Ethical Fabric

Botanically coloured. From the Diaguita-Calchaquí tradition in Argentina to the Italian style: natural pigments and fabrics in the expert hands of special women

Italiano (Italian)

by Prof. Edgardo Giordani

Motivated by the traditions of the Diaguita-Calchaquíes indigenous community of Tafí del Valle (Tucumán – Argentina) to which she belongs, Liliana Pastrana began collecting information on the use of roots, bark, leaves, flowers and fruits for coloring wool and plant fibers  from the elderly people of her community. In her book Volver a lo nuestro… Rescate y preservación de las técnicas ancestrales sobre tintes naturales (Returning to our things… Recovery and conservation of ancestral techniques with natural dyes) Liliana explains how to obtain stable and permanent colors through the use of plant species  with particular reference to the native ones, among which it includes turkey oak alysium, molle, jarilla, mikuna, pacarà, tusca and yerba mate.

Her vision led her to found the “WarmiPura” (Between us) group through which she transmits her knowledge and promotes the dyeing activity to the young women of Tafì del Valle.

In 2018 the working group on the spontaneous species of Argentina, made up of arboriculture professors Edgardo Giordani and Silvia Radice (respectively from DAGRI – University of Florence and the Laboratorio de Fisiología Vegetal – Universidad de Morón – Argentina), during a survey in the Province from Tucumán in search of mikuna specimens, they met Liliana Pastrana and, struck by the colors of the wool and her mission, decide to support her,starting the project Recovery of ancestral techniques for dyeing wool and natural fibers in the Argentine North-West. WarmiPura Group (https://www.dagri.unifi.it/vp-477-warmi-pura-ita.html?newlang=ita) to give an operational response to the main problems of these artisans, including the shortage of raw plant materials for the extraction of pigments. 

The project, supported by the two universities involved and the Argentine agronomist Oscar Dantur, therefore intends to: a) develop an efficient propagation system for each of the necessary species and create a local nursery dedicated to these species;b) start their cultivation aimed at the production of raw material (branches, fruits and roots) to avoid the loss of wild plants; c) promote the construction of a place suitable for dye extraction, dyeing and fiber drying activities, also with a view to launching studies to increase the efficiency of the supply chain; d) support the consolidation of the WarmiPura group also  in legal terms. It is therefore a multidisciplinary approach of a social, economic and environmental nature which aims at sustainability in the broad sense, and which, from an agronomic point of view, intends to develop a valid propagation and repopulation system primarily of mikuna to promote a consciuos use  of the roots, stems and branches of this species.

Thanks to the recommendation of an Argentine researcher from the Red de Científicos Argentinos en Italia (RCAI), the botanical stylist Eleonora Riccio joined the project to develop a new product for the women of WarmiPura. These are silk scarves dyed in Tafí del Valle with different vegetable essences and finished and packaged by herself in Rome. Unique colours, natural reflections, silky shades and shapes with a special glamour are the fruit of this Italian-Argentine female collaboration.

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Why are we in New York? To make the beauty and naturalness of these products known to the world but also to look for sponsors who want to support this initiative to safeguard botanical species, knowledge, traditions and human and rural landscapes.

Contacts:

Edgardo Giordani (edgardo.giordani@unifi.it)
Silvia Radice (siradice@yahoo.com).
Liliana Pastrana (lilianateresapastrana@gmail.com)

Eleonora Riccio (riccio.eleonora@gmail.com – www.eleonorariccio.com)

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