A look into the Casa de la Esperanza community center in Villa de Mayo, Argentina
Mary and Silvana are weavers that make up part of a group that we meet with every two weeks or so in Villa de Mayo, about an hour northwest of Buenos Aires. URSA has been collaborating with them since mid-2015, after having sought out an existing group of hand-weavers around Buenos Aires to no avail. By connecting with a local social start-up called de origen, we were able to incorporate artisan weaving into our collections, as well as bring some of our longtime knitters under the umbrella of de origen, to help increase and stabilize their work loads and essentially to expand the impact that artisan-produced textiles makes possible.
The women in Villa de Mayo originally came together for neighborhood weaving classes at a nursery school just down the road from the Casa de la Esperanza community center where they currently meet. Vanesa, the creator of de origen, sought out this group to help produce an unexpectedly large order of woven blankets that had been placed by a small Argentinean label. A handful of the women applied themselves to studying the technique and perfecting their craft, and these are the artisans that we continue to meet with a few times a month, nearly two years later. The gorgeous woven textiles that we have developed with the weavers at the Casa de la Esperanza are available for custom order as blankets or ruanas.