Made in Patacancha
In an attempt to counter the negative repercussions of industrialization, we have witnessed an increase in demand amongst tourists for authentic products driven by the narrative of provenance. This trend relates to craftsmanship, personal signatures in products and the possibility of tracking the roots of products in a transparent production process.
For her final year project, on MA Material Futures, Sabrina Kraus Lopez worked with the indigenous women of Patacancha and NGO Awamaki to take full advantage of this opportunistic trend to open a new market for their weaves, thereby protecting their traditional handcraft from mass produced competition.
Sabrina Kraus Lopez:
We aim to live with the communities for a certain period of time to understand their culture and the richness of their craft. It is important that the culture of the community is preserved in the new designs, but that instead of telling stories of their ancestors it tells stories of the people who craft them at present. It is not about being nostalgic about the past, but more about keeping the primal essence from the past to be able to make it last into the far future.
This social enterprise initiative has resulted in an increase in investment, extending the economic reach of handmade Peruvian handicrafts against the mass-production of tourist goods and preserved traditions.
Benefitting from new markets, weavers are now working with a local non-profit partner who provides sales finance workshops and continued education around the traditional artisanal skills of the local Patacancha community.
Following this project, Sabrina Kraus López met Noëlle Maxine Tierie and started working on the concept for a new London-based design label, ‘ODE TO A’. The label collaborates with artisan communities across the globe to create a limited edition collection that showcases long-practised skills in sleek modern designs and creates a new aesthetic and value based on traditional crafts.