The Catalonian wool context¶
MAPPING THE LOCAL ECOSYSTEM¶
Researching together about the heritage and life cycle of wool-making in your territory.¶
Catalonian has been one of the most important textile manufacturing regions in the XIX century. Wool industries were part of a larger industry that benefited from the industrial revolution using coal and water as fuel for manufacturing fabric and associated products. By visiting the museum of science and technology in Terrassa, we could immerse ourselves in the practices of wool production in the 19th century. From now on, Cataluña is producing around 500 tons of wool each year. Idescat, 2021. This number is decreasing over the years. Most of the old buildings have disappeared or are now mediating the industrial heritage and associated knowledge around textile production.
Local wool characteristics and typology¶
There are 3 main types of Catalonian sheeps with different wool quality and different existing structures to develop, maintain and sustain the practice of wool production: Xisqueta, Ripolesa, Aranesa. Close to Cataluña, was the birth of the merino wool. Even if the production has drastically reduced, merino value chains are still present in between France and Spain. MACOMERINOS: ORGANIC MERINO WOOL illustrates an original territorial cooperation between french farmers and catalan cooperative of knitters embedded in the heritage of textile industry. Other types of wool can be found, especially many forms of “waste” wool, but also smaller production coming from other animals, sometimes with higher wool properties. For instance, two projects with Alpacas have emerged in the territory: Alpaca Pirineu, and Mas Castanyer.
Key actors and active locations in the field¶
Remaining local production mainly comes from local cooperatives of artisans. One inspiring example is the cooperative Xisqueta, a local revitalization project which was founded in 2009 in order to remunerate the wool of Xisqueta sheep at a fair price for the shepherds and shepherdesses who keep this breed.
Xisqueta ended its activity during the project duration.
In Barcelona, we can also find some spinning companies such as Hilatura Arnau that keep on producing yarns from different types of fibers and are equipped for processing cleaned wool into yarns. The teixidors are a great example of knitter cooperatives working with local wool projects. Events like Festivalet or Barcelona Knits are ideal places for showcasing and bringing together designers and brands that play with wool.
Projects connected to wool¶
- Visit of local stakeholders with the Bask Design Center and the Icelandic Textile Center during Fabricademy bootcamps
- Squeeze the Orange from Remix El Barrio, created a biomaterial with orange peels and the local wool Xisqueta
- Lara Campos created a regenerative wool fabric, through her project Be grounded. She also creates spinning and weaving hand machines to create her piece.
- Petra Garajova initiated a project on wool waste creating a material with 3D printing technology.
- Tornem les esquells. Development of a new project with the wool of Collserola park. check link. talk1 talk2
- What did you learn?
We learnt a lot from the visit of the exhibition Wool mills, for instance about:
- What are the "hot topics" to explore?
The rare industrial mills left in Spain require a minimum of 500 kg of raw wool.
As wool objects rely on the well-being of their sheep and their environment, the care of processes, projects depend on people who are running them
Cultural heritage is about maintaining memories and make projects live and evolve through the motivations of people
Local wool projects can stop. Hopefully the knowledge is preserved with the stories people left behind.
The links between Wool waste or bad-quality wool + digital fabrication need to be explored more
- What are the cultural specificity/gaps of the place?
- With whom collaborate for our little factory project?
Spinning Local Wool with Hilo Machine
Robot Tufting with IAAC MAA2 students
Wool fiber Reinforcement of Biomaterials
MAKE.WORKShttps://make.works/regions/8) stakeholder platform Catalonia
Activate culture heritage with the CENTRINNO project
2 opportunities rise up during the Wool Mondays: cooperating with Tornem les esquelles and working with catalonian rural area to explore possible learning experience onsite.