In GSM10 we looked at a very different use for paper – washable paper! It is a story of family, a cottage industry and sustainability. How a unique washable paper, that feels like leather but washes like fabric, rejuvenated a village.
“On a small Tuscan terrace eating under an umbrella of grapevines I discovered the ‘Le Sorelle’ bread bag. Today we know it as UASHMAMA”, explains Casey Languillon, co-founder of UASHMAMA Australia.
Le Sorelle (italian for the sisters) is a small family run company based in Montecatini, Italy. It all came about when four sisters embarked on a journey to pay tribute to their mother, Emanuela ‘Manu’ Marconi. Hence the name Uash (wash) Mama ( mother).
Inspired by natural fibres and honest hands that make them, they wanted to create a product which offered traditional methods through modern design. Something that did not cost the earth. They also wanted to help their village. In the past, Montecatini was a popular tourist destination but with a drop in visitor numbers it was struggling. Uashmama employs a large group of locals to sew from home. And so, with the growth of UASHMAMA, the village now thrives again. . The paper bags you buy today are a true cottage industry.
UASHMAMA washable paper looks and feels like leather. Using sustainable virgin fibre, it is manufactured in the same process as leather. First, they stretch and tan the paper. During the tanning process they use mimosa vegetable extract. At no stage do they use chrome tanning. They then use vegetable dye to colour the fibre. Thus, the whole process is eco-friendly. The result is a soft yet resilient fabric that looks like leather but washes with ease. Resilient and versatile, it holds its form so you can use it over and over again. Perfect for a multitude of uses, especially catering and homewares. It’s what we call sustainability through and through.
Today the Marconi family and Casey Languillon work together in Australia. They combine beauty, functionality, tradition and design to provide us with stylish, practical, safe and eco-friendly products.