team on the coastal mountains of Central Chile, knitted dolls collaboratively made by members of one Chilean family along with baskets, yarn, and the list goes on.

Añañuca will be showcasing some of their products in North Cumbria at Woolfest this weekend; an international festival dedicated to celebrating everything about wool – from the animals and fleece to yarn. Boasting a huge range of textiles from all over the world, the weekend includes exhibitions, demonstrations and musical entertainment for all of its craft-loving visitors.

Woolfest, 23 - 24 June 2017

Mitchells Lakeland Livestock Centre, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 0QQ

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