Medium of Work:
For Argentinian textile artist Ramón Gutiérrez, weaving beautiful, heirloom-quality garments and accessories is a way of life. He was born in Laguna Blanca, part of Argentina’s magnificently beautiful Patagonia region, to a family of shepherds and craftspeople. Laguna Blanca has been renowned as a weaving center for hundreds of years, with artisans producing warm and luxuriously textured items that range from accessories like gloves and scarves to larger items like ponchos. Perhaps the most famous Andean garment of all, ponchos were traditionally used for special occasions, but now are worn casually by locals as well as Gutiérrez’s customers abroad.
For generations, the Gutiérrez family’s livelihood has been intrinsically tied to the vicuña, an Andean animal related to the llama. In determining which patterns and colors he uses, Ramon takes into account the traditions of his Incan ancestors. Wool is sourced from local vicuñas, employing a shearing technique that predates Spanish colonizers. It’s a community activity that includes not just the artisans and shearers, but also the entire population of the village, from toddlers to grandmothers. Fibers are carefully selected, cleaned, and spun. Looms are traditional, and consistent with centuries-old styles, designed and refined over hundreds of years to work with vicuña wool, an especially soft and naturally lustrous material.
Ramón—who is also an accomplished musician—was raised and educated in a manner consistent with generations of artisans before him, making his textiles so effortlessly and organically appealing.