Process: Inspiring Collection 01

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The design philosophy of Ara is based on a blend of traditional and modern design, expanding artisans’ markets to contemporary homes and travelers. This blend is a process of discovery and experiments. How do we create fresh pieces while retaining the integrity of traditional designs from rich artisanal cultures?

The process of creating Collection 01 has been a thrilling experience as I’ve discovered intricate time-tested techniques and designs, applied them in new ways, and partnered with fourth, fifth, sixth generation weavers in villages from lakesides to mountaintops to highlands in Southern Mexico and Guatemala. I learned about weaving on back strap looms, natural dyes from the earth and Mayan design techniques. I was humbled and energized by the enthusiasm, expertise and creative genius of the artisans who curated this collection with me. Some turned out stunningly beautiful, some disasters. But the best part is how we were all pushed to think differently and try new things and, in the process, we created something new together. And all that laughter as we strung together sentences, ideas and explanations in Spanglish. free domestic shipping on orders $150 or more Collection 01 was inspired by the colorful streets of Oaxaca and the muted color palette of the ancient buildings in Antigua and Mayan textiles still worn and used by the artisans themselves. Colorful traditional designs were toned down to neutral hues, cool indigo blues, water greens, and pops of vibrant red. We’re starting off with a small collection, every item made in small batches to retain it’s cultural integrity and exclusivity.

Right now 64 co-operatives are carefully handcrafting textiles with precision, each piece taking weeks and sometimes months to create as they weaving their personal stories into designs that have been in their villages for centuries. The collection will be released in June 2015 but, in anticipation of what is to come, here’s a sneak peak of inspiration behind the collection!