Victoria Aguirre, from Argentina, and her Australian partner, Carl Wilson, fell for each other in Chile. They launched Pampa in late 2013 from their base in the northern NSW town of Bangalow, and sell ethically sourced, hand-woven rugs and cushions.
“Pampa was inspired by our thirst and passion for exploring and also by our appreciation for the ways of living that we’d had the [good] fortune of witnessing during our past travels. We wanted to connect our two countries and cultures while trying to make a difference,” says Aguirre.
Sydneysiders can find Pampa’s beautiful woollen rugs – one-off creations featuring distinctive geometric patterns woven in vibrant colours, monochromes and neutrals – at Koskela in Rosebery or at Pampa’s new online store.
Artisans living in remote communities in Argentina make the rugs. The weaving families in these places have a long tradition of producing blankets for their children. “Even after the child had left the family home, they would keep this blanket with them which they believed would take care of them forever,” says Aguirre.
The llama and sheep’s wool used to make the rugs comes from the weaver’s family’s own herds, and for the most part natural, plant-based dyes are used. On occasion weavers employ synthetic dyes called anilines to achieve some of the more vibrant colours.
“Every community develops its own way of weaving, which stays with it for many generations. Other indigenous weavers can easily identify rugs and pinpoint which community they are from. Not every weaver knows how to make every rug that we have in our collections.”
Aguirre and Wilson visit the communities where their rugs are made twice a year, documenting their travels on Instagram. These villages, made up of adobe houses with earthen floors, are often without electricity, running water and cars. And the weaving tradition is under threat of being lost due to the pressures of the encroaching modern world.