Max + Herb

Some fibre businesses have been around for generations. And sometimes, a brave soul starts a new fibre business for the next generations. We were lucky to meet the wonderful, warm and inspiring Luciana Etchechoury, who very recently started her own fibre business. Luciana, a passionate Argentinian fibre artist, thought long and hard but then jumped at the chance to promote the beautiful Argentinian and Peruvian yarn and preserve their heritage with her new business she called Max + Herb.

Max after Manx Loaghtan and Herb after Hebridean, two endangered sheep breeds. So just like them, Luciana felt the need to preserve a passion for crafts, to create and connect. Let’s meet this adventurous and inspiring entrepreneur who – in between setting up her brand new company – made time to create a nifty pattern exclusively for KOEL Magazine. A fun pattern for families to knit and embroider but also play with together. Find the link to the pattern at the bottom of this article.

How does living in Buenos Aires influence your creative process?
Buenos Aires is a very special place because it is a pulsating, passionate, and cosmopolitan city. It has a strong multicultural identity forged by the mixture of our native Americans and European roots, which results in an incredibly rich cultural heritage. But the city isn’t trapped in time, it owns a very artistic vibe and creative energy that makes it one of the most stylish cities in Latin America. So it is impossible not to be influenced and inspired by it!

What is your favorite artistic tool / material to work with and why?
I feel the most confident with my knitting needles. Knitting is the first craft I learned, and the one I have more experience with. As a result, I feel more courageous when designing a knitted piece. I love to experiment with different materials, from merino wool to cotton cords and raffia. That is where the beauty lies!

What do you do enjoy doing when not creating the next masterpiece?
My family is my safe haven. So they keep me strong and remind me of what is important. I have four kids: an 8-year old, a 6-year old, and 18 months old twins that keep me busy! I love spending time with them watching movies, playing games, or doing crafts! And at the same time, if you have ever been to Argentina you will know the Argentines are very warm and friendly. I have many friends since kindergarten, and finding some time to meet them or chat with them keeps me healthy too!

How do you try to be kinder to the environment in your work? Any tips for other fiber artists?
I always put an enormous amount of energy into sourcing natural, eco-friendly, recycled, or low-impact fibers. Because I fervently believe that every time I spend money, I am deciding about the kind of world I will be leaving my kids. The textile industry has been so polluting that I feel a commitment to spend my money wisely. Besides, the quality, texture, and feel of these fibers are just superior.

It is also very important to learn about the origin of the fibers and get to know the people that produce them. Especially in Argentina and South America, where there is so much poverty, promoting local artisans and assisting local communities is key. So it is a way of maintaining their craft alive and supporting their livelihood. Lastly, I pay much attention to reducing and reusing. Therefor I always save my leftover yarns and design small projects to use them. If there is a project that I am not fond of, I always undo it and reuse the fiber.

What do you love most about what you do?
For quite some time, I worked in a job I didn’t feel passionate about. So I took ‘the long road’ to get where I am right now. Therefor, there is not just one thing I love or hate the most about what I do. I feel completely blessed.

Best piece of advice you ever got to help you grow your business, make it more successful or generally more FUN?
More than a piece of business advice, what it comes to mind is a sonnet my father used to say to me all the time. It is called Piú Avanti from Almafuerte (Pedro Bonifacio Palacios), and it is a poem about believing in yourself, not giving up, but staying true to your principles. My favorite verse sounds much better in Spanish, but it would be translated as follows: “trembling in terror, think you fearless”. I truly believe it is all in our minds and what we think we become. Therefore, always stay positive, believe in yourself, and have fun!

If you would teach a guest class. What would be your best advice for young fiber and textile artists be?
To stay creative and find their inner voice. And to trust themselves and have faith in themselves. And never forget to enjoy the whole process!

What makes you a KOEL Kid? What do you think sets your work apart from the rest?
I would love it to be the modern vision for the craft. I think my work has a very contemporary and fresh look, but it remains simple.

When I grew up, I wanted to be
… a mom

Favorite contemporary artist (in any medium)
… Frida Kahlo, Kara Walker, Andy Goldsworth… so many!

Current favorite podcast
… I love Peace Out ( we listen to it with my kids at night). Another great one is The Business of Fashion Podcast

Early riser or night owl?
… So I guess I’m an early Riser

Three essentials we can find in your bag
… gum, food and diapers

Must read
… any book from Florencia Bonelli

The future needs
… patience

Best local gem in my city
… MALBA museum

If I weren’t a fiber artist, you would most probably be
… an accountant

So are you in the mood for some knitting and playing games with the family? Try this wonderful Tic Tac Toe knitting pattern that Luciana created exclusively for KOEL Magazine.

Images by Max + Herb

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