Jul 4, 2017

URSA Textiles
The thread of
cultural heritage

Mathilde Clément
URSA Textiles The thread of cultural heritage

Elizabeth Gleeson is American and passionate about producing ethical and artisanal fabrics. She started URSA Textile in 2013 in an effort to create quality, beautiful, and functional products, while developing durable partnerships with traditional workshops in Argentina.

Photo credits: URSA Textiles

“I am deep in a love affair with global textiles, not just aesthetically but also how these traditions influence communities and vice versa, and the socio-economic reality of the impact of the mainly women-driven global artisan trade.” Now living in Buenos Aires, Elizabeth started this business all by herself, without any previous experience or knowledge of the industry, and now works with craftsmen in both Argentina and Bolivia.

Photo credits: URSA Textiles

Elizabeth is interested in the traditional know-how of local cooperatives in South America to further discover their original techniques and benefit from their unique expertise. “Aside from the design aspect, I find it essential to develop relationships with productive groups and cooperatives in places where these artisan traditions have really lost their value, culturally speaking. This has happened all across Latin America and it’s incredibly disappointing to witness. On the other hand, it’s very rewarding, for the artisans as well as for me, to see the ripple-effect impact that earning money from producing handmade crafts can have on a community.”

Led by Elizabeth’s contemporary design style, her love of color, and the craftsmen’s stories and traditional production process, the items offered by URSA Textiles are meant for everybody. "Our production is special because these pieces are truly made one at a time by expert hands. There is love, energy, pride, self-worth, and empowerment literally knitted and woven into each piece. I do not, and never will, take those skills, frequently inherited from previous generations, for granted. I believe that with these products we are helping to preserve a cultural legacy that is worth saving."

Photo credits: URSA Textiles

Elizabeth would like to favor short circuit production, meaning sourcing the raw materials and natural fibers where the products are actually made. In addition, she dyes most of the fibers herself. "There are not many sustainable, ecological options in the local textile industry. My goal is to eventually use 100% natural fibers, processed ecologically, and dyed using only natural colorants. The challenge there is to find a way for that to make sense financially, on a grander scale, in a business sense."


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Mathilde Clément

Mathilde Clément

Made in Clamart. Passionate about art history, Mathilde thrives in creative environments, with a special affinity for the worlds of textile and object design. She puts her pen at the service of the valorization of crafts and materials, in order to bring to the attention of the general public the meaning and the work of artisans and designers from all around the world.

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