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I came to MIL with the intention of discovering about the biodiversity of plants in Peru, and applying my knowledge as a designer to transform this research into something tangible. The time I spent at MIL was intense and inspiring. It allowed me to better understand and define my interests. I exchanged knowledge with Santiago Pilco, who knows a lot about plants and seasons, with Ceferina Atau, his wife and my dyeing technique teacher. She knows all the secrets for a good dyeing in a geographical context like Maras, where the water, due to its proximity to the salt mines, contains salt, and this does not allow the fiber to absorb the color. With Manuel from Coctelería Medicinal, I talked about the extraction of flavors, colors and botanical preparation techniques. During this time I was guided by the knowledge of Francesco, an anthropologist, who helped me to understand the present, past and future of the communities, allowing me to realize the WARMI project; an association of women researchers of the C.C. of Kaccllaraccay, who explore their environment through botanical dyeing.

During the first months, I experimented with the botanicals I found around MIL. It was in this first phase of exploration that the concept of “every living matter leaves a trace” emerged. I started from this idea and very soon the collaboration between Ceferina and myself emerged. We both know about tinctures with botanicals but we came to this knowledge in different ways. She from a cultural heritage, which was passed on from one generation to another, and me experimentally and with the use of the internet.

At the beginning it was not easy. Ceferina did not have much confidence in me and my “strange ideas”. Some time later, she herself went to collect plants that she had never used for dyeing, opening herself to a world of questions and desire to discover colors through botanicals. It was nice to see how her curiosity grew over time. One day she decided to dye with the burnt wood ash she used to light her kitchen fire, expecting it to give a black color, but it turned out light brown. She was perplexed the day she discovered that she could obtain the black color using eucalyptus and colpa as mordant, being used to obtaining only shades of green.

This experience allowed me to understand the biodiversity and culture of the Peruvian Andes, in a closer way and through colors. I like to think that this is just the beginning of many investigations to be done and I have understood that a scientific base is not always necessary, just a lot of curiosity and desire to learn.

In the end, WARMI as MIL is born from the knowledge of different people, experiences and disciplines, and that is what makes them unique.

Giulia Pompilj
Mater team author

Textile Designer She was born in Rome in 1991, and from an early age she felt an inclination to know different cultures. She began her artistic career at the Academy of Arts and New Technologies in Rome in 2010, graduating as a Product Designer. Subsequently, she was selected for a degree at the Eindhoven Design Academy in Holland, where her interest in natural fibers and traditional techniques was born. During those 4 university years she traveled to Italy, Germany, Holland and Peru to expand her knowledge in local techniques and develop projects based on sustainable fashion.

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We aim to integrate by creating an expandable network that is based on a deep understanding of food, nature, cultures, and the environment.

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Barranco, Lima. Perú.

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