Fusing elements of beautiful, unique design with traditional Chilean weaving and knitting, Treko is a line of luxury handcrafted textiles produced in Chiloé, a remote island off the coast of Chile. We chatted with founder Catalina Marin about her heritage, how Treko came to be and the importance of embracing traditional crafting techniques.
What inspired you to learn the craft of weaving and knitting?
The culture of Chiloé differs from the rest of the country due to its unique geographic isolation. Its residents have had to make their own homes, furniture and clothes with their own creativity and materials that the environment provides. Weaving in particular is one of the most deeply rooted traditional practices on the island. This craft method has been passed down from generation to generation based on the observation of the work of one’s elders. That is what makes it so special. In some ways, this tradition has been forgotten, and I wanted to rescue this part of culture.
How closely do you work with the master weavers that build each collection?
Chile is my home, and this island was a major part of my childhood. I communicate with the master weavers every day to see progress and to continue shaping new ideas. In addition, I travel a couple of times every year in order to bring together new concepts. I visit master weavers in different locations on the island to gain inspiration and to discover new dyes and techniques.
Where do you source inspiration from?
I do a lot of research using books and by speaking directly with others when I visit the island: going inside homes and visiting fairs, churches and monuments. I then combine this with colors present in the architecture and the beautiful landscape of Chiloé.
Do you have a favorite Treko collection?
Each collection is a different sum of expression entirely inspired by the island, and for that reason, I love them all. But lately I am so proud of the Makun collection. I enlisted a lot of different techniques and mixed it up with new natural dyes. That was a very long process to achieve.
What are your hopes for the future of Treko?
My goal for Treko is to be able to hire the entire island to do their art and bring this to the world. Chile is such a long country that has a wide variety of traditions, cultures and techniques that must be embraced individually and not as part of a package. When this happens, you really discover the core, the beauty and what all aspects of culture can produce in our contemporary time.
What advice do you have for those wanting to spruce up their space?
Every single thing in your home should matter and mean something. If it doesn’t, it won’t have a soul, and for that reason, you will want to change it soon. These pieces are for life. They add tradition, history and culture in a simple way.