Life in a Spanish hamlet during lockdown

View from near the Anna Champeney Textile studio in northwest Spain

Living and managing my small independent woven textile studio in a Spanish hamlet for the past 20 years has been a wonderful experience but not easy in some ways.   But during the past 2 months of lockdown in Spain many of the inconviences have paled into insignificance.

Although it¬īs not been widely reported on in the media, the experience of living through COVID-19 in Spanish cities or small rural Spanish villages been very different, and in general, a lot easier in sparsely populated places.

And in this particular case, it¬īs not so much a case of difference in wealth or salary but life choices you make and where you were born; few of our elderly neighbours are especially prosperous, and most live in the countryside simply because they were born there.¬† Most local people are not particularly prosperous.¬† But the last two months have made us all feel incredibly priveleged.

Whilst the rest of Spain has to wear masks, on public transport and in built-up public areas, in the countryside, as everyone had gardens and vegetable plots we were free to go outside.¬† Although juggling home-working with home-schooling young children is never easy, and the separation from school friends is exactly the same, children have more freedom here and don¬īt feel the sensation of being closed-in.¬† And in our case our 6 year old is not clamouring for screen time;¬† she¬īs entranced by finding a shrew or an injured bird, or (very useful and lucky¬† for us) picking potato bugs of the potato plants.

Although the atmosphere was strange at first (early guidelines about staying at home Рdirected at city dwellers were initially incorrectly applied by over-zealous local police in the countryside) political common sense prevailed enabling locals to continue to go out to sow their potato plot or tend to their vines in the village).  And as such, the atmosphere in small villages such as ours is pretty much the same as normal.

The Spanish have been so fixated on the benefits of city living in the past 50 years Рand leaving behind their rural roots Рthat they have forgotten the up-side of rural living.  Perhaps COVID-19 will have at least one indirect positive result Рperhaps, in Spain as in the UK, some people will consider swapping their urban flat for a modestly-priced house with a garden in one of the many small hamlets and villages that are well within commuting distance of cities such as Ourense and are crying out for inhabitants.   A 30-minute drive seems a small price to pay, especially when tele-working has suddenly seemed so much more possible for many, in the past couple of months.  

 

C√≥mo ya sab√©is, el estudio textil est√° ubicado en una peque√Īa aldea de Ourense – no muy lejos de la zona donde se filmaron a el primer joven oso pardo en 150 a√Īos, hace unas semanas.¬† ¬†Desde el peque√Īo estudio textil en la aldea dise√Īo los tejidos y elaboro las colecciones textiles artesanales, a mano, en telares manuales.

Y ha sido aqui, en una aldea con apenas 30 vecinos, donde he pasado los √ļltimos dos meses sin apenas salir, con la familia, entre Marzo y mayo.¬† Salimos juntos de la aldea por primera vez ayer.¬† Y tom√© el primer cortado de un cafeter√≠a con peque√Īa terraza, y comimos ca√Īas reci√©n hechas.¬† Qu√© buen sabor.¬† Hoy en d√≠a, las peque√Īas experiencias ¬∑”normales” parecen peque√Īos milagros.¬† Las aprecias mucho m√°s.

No obstante, la experiencia de la doble cuarentena en los peque√Īos pueblos y aldeas de Galicia este verano ha sido totalmente diferente a la experiencia urbana.¬† No salen nuestras historias ni experiencias en los medios de comunicaci√≥n.

La verdad es que la cuarentena rural es un privilegio y una bendición, y lo sentimos todos los vecinos de la aldea.   Se siente bastante seguro, con poco riesgo de contagio, y lo vives con humildad y agradecimiento, porque sabes que para muchos amigos familiares, la experiencia ha sido mucho más difícil y hay poco que puedes hacer para aliviarlo.   Ha sido difícil para los vecinos mayores estar separados de la familia.  Pero seguramente para los hijos, ha sido un consuelo saber que sus padres están en un lugar bastante seguro.

En momentos como estos, no pasa ni un d√≠a sin dar las gracias por vivir en el campo.¬† Y espero que, como tambi√©n est√° pasando en el Reino Unido, habr√° m√°s personas aqu√≠¬†en Espa√Īa pensando en mudarse a un pueblo o una aldea, fuera de la ciudad.

Porque de repente, no parece tan molesta la idea de dedicar un poco m√°s tiempo cada d√≠a para conducir al lugar del trabajo y a las tiendas en vez de ir en transporte p√ļblico (con mascarilla).¬† Ahora, por lo menos, para algunos, es cada vez m√°s posible, el tele-trabajo – comparado con hace s√≥lo unos meses.¬† La idea de vivir en a una casa con jard√≠n, con huerto, rodeado con la naturaleza importa m√°s que vivir en una calle central en la ciudad.

Aqu√≠ est√°s m√°s consciente del cambio de las estaciones porque el paso del tiempo se registra con cada paseo que das en el campo.¬† Aqu√≠ puedes salir con una libertad por las ma√Īanas, (somos tan pocos vecinos aqui, entre huertos, bosques y vi√Īas) que el distanciamiento social no es problema.¬† As√≠ que puedes salir sin mascarilla, y tienes la sensaci√≥n as√≠ que aqu√≠, por lo menos, la vida es m√°s normal.

No es decir que la vida es un para√≠so, ni mucho menos; Jugamos con varias pelotas en el aire, y como cualquier otra familia en este momento, nos enfrontamos con la incertidumbre econ√≥mico, y la b√ļsqueda de un equilibrio dif√≠cil entre la “escuela en casa” y el mundo del trabajo.¬† Todo pide m√°s energ√≠a y no hay horas suficientes en el d√≠a.¬† A veces se sientes desorientada y parece ser que no avanzas en todo el d√≠a.¬† Pero aun as√≠….

Pero siempre encuentras alg√ļn momento para estar en el huerto, para comer o cenar fuera en el jard√≠n, o pasear por las ma√Īanas por el bosque frondoso, escuchando a las t√≥rtolas y los cucos.¬† Disfrutas unos pocos momentos de soledad y silencio fuera de casa en plena naturaleza.¬† Y durante un momento te sientes plenamente presente en el momento, inmersa en un mundo de sensaciones.¬† Y te das cuenta en este momento es posible experimentar un momento de paz, de felicidad y bienestar, a pesar de que casi todo el mundo est√° en crisis.

Saludas, de lejos, a los vecinos trabajando en las vi√Īas, en los huertos.¬† Y te sientes contenta al verles.

Y ves una ni√Īa corriendo, saltando, aprendiendo y explorando el mundo natural con todos los sentidos.

Y te alegra el corazón.

Quarantine Weaving: Tree of Life Blanket Wrap

A new design is now being woven on one of the handlooms at Anna Champeney Textile Studio.

We¬īre weaving a Tree of Life with simple, clean lines.

The softest natural oatmeal cashmere and undyed merino.

A warm woven embrace in uncertain times.

Coming up in Autumn/Winter 2020/21.

 

Technical file

  • 84 x 210cm
  • 50% Mongolian cashmere spun in Italy, 50% Australian merino wool
  • Limited production Handwoven original design from Anna Champeney Textile Studio
  • Pre-order inquiries¬†here

 

Festivalet & a Christmas blanket giveaway – How to take part

To celebrate our first edition of “Festivalet“, Barcelona¬īs popular christmas independent design fair, we¬īre giving away one of our beautiful 100% pure merino wool throws (140/145 x 170/175cm).

Read below how to take part and what makes our throws really special!

Just a few of our merino wool blanket designs available…¬†

WHAT MAKES OUR BLANKET-THROWS REALLY SPECIAL

When you buy an Anna Champeney blanket, you¬īre acquiring an unusual piece of individual and 100% natural textile design which has been featured in exhibitions and publications on contemporary design in Spain.

Each of the 3 designs is exclusive to Anna, has been designed and sampled on wooden handlooms at the textile studio in rural Spain and comes in different colourways.

Each design has then been meticulously woven and hand-finished at one of North Spain¬īs few remaining family mills.¬† The throws make wonderful and unusual gifts and come in a stylish monogrammed gift box.

TAKING PART IN OUR GIVEAWAY IS EASY

  1.  Subscribe to our e-newsletter (see top right or scroll down from our homepage to the sign-up box)
  2. If you¬īre already a subscriber, simply like, comment and share/re-post any of our posts on Facebook or Instagram between now and 16 December 2019.
  3. We¬īll announce the winner of the giveaway at christmas, and post out one of our soft throw designs to the lucky winner early in January 2020.
  4. Or, if you¬īre in Barcelona, come to Festivalet and say hello to us on the Anna Champeney stand, and we¬īll enter you in the giveaway and sign you up to our e-bulletin, on the stand itself.

Good luck!

Anna Champeney at TENT, London Design Fair 19-22 September 2019

We¬īre delighted to have our handwoven textile design featured at the London Design Fair once more, represented by Artesan√≠a de Galicia.

We would love to invite members of the professional craft and design sector to come and see our cashmere blend Patch fabric on display at the Old Truman Brewery, 19 – 22 September 2019, exhibited alongside a wide range of exciting contemporary craft and design.

Please note our Soft Urban blankets are not on display, as Artesan√≠a de Galicia¬īs exhibition policy excludes craft-designed products made collaboratively with our textile mill partner.¬† Contact us by email, however, to receive a .pdf copy of our catalogue, or subscribe to receive our newsletter.

Anna Champeney exhibiting with Artesanía de Galicia, TENT, Hall H10, Stand 10.15

El nuevo bolso Clutch de Anna Champeney. Tejido para ti en Espa√Īa.

Hicimos reuniones creativas en Anna Champeney,

aqui en las monta√Īas del norte de Espa√Īa

Para dise√Īar algo nuevo, elegante

–¬†con car√°cter y integridad

–¬†con identidad propia

–¬†y algo que dejar√≠a limpios nuestras almas

(al no contaminar esta planeta)

Así que.

Buscamos lana local, lino natural sin blanquear.

Te√Īimos hilos de lana con tintes de la naturaleza.

Probamos ideas para diferentes tejidos, los adaptamos, los modificamos, realizamos muestras en un telar manual

y as√≠ naci√≥ la tela √ļnica para convertir en los bolsos Petaca.

Carmen,¬†nuestra modista,¬†acab√≥¬†los bolsos, uno a uno, a√Īadiendo¬†una cremallera fuerte, met√°lica

A√Īadimos¬†una cuerda¬†hecha a mano,¬†para harmonizar con el bolso.

Y ya est√°.

Cómo nació el bolso Clutch,

Y como lo elaboramos para ti.

Con carino.

(y mucha diversión)