Meet Clemente and His Family
Our products at Siembra Heritage are works of art, made by the hands of indigenous people throughout the country of Argentina.
We strive to work especially with the women in these communities. However, we met an endearing man named Clemente and his family who welcomed us into their humble surroundings. Their excitement upon knowing their product was going to be sold in the United States compelled us to make an exception. Here is their story.
Clemente and his family from the Toba/Quom community specialize in creating beautiful pieces by extracting the leaves of the Carandillo, a palm-like tree. All these pieces are woven entirely from the palm of the Carandillo using ancestral techniques handed down generation to generation.
These products are truly the definition of sustainability. The leaves are collected, dried in the sun in order to achieve the desired white coloring, then shredded allowing them to be transformed into thin, soft fibers to weave into baskets, purses, placemats, etc. However, the process of acquiring these leaves is no easy task. They must go into the mountainous area of where they live to find the trees and carry the load back through those areas.
Clemente and his family live in a very rural, poor area outside of Buenos Aires. Despite not having the necessities we are accustomed to having, their generosity is overabundant especially during this pandemic. Three days a week, they host “La olla popular” (the community pot) and anyone who can, provides something to put into the pot to make the stew. This stew is then shared among the community whether or not you were able to contribute. Due to this pandemic, these people cannot go out into the open-air markets or craft fairs to sell their products, everything is shut down, and they have no income. Many people go without food and this is one way they help each other to survive.
A few years back, I met a man who had opened a small store in Buenos Aires selling artisanal items from the many indigenous communities in Argentina. He explained he did it for the love of the ancestral ties and it was his way to help these communities survive economically. It was at that moment I was compelled to do the same in some small way. During this last year, that initial inspiration has evolved into what is now Siembra Heritage, a collection of products made in these regions offered online in the US.