Read in: French
For this project, I had this crazy idea to mix two countries expertise, going to one’s atelier to the other.
First, was Jorge. I met him in San Jeronimo, a tiny town in the heart of Peru. San Jeronimo is the high site for Peruvian jewelry art. Most of the towns businesses are jewel shops and jewel ateliers, real life dream. I visited Jorge’s shop one cheerful morning to explain my project to him. We got on well though and the next day, he was expecting me in his small atelier.
Jorge’s tools are essentially some pliers, an oven, a blowpipe and an engine to make metallic threads. To shape a bracelet, he uses the feet of his wooden chair. I spent a few days watching him work, amazed by his skills, to see how easy it was for him to transform silver nugget in to perfect bracelets.
Then Janeth, and her rare talent to work the wood. It was more difficult to find Janeth. We were corresponding very briefly by email just a few months before, then I tried sizzling phone calls but without success. I managed to talk to her only a couple of days before I arrived in Colombia. I had to yell each of my words in the phone handset of a Peruvian mountain telephone booth to make me understood.
Janeth welcomed me cheerfully, we visited the town and its surroundings, I discovered her atelier and I met her whole family. It’s in her tiny atelier, near Pasto, a border city between Columbia and Equator, that Janeth, works every day, on straw marquetry, a very ancient Columbian expertise, that she is one of the last to practice this art. Straw marquetry is the art of juxtapose, one by one, very thin straw strand, playing with tilts, sizes and colors.
For our project, I did a sketch with Janeth, of a basic pattern of line play on the bracelets and it was on. With her basket of straw for a weapon, her cutter and her wooden glue, she got busy in her little living room, imperturbable. She did it in a few days and the result was overturning. During the final step, we pulverized vegetal resin and it was done, two little wonders were born.