Extremerinas is a project started in 2014 in collaboration with Concha Salguero, project coordinator with the Asociación Trashumancia y Naturaleza.

From our shared passion of working with the superb wool from the flocks of Merino sheep found in the dehesa, the extensive pasture areas of Extremadura. Joining us in this project, the sheep breeder Cabello-Bravo (Siruela, Extremadura) made available the first batch of wool.

I decided to create a high quality interior design product, functional and aesthetic, sofa blankets, with the unique ‘Jacquard’ weaving technique, which allows for a double-sided design, experimenting with the natural colours of the wool, the natural white from the white Merino, and the dark brown of the rare and endangered black Merino.

White wool

The white wool of all the products  comes from the herd managed by Asociación Trashumancia y Naturaleza as part of their support for transhumance as a key element in the fight against climate change and the survival of natural habitats and species, including the human. We have also confirmed that, as has always been claimed/known, transhumant wool is of a particularly high quality with special characteristics. It is a unique material.

Black wool

The black wool used for blankets and garments comes entirely from black merino sheep, a breed that is currently in danger of extinction, bred in the Extremaduran Pastureland by the Cabello-Bravo family in the village of Siruela, Extremadura.

Merino wool blanket

The manufacture of the blankets, from the washing of the wool to the finished product, takes place in Spain, combining the traditional methods of washing and fulling with the modern technique of a digital Jacquard loom, essential criterias for me. 

Based on the experience gained in the production of blankets, I have developed more wool products and incorporated them into the Extremerinas collection, with the premise of “always pulling the same thread” that unifies the style of the entire range of its products.

The Merino wool has unique qualities: it is thermoregulating, insulating, repels water; it is soft, durable, natural, light-weight, breathable; and it is suitable for babies and people who are allergic to chemical substances. It is a 100% sustainable and biodegradable material, and it is found in abundance in Spain. The raw material is locally produced and avoids the need to import raw materials from distant countries, saving many tonnes of polluting emissions and supporting the local rural economy.

Merino sheep from Extremadura

The flocks of Merino sheep of Extremadura are raised in their natural environment, the open countryside, grazing freely in ideal conditions for animal welfare, providing benefits for the health of the flock and the ecosystems.

This extensive and sustainable grazing helps to combat climate change: it helps the soil to absorb and store carbon, prevents fires, maintains a healthy soil structure, combats erosion, improves the water cycle and reduces the consumption of industrial feeds that are the cause of many greenhouse gas emissions. It is thus a tool of ‘ancestral cutting edge technology’ and the migrating sheep are spreaders of biodiversity through genetic dispersion: each one can transport in its wool, hooves and droppings an average of some 4500 seeds a day! The flocks, as well as encouraging unique landscapes of exceptional beauty, create the habitats where endangered species live, and without grazing, these habitats and species would disappear.

In this way, through their everyday activity, these sheep maintain ecosystems of High Natural Value recognized and protected by the European Natura 2000 Network, which conserves unique species and habitats on our planet.
Together with nature, the grazing has shaped an age-old culture of folklore, popular architecture, gastronomy and history. These sheep are the descendants of those transhumant flocks which in the Middle Ages made Spain the leading power in the world for wool, and Extremadura a strategic enclave for the action of the powerful ‘Mesta’, the first national guild in the history of Spain. 

 

To Madrid

In a hugely popular annual festival, the Merino sheep managed by Asociación Trashumancia y Naturaleza, cross the centre of Madrid every year on their transhumant journey through Spain, highlighting the enormous value of the extensively managed flocks of this breed and their role in conserving our natural and human wealth.

It is necessary to create a new model of agricultural and livestock production, that guarantees healthy food and ecosystems, and revitalizes rural economies, based on sustainable systems that care for both people and the planet and ensure the well-being of future generations.

 

And in this new scenario, the Extremaduran and transhumant sheep are at the forefront of this rural success story.

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