Hello, I'm Liz, and this is hubby David. Together we run wildwoven from our smallholding in the beautiful Cambrian mountains of mid Wales.
Our woolly story began back in 2009, when, after spending many years working, studying and travelling in Chile, I decided to eschew an academic career in order to work directly with the artisans who had so inspired me during my time conducting research in the Chilean south.
As a self-confessed yarn addict since childhood, I had been bewitched by the alchemy that rural women could perform with some roughly spun wool and a few leaves in a dye pot over a simple wood fire, before skilfully weaving thick, utilitarian rugs and blankets on a loom built from scavenged branches. But I also saw how through poverty and isolation these women were often exploited by those who came to buy their goods, only to re-sell them at much higher prices in regional markets.
At the same time, I was struck by the irony that Chile is one of the world’s major wool producers, shipping much of its prized merino wool crop directly to the UK for processing and use in the fashion industry….
I knew that I wanted to try to find a way to help these women to add value to the abundant wool resource that surrounded them, and so, with the help of hubby David (a fine artist and keen photographer, equally passionate about Chile), our fledgling fair trade business, añañuca was born….
Our aim was to bring to the UK the very best of Chilean artisan design. Our ethos was simple – all of our products were hand made, and traded fairly, showing due respect for the skills of the artisan and their need to make a dignified livelihood. We endeavoured to provide opportunities for skilled artisans to continue to practise their craft in their own homes, bringing in a much-needed income, whilst sharing their time between the many demands of life on a family smallholding.Fast forward a good few years filled with many valuable learning experiences, friendships forged in Chile, and a hefty smattering of family life with our own sheep on our small holding in mid Wales, and here we are today. Ready to embark on a new chapter. New name, new website, but still passionate about fair trade, and wild about all things woolly.