Who here knows the traditional Alentejo blankets?
Made in Alentejo, in Reguengos de Monsaraz, and handcrafted on hand looms, these blankets managed to survive the modernization and globalization we witness every day.
Thanks to the persistence of Mizette Nielsen who has managed the Wool Factory for about 40 years, this traditional blanket has not disappeared and even saw its internationalization.
Until the mid-80s sales were doing well, and blankets were present all over the world, however in 1986 with the entry of Portugal into the EEC, sales plummeted and were quite complicated times as there were no more orders.
Given this problem, with the lack of orders Mizette Nielson decided that this product was too important historically and culturally and has not let it go away. Therefore, she saw in the rugs the opportunity to give continuity of the project. Over time, fabrics were added to rugs to cover puffs, make curtains, appliqués for footwear (such as the Portuguese brand Buenos Aires).
Also at this time, the legislation that applies to financed rural tourism forced them to have local products, and it is in this context that they begin to receive many requests for orders. Today the Hotel L'and Vineyards has a hundred woven rugs made at the factory, as well as Herdade do Esporão.
This new rebirth of this iconic product aroused the curiosity of international stylists, namely Kenzo Takada. The Japanese stylist came to Reguengos to visit the factory and it was at this time that the international orders helped to revive this ancient art.
Did you know that these blankets were used in the past by shepherds in Alentejo to shelter during the winter while walked with the herds? Until the 70's the blankets were kept in oil tanks from the previous year and dried in the sun to become waterproof, and in this way protect the shepherds not only from the cold but also from the rain.
Nowadays we can find these blankets and the other products that derived from them for sale at Fábrica de Lanificios or in stores that sell traditional Portuguese products.
Here is the link to the factory that you can consult for more information:
alentejo, portugal, traditions, blankets, colorfull, design