Bio Diversity, hosted by Rocío Arias Hofman of Artesanías de Colombia
Online Event, hosted on Zoom by Rocío Arias Hofman of Artesanías de Colombia
Rocío Arias Hofman is a political scientist with an emphasis on Pure Political Thought (Complutense University of Madrid) and a graduate degree in journalism (University of Los Andes, Bogotá). Born in Madrid, Rocío has lived in Colombia since 1994. She is a businesswoman, and the Founder and CEO of SILLAVERDE. Editor-in-chief of printed magazine, LA MALPENSANTE MODA -annual edition- since April of 2020, Co-founder of Fundación Malpensante, and member of the Board of Directors of the Dress Up Movement of Colombia / VÍSTETE DE COLOMBIA.
Brief overview of programme:
A Journey Through Colombia's Weavings
Textiles and basketry, mostly made from plant-based fibers, reflect the history and geography of Colombia. This is why the following will be a great opportunity to get to know this country by means of its weavings. For an hour and a half, Rocío Arias will share an overview of our weavings with Selvedge readers: she will trace their maps and review various perspectives that surround them, from the ethnic and raw-material factors to the projections they have in the fashion sector. In this space, Rocío will also have the possibility of interviewing several craftspeople who will broaden the perspectives of all attendees regarding artisanship: craftspeople who, from the diversity of Colombian contexts, will share their stories, their techniques, and, of course, ¡their products! With this virtual journey, Artesanías de Colombia wishes to bring Selvedge readers the chance of enjoying the cultural and artisanal richness of our country.
Virginia Postrel is an author, columnist, and speaker whose work spans a broad range of topics, from social science to fashion, concentrating on the intersection of culture, commerce, and technology. She is a visiting fellow at the Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy at Chapman University in Southern California, where she does research and teaching integrating the humanities and economics. Her most recent book is The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World, published in November 2020.
She is a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion and the author of three previous books: The Power of Glamour (2013), The Substance of Style (2003), and The Future and Its Enemies (1998). Postrel graduated from Princeton University, with a degree in English literature, specializing in the Renaissance, and with a heavy concentration of economics coursework. While researching The Fabric of Civilization, she learned to weave and is a board member and programs co-chair for the Southern California Handweavers' Guild.
Outline of talk:
Textile Trade and Social Technologies
Clothing the body and furnishing the home, textiles are at once necessities, objects of beauty, and prized status goods. They have been cherished elements of nearly every human culture and also among the earliest and most important traded goods--connecting societies across distance and culture. Fabric is easily transported, fibers and dyestuffs flourish in specific regions, and particular communities develop skills that make their fabrics especially desirable. These characteristics all encourage local specialization and its complement, exchange. Drawing on her book, The Fabric of Civilization, Virginia Postrel will share examples of how the textile trade through the ages led to the invention of "social technologies" that fostered communication and trust, undergirding commercial civilization as we know it.
Hannele Köngäs of Waveweaver's Wool, Finland
Hannele is a weaver, plant dyer and wool enthusiast. Her roots are in Lapland, but she currently lives and works in South-Western Finland.
As a young textile student she found a small fragment of old wool fabric that looked like a twill, but the warp seemed to be going under one then over one weft. Later a master weaver told her that it was a plain weave, but made with over-twisted yarn, which gave it a twill-like structure.
The idea never left her. While developing her designs, she worked as a teacher specialising in hand weaving, textile history, and historical textile techniques, which were inspiration for the methods she uses today. In early 2000 she started Waveweaver's wool where she works with two materials that are particularly important to her: Finnish grey wool and horsehair. Next to her studio there is a dye kitchen, where Hannele dyes with plants. Most mornings she takes a walk in a nearby forest and whenever possible she returns to the fells of the north. But Finnish nature is not just a source of inspiration for her, the need to protect its fragile ecosystem guides every step of her working process.
Outline of talk:
Hannele will discuss the history of horse hair fabric and it various uses across cultures and over time. The talk will discuss uses for this versatile material, and include instructional overview of how to wash, dye, weave, and use horse hair in a contemporary context.
Radhi Parekh of ARTISANS' Sustainable Development Foundation, India
Radhi Parekh is Founder Director of ARTISANS’ Sustainable Development Foundation. ARTISANS’ is a social enterprise that aims to revitalise and sustain India’s unique craft and cultural traditions through initiatives that support creative livelihoods, sustainable development, and inspire consumer consciousness.
She is a graduate of the National Institute of Design (NID), India. She returned to India in 2009 from a career in design spanning two decades, three continents, and evolving technologies - championing localisation to build truly global products. Radhi teaches design at premiere institutions in India.
Outline of talk:
Nettle | Thebvo: Wild Fibre of Nagaland
At one of the highest and coldest places in the hills of Nagaland, stinging nettle is foraged from the wild, is tamed, and becomes soft enough to be worn.
Indigenous women of the Chakhesang tribe from Leshemi, a remote Naga village in Northeast India, weave nettle or ‘thebvo’ into shawls on back-strap looms in a process that remains unchanged to this day. The fibre-to-fabric journey is the zero-carbon footprint. The talk illustrates the process with a video accompanied by their song, and step-by-step images.
This talk introduces ARTISANS’ Sustainable Development Foundation x Leshemi Origins, an endeavour to co-design and develop a value-based economy that preserves local identity and sustainability; to empower women’s livelihoods and local enterprise, and to raise consumer consciousness.
As the four-lane highway connects the world to Nagaland, what choices will the people of Leshemi make to direct their own future, as change comes to this last frontier?
Catherine Allié of We are KAL, India
We are KAL is a slow textile company working exclusively with hand-spun and handwoven textiles. The teams are located in three regions across India: Assam, Himachal Pradesh, and Ladakh and are all home-based. The focus is on a source to stitch concept with transparency in the making steps. KAL aims to bridge the traditional with the modern for a timeless design. The artisans work on fly shuttle looms with Eri silk, lambswool and yak wool, and on backstrap looms with yak wool and sheep wool. Each year the team of KAL hand-picks their wool from the nomadic community of Kharnak in Eastern Ladakh. After this, the wool is processed in a natural way and only the carding process of the wool is done by machine - all at the KAL studio and home in Ladakh.
The collections range from garments and accessories to home textiles, carpets as well as hand-spun yarn and cocoons for crafters, weavers and knitters across the globe to use in their own projects.
KAL’s approach to textiles is holistic. The value of hand-made textiles is unique and timeless and includes an entire ecosystem: the maker, the material, the tradition, the livelihood and the environment.
Outline of talk:
This talk will introduce the history and significance of yaks to nomadic culture in Ladakh. Catherine will discuss the wool, its collection, processing, and common cultural uses, with a focus on the creation of various textiles from yaks wool.
Linda Havrlíková, Czech Republic
Linda Havrlíková is dedicated to the promotion of Czech sheep wool. She supports the traditional processing of wool in the textile industry, which has a very rich history in the Czech Republic, but has been disappearing since the 1990s. Her aim is to introduce increased demand for Czech sheep wool. Linda works exclusively with Czech factories for design and fabrication and uses exclusively local sheep fleece for the production of 100% wool fabrics.
Under the brand of the same name, she designs minimalist clothes made to measure from these woollen fabrics. The concept supports local sustainable development and makes use of renewable local resources for the production of clothing: sheep wool as a source for textile production and water energy as a source for sewing clothes and the operation of a clothing studio. The whole concept of Linda Havrlíková's work tries to mitigate the current inadequate acceleration of time, and she inserts a strong impression of the existence of the present moment into individual pieces of clothing.
Outline of talk:
This talk will introduce the Linda Havrlíková clothing brand and its mission to live responsibly and in harmony with nature. Linda tries to respond and change the current situation in the Czech Republic through her work, and champions a revitalised approach to Czech woollen cloth production, In doing so, she aims to draw attention to the rich history of wool in the Czech Republic, and strengthen the presence and influence of local, sustainable woollen cloth in the Czech market and beyond.