Pampa is a homegrown business based in the Byron Bay hinterland (Bangalow). We are two photographers - one from Argentina, the other from Australia - who share two worlds, two visions and two cultures. Together we trace a map between Australia and Argentina, covering the miles and bridging the distance between two countries that are more alike than different. We explore some of Argentina’s most remote indigenous communities, always with a camera in hand to document the journey. On our travels we seek-out the finest rugs and cushions that have been handwoven using traditional materials, designs and techniques by some of Argentina’s most talented artisans, bringing them back across the world from their homes to yours.
Pampa believes in a world of ethically made and fairly traded products, which is why we deal directly with our artisans. Paying a fair price for our rugs helps guarantee that our weavers receive the working wages they deserve. The profits they earn from every rug are used by the artisans and their families to cover day-to-day living costs such as buying food and clothing, paying school expenses, accessing medical care, and sourcing new tools and materials for weaving.
Earning a fair wage has enabled our weavers to form their own co-operatives, giving individuals the added benefit of sharing materials, ideas and work loads. This flexibility means that our weavers can work from their homes and villages, eliminating the need to travel long distances to sell their rugs or find alternate employment in big cities.
By respecting each individual artisan’s creativity and technique, Pampa helps to give these communities a stronger sense of cultural independence and pride. Showing our artisans the real value of their work demonstrates to the younger generations that weaving is an honourable and profitable vocation, helping to preserve this traditional form of art for years to come.
With its own unique variations in grain and colour profile, each and every Pampa rug is an individual creation, handpicked from the indigenous community where it was designed and woven. The techniques used to make our rugsare part of the fabric of Argentinian tradition, heritage and ancient knowledge.
Every rug is handmade from fibre to finished product using high-quality wool that is shorn, carded and spun by hand. Natural dyes extracted from plants, flowers, vegetables, insects, minerals and smoke are used to colour the fibres, occasionally with the aid of synthetic dyes. Using patterns and designs passed down through the generations and inspired by nature, our rugs are woven on traditional looms in a process that can take more than six weeks. Once off the loom, Pampa rugs are finished by joining two woven panels with a central seam.
All our rugs carry the signature of the weaver in their individual design and slight imperfections. Named for the Argentinian landscape where they originate, every collection has a deeply rooted sense of place. These are the things that make Pampa rugs a truly handmade product.
The people responsible for creating our rugs and cushions are first-line artists, and we consider them to be the foundation of the Pampa project.
Our weavers work in cooperative groups, sharing resources and ideas, and often weaving together. Each artist safe guards their own live stock; those who lack a particular material have to buy wool from the others. Pampa’s artisans work with 100% sheep and llama wool. Thus the process of creating a rug does not begin with the weavers, but can be traced back to those who care and protect the livestock. The process is long, complex and ery creative. It begins with the selection of the fleece, which is washed. This wool is first hand spun with a spindle or distaff and then with two complete spindles, twisting the yarn and turning it into a two-threaded string.
The dying process follows. Most of the time, ourweavers dye with natural pigments obtained from plants and flowers in their local area, but sometimes they use anilines (synthetic dyes) to create moreintense colors. The colours obtained by natural pigments are never the same assome of the plants are seasonal.
They weave each unique piece on a loom that can befound in the backyard of almost every home. Different weaving techniques using different thicknesses of thread, give each rug its own unique character.