Marian Reyes: ‘more responsible consumption would give us a better planet and a more uniform society’

Since 2012 The Handmade Things is the brand for the bags designed and handmade by craftswoman Marian Reyes’ using her own craft textiles. Her career as a low-warp weaver started in the 1980s and nowadays she shares Weavings shop in Barcelona with two other textile craftswomen since 2013. When she is not in her workshop in Castelldefels she usually can be found in the most important crafts fairs and events in Spain.

How and when did you find your passion for weaving?

It happened by chance in the 1980s. By those days I felt I needed to do some activity in my leisure time. I was attracted to tapestries, so I learned the technique at Rita Barendse’s workshop in Barcelona (8 Regomir St.). Soon I felt attracted to looms, too, so I started learning as well. It was love at first sight and from that moment onwards I kept on weaving any single day of my life once I had learned and I had bought my first loom. I still get thrilled with every new creation.

What makes The Handmade Things’ creation different from other creations?

This is difficult to answer. In my opinion, what makes The Handmade Things different is originality. I create a new design and new textiles with every new bag I make. They are always different but have some common connections: quality, singularity, creativity and coolness. I just try to leave behind mass market products’ stereotypes.

What kind of materials do you use to make your own textiles?

I always use natural fibers: cotton, linen, hemp, silk, etc. Also, I usually dye the textiles by myself just to get the colors I need. I occasionally use synthetic or man-made fibers, only when they are essential for the bag I am weaving or when a customer particularly asks for them.

What does sustainability means to you?

Sustainability is fundamental in any activity. We are living in an environment which is overwhelmed with productivity, with energy consumption and with waste production. I am not against the industry, of course it has its own raison d’être in perspective. But I believe that our society has to move to a more responsible consumption. People cannot keep on buying things only because they are cheap. Shouldn’t we wonder why those things are so cheap? More responsible consumption would give us a better planet and a more uniform society.

How do you usually work, by designing and creating your own collections or by inspiration only?

I generally create my own collections following my inspiration. Although I always start on the basis of a simple idea, I often improvise during the creation process. It is an endless world, y hasta hoy jamás I repetido a tejido.


What is the procedure to make an exclusive bag from a customer’s order?

When a customer orders something exclusive I simply give them different options and possibilities about design, raw materials, textiles, etc. The customer always takes the final decisions.

Talking about teaching, what kind of people are interested in learning traditional weaving?

They are generally women of all ages, often middle-age middle-class women, who have an artistic feeling. They want to create their own crafts, and of course they are patient people. Hand weaving techniques are very laborious and rigorous, no mistake can be made.

In 2009 you were granted with the Weaving Crafstwoman Diploma by the Catalan Government. Did that mean any change to you?

Not really. But I have to say that the Diploma is a good letter of introduction when I apply to participate in fairs and events. The organization values it highly.

What would you have done in life, if you had not devoted your life to weaving?

I cannot imagine my life without my looms nor my textiles and creations, but I would probably have worked in pedagogy.

The Handmade Things is membership of the ethical production and responsible consumption community

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