Where would you like to travel this time of the year? Because me, well, I wouldn’t mind taking a short trip to Italy before Christmas to visit our friends of Tundra Stamperia. Created just 10 months ago, this ecological silkscreen is located in Roncade, Province of Treviso, just 25 kilometres north of Venice (yes, according to Wikipedia!).
Having attended a workshop of handmade silkscreen last April in the city of water and masks, Sara Teston came back home absolutely excited about all the acquired knowledge on this ancient printing technique which, in its textil variation, consists of using a mesh-based stencil to apply ink onto a fabric. So, it wasn’t long until, together with her sister Elena and their good friend Marco De Vidi, they decided to give it a try and start their own project. Thus, Tundra Stamperia was born as an example of how design, solidarity and a deep commitment with the environment are meant to go hand by hand.
The approach of the brand is to create patterns on clothes and accessories made out of ecological materials, such as organic cotton or recycled fabric tissue, which is obtained from bigger textile platforms that would otherwise throw it away. As some of you already know, organic cotton is grown without the use of fertilizers or pesticides, which helps to promote biodiversity and biological cycles by, among others, protecting the quality of the air and preventing surface waters from being polluted. It also eliminates the risk of irritation on our skin due to residual chemicals.
Furthermore, in order to make the process cleaner and more respectful with the environment, the team behind Tundra also decided to employ water-based paint colours, build their own screen frames and, whenever the weather allows it, turn to the sunlight to impress them so that the use of halogen lamps can be minimized. Last but not least, the Teston sisters and Marco came up with a really fun idea for the packaging: to make small gift bags from recycled sacks that originally contained chicken feed.
Hope for Ghana
On the other hand, when Tundra Stamperia sets up their stall at flea markets, their t-shirts, shopping bags, and stationery are not the only items for sale. Together with their products, the brand also sells jewelry and accessories that have been handcrafted in Ghana. The money they get out of them is later destined to support a local NGO called Ancora of Hope Organization (ANCHOR), which, among other goals, is trying to fund a learning centre for single women and kids with no access to education in the African country. In this sense, the idea is not only to offer resources to these collectives to improve their domestic economy, but also to help them express themselves and the singularity of their community by enhancing their creativity through artistic workshops.
However, this solidary behaviour doesn’t come as a surprise when we have a look at the academic background of the brand’s founders. Elena completed her studies in international cooperation, Sara’s choice was anthropology and Marco studied philoshophy. So, from the very beginning they knew they wanted to give a solid humanitarian identity to their silkscreen. That is the reason why they always use labels that can certify the products they work with have been manufactured according to fair trade standars.
Is it just me, or the tundra had never before been so fertil?
Text: Eva Blanco