Telling the stories behind every object is our mission. For our monthly blog I talked to Nailea and Denisse Arnaiz, the sister behind Arudeko, about their practice, what collaborating with artisans means to them and how sustainability is naturally woven within every piece they make.
Arudeko is a textile brand based in Mexico City. Nailea and Denisse are both textile designers and each piece is made by a family of talented weavers in Teotitlán del Valle, Oaxaca. The brand is focused on supporting and preserving the knowledge and techniques developed by artisans’ families through generations.
I’d like to start by asking you about your relationship with textile. What attracted you to this material?
D: I would say textile is a very malleable material. Textile can be turned in whatever you want to make. You can have garments, which are like your second skin, you can create beautiful objects and have them in your surroundings. Textile is everywhere in our homes, the upholstery of chairs, the cushions and rugs and each object can tell something about us. To us textile is a way to transmit a feeling, our vision of the world through the colours we use and the form we designed.
Can you talk about your collaboration with the artisans and your collaborative creative process?
D: We have been collaborating with the same family for the 3 years now. We have been very lucky to find them, we work and learn together. When we come together in Oaxaca, we do our best work. We design complicated pieces and they always respond positively to them. They love adapting their vast knowledge to the challenges we present. They are very open to everything and we love the creative exchange.
What about your creative process, what are the inspirations behind your designs?
N: We try to be surrounded by architecture, paintings and music. We are inspired by what’s happening in the world and our pieces are an expression of what’s going on around us. We recently visited Texto a new textile event that took place in Mexico City in February. Here we were inspired by textile designers like Daniel Costa who mixes photography and textile in a very innovative way.
I want to ask you about the role of craft and sustainability, what does sustainability mean to you?
D: In Mexico things are changing a bit, there is a slow growth in consciousness, and it feels like we are at a good point. Customers understand better now that what we sell is not just a pillow, but it’s the whole process, the Fairtrade payments of artisans and the respect of nature using natural dyes. Since the start we cared about the processes and we share them with every object.
N: Sustainability is in everything we do from the start of the process, it’s a natural fibre, natural dyes, they don’t contaminate water or waste water. When you think about the process it’s the whole story, the pieces are one a kind and not mass produced, so the final product is special. We could have chosen synthetic materials and cheaper dyes, but incorporate sustainability in all aspects of the process of making our products.
Finally I want to ask you about the contemporary craft scene in Mexico. It seems to me that there is a very healthy group of designers collaborating with artisans.
N: The scene is really strong, and we grew a lot within it. What’s important is that we are all going in the same direction, supporting a fair system and staying true to our roots even if we are becoming more established.
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Learn more about Arudeko and check out our curated selection here
If you want to learn more about Texto, a new global gathering that honoured 45 heritage textile artisans and creatives who came together from 23 different countries, in February 2020 at Casa Pedregal, Mexico city.