December 6, 2012

See you in Paris! - Galerie Goutte De Terre + Hotel Boheme

I'm super excited to close this wonderful year in two events in Paris!
If you're around the city of lights this December don't miss the opportunity to indulge yourself with some jewelry and designer goodies.

Galerie Goutte de Terre
200 rings by 20 designers / Expo Sale #7
6-22 December 2012
13:00 -  19:00
46 rue Godefroy Cavaignac, PARIS

Hotel Boheme
This petit hotel will be hosting the work from independent designers coming from France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands and Sweden. You will find Jewelry, Fashion, Accessories, Decoration, Illustrations, and goodies for kids.
15th & 16th December 
12:00 - 20:00 FREE entrance
6, rue Beauregard, PARIS

See you there!

November 27, 2012

Giveaway Winner and my 30th birthday in Marrakech

First of all, I'm super excited to announce that the winner of an Infancia brass+silver pendant is... Entry #32: Erica Fkiaras from USA! Congratulations :) 
And thank you everybody for participating, and for your lovely comments!
I'll be back with more giveaways!

And second, let me tell you about my 30th birthday... It was amazing! My husband prepared a short trip to a surprise destination for celebrating my entrance to a new decade.
It was on the airplane when I discovered that we were heading to Marrakech!, a place that was high on my traveling wish list.

And the beautiful "red" city didn't disappoint me, we had a great time! We stayed close to the Djemaa el Fna square, a Unesco World Heritage Cultural Space - after a few moments in there you quickly understand why it was chosen.
During the morning snake enchanters, little cars selling hot bread, fresh fruits, fish, chicken, meat, herbs and spices - a massive chaos among the motorbikes, donkeys, horses, people walking, tourists trapped by avid sellers that in a tiny shop had it all (tea glasses, carpets, clothes, leather goods, jewelry, you name it!), men drinking mint tea,  women buying the freshest food, geometry, calligraphy, lots of colors... all topped by the Koutoubia mosque calling to pray 5 times a day.

Then at night women applying henna tattoos, reading hands and storytelling, ambulant food stands selling couscous, tajines, grilled food, sweet Moroccan almond delicacies, nuts, figs, and the hugest dates I've ever seen. And in the background of all this craziness, kids, men and women dancing and singing traditional music in the few free spots left in the square.

Besides Djemaa El Fna, we also visited some gardens, museums, palaces, and the contrasting modern side of the city. 
On my birthday we headed to the mountains, and visited some Berber towns, we were delighted to see how traditions, know how and love to their culture is passed generation through generation for hundreds of years like if time never went by.

I gifted myself a book from the Berber museum and three rings found while treasury hunting in the Marrakech souks!
Supposedly the first one is Berber, the second one is Beduin, and the third one is Tuareg.
I'm saying supposedly because even though I tried to look at them with a very keen eye, you never know! moroccan sellers... My gosh, I need an intensive marketing workshop with them, although I think is in their blood.

The Berber one reminds me of the jewelry style from the middle Atlas region, featuring geometric patters and niello silver.

The Beduin one, I suppose it was made from alpaca or "nickel silver", it has geometric engravings and three concentric circles made with incrustations of ebony wood.

And the third one: Tuareg... Every time I look at it I like to imagine that this beautiful deep blue lapis lazuli probably came from the Sar-i-Sang mines of Afghanistan and was sold to an errant jeweler of the Sahara, then worn by some tribe lady and finally ended up in my hands.

On the last day of our trip I was spoiled by my husband with a super relaxing afternoon at a hammam. My batteries fully charged after the last months of very intense and non stop work, which will continue that way while closing this year with two events in Paris.

What can I say? I feel immensely grateful with life, that has been so generous with me - I feel very blessed in many different ways, I hope that good things keep happening as years come by.
I hope you enjoyed the pictures, and I wish you lots of traveling too.
Have you been in Marrakech? What's your favorite memory?

October 24, 2012

UNDER THIS MOON - Personalized Lunar Phase Charms

I designed this series a few weeks ago, specially for being released the week I was the featured seller at Etsy, and I didn't have time to write about it in my blog until now because I've been  working non stop in my studio making these charms. I'm very happy with people's response, in over 200 hundred customized moons made I've been amazed on how a very tiny piece of metal can be converted into a piece of jewelry that is so personal and special: I've read the most romantic quotes from lovers, sweet memories from moms, daughters, sons, sisters, and friends, goals achieved, trips made, successes over hard times, and even some really funny and peculiar requests! The same moon, for thousands of years, watching so many stories...

Moon print / TheCuratorsPrint

I personally remember some moons in particular... Under a beautiful full moon in Amsterdam I walked over the frozen canals last February, under a waxing gibbous moon I visited Paris for the first time as a newly wed in 2008.
I wish I could have taken the moon with me, or at least have taken a nice picture, that's why I thought it would be nice to encapsulate those special moments in lunar phase charms!

The idea hit my mind in a New Moon late night, and I had to wait a few hours to have daylight and be able to be noisy in my studio and create the first moons for the photo shoot.

I craft the little moon charms in sterling silver, in two different layers (for light shadow), and I apply texture and an oxidizing patina to get a nice contrast between moon and sky.

With a burr, I engrave tiny details of moon craters (which depend on the place where you see the moon, northern or southern hemisphere).

Lastly I engrave, by hand, the date on its back.

I attach these charms to a delicate German natural silk cord (you can choose from black or red) for making bracelets and necklaces.
Alternatively, you can have it as a necklace with a delicate and smooth sterling silver curb chain.

Finally I thought about the packaging and I designed this sweet sleeve card, where you have a blank space below the "Under this moon" quote for making it personal as well as spaces for registering the date, place, and lunar phase of the tiny charm.

The card is decorated with stardust and star constellation sketches made by Galileo Galilei, these drawings have over 400 years!

And it goes inside a semi translucent Pergamum envelope closed with a moon sticker I made out of a Galileo sketch as well, a lovely personalized present for that special someone or yourself :)

Would you like to have your little customized moon of that special night to be remembered? 
Maybe a moon that you didn't see but that you wish you had seen, like the moon of your parents engagement, the birth day of your favorite writer?
Or perhaps you want to save the date for your upcoming wedding, birthday party, or another special event in a cool way by gifting the expected moon with the date engraved!

If you like the idea as much as I do run to my Etsy shop to find this tiny moon charms in necklaces and bracelets (by popular demand coming soon in rings as well!), as an introduction of the series I'm engraving the chosen date on the back of the charm for FREE for a few more days!

What's your special night to remember?!

September 24, 2012

ROSA INCA Collection - a love story in Silver and Rhodhocrosites

When living in Argentina a few years ago, I bought some rhodhocrosites, the national argentinian stone. It has a beautiful pink color, sometimes translucent, sometimes opaque with white bands.

Mientras viví en Argentina hace algunos años, compré unas rodocrositas, la piedra nacional argentina. Tiene un hermoso color rosado, algunas veces traslúcido y otras veces opaco con bandas blancas.

They waited for me in a little box for all this time, until I decided to make jewelry with them.
Me esperaron en una cajita todo este tiempo, hasta que decidí hacer joyas con ellas.

So, some weeks ago I started making some research about the rhodhocrosites and I stumbled upon an inca legend behind them. It's so beautiful and inspiring that I instantly felt I had to bring that love story to jewelry pieces.
Así que hace unas semanas empecé a investigar de las rodocrositas y me topé con una leyenda inca detrás de ellas. Me pareció tan hermosa e inspiradora que sentí que tenía que llevar esa historia de amor a piezas de joyería.

The inspiration: a legend that goes like this...

In the Inca imperium, close to the Lake Titicaca, there was an enclosure where the"Acllas" lived, a group of virgin priestess devoted to the Sun God "Inti".
En el imperio Inca, cerca del Lago Titicaca, había un recinto donde vivían las Acllas, un grupo de vírgenes sacerdotisas del dios del Sol "Inti".

One day, intrigued by that place, the warrior Tupaq Qanqi crossed the lake and climbed the walls of the monastery, where he discovered beautiful Nust'a Aclla. They both fell in love instantly.
Un día, intrigado por aquel lugar, el guerrero Tupaq Qanqi cruzó el lago y trepó las paredes para espiar, ahí descubrió a la hermosa Nust'a Aclla. Ambos se enamoraron al instante.

Inca, the son in the earth of God Inti, discovered this dare and forbid their love.
Inca, el hijo en la tierra del dios Inti, descubrió este amorío y lo prohibió.

Tupaq Qanqui and Nust'a Aclla decided to escape and guard their love and the son they were already expecting. They moved to the south, close to the Pipanaco Salt Flat (Catamarca, Argentina), where they cherished their love and had many children. Native people from the region believe that those were their ancestors.
Tupaq Qanqui y Nust'a Aclla decidieron escapar para salvar su amor y el hijo que ya estaban esperando. Escaparon al sur, cerca del Salar de Pipanaco (Catamarca, Argentina) donde disfrutaron de su amor y tuvieron muchos hijos. Los nativos de la región creen que ellos son sus antepasados.

But their happiness wouldn't last forever: the anger from Inca, and the curses he made on the couples' love, caused Nust'a Aclla to die very young. Her body was buried in the top of a hill.
Tupaq Qanqui died shortly after that because of the sadness caused by his loss.
Pero su felicidad no duraría para siempre, la ira de Inca, y los maleficios que hizo sobre el amor de la pareja causó que Nust'a Aclla muriera muy joven. Su cuerpo fue enterrado en la cima de un cerro.
Tupaq Qanqui murió al poco tiempo de tristeza.

Time passed by, and one day a messenger from Inca stumbled upon Nust'a Aclla grave while grazing "vicuñas" in the hills, and he noticed pink stones like blood petals between the rocks - a testimony of her eternal love.
El tiempo pasó, y un día un mensajero del Inca se topó con la tumba de Nust'a Aclla mientras pastoreaba vicuñas en el cerro, notó unas piedras rosas, como pétalos de sangre entre las rocas - testimonio de su amor eterno.

He took some stones and brought them to Inca, who was deeply touched by the love story, and finally forgave them. He took the precious gems and gifted them to the princess of the imperium, who wore them as a symbol of loyalty and true love.
Tomó algunas de estas piedras y las llevó al Inca, quien se conmovió profundamente por esta historia de amor y por fin los perdonó. Tomó las piedras y las regaló a las princesas del imperio, quienes las vistieron como símbolo de lealtad y amor verdadero.

When the missionaries arrived to Catamarca, they constructed small chapels over the grave of Nust'a Aclla, which gave the name to the current rhodocrosite mines situated on that place: Capillitas ("small chapels" in spanish).
Cuando los misioneros llegaron a Catamarca, construyeron pequeñas capillas sobre la tumba de Nust'a Aclla, por esta razón las minas de rodocrositas ubicadas en ese lugar se llaman Capillitas.

And there's people that still believe that when the night comes and the Sun meets the Moon, the silhouette of Tupaq Qanqui can be seen between the hills.
Y aún hay gente que cree que cuando cae la noche y el Sol se encuentra con la Luna, l silueta de Tupaq Qanqui puede verse entre los cerros.

The Process
A lot of alternatives came to the paper when sketching for this collection, but the idea that was fixed in my mind was the aim to reproduce the scene when the Inca messenger found the "blood petals" between the rocks at the top of the hill where Nust'a rested.
Muchas alternativas vinieron a mi cabeza al bocetar esta colección, pero la idea que tenía fija en mi cabeza era la intención de reproducir la escena cuando el mensajero Inca encuentra los "pétalos de sangre" entre las rocas en la cima del cerro donde Nust'a descansa.

For making these jewels I used the lost wax method, I carved the pieces attempting to represent hills and rocks.
Para hacer las joyas trabajé con el método de la cera perdida, esculpiendo piezas que intentaba asemejaran cerros y rocas.

When working with wax, I have my sketchs at hand, but many times the material guides me in a different way, which I find very amusing, I love to see how shapes emerge from a block of wax, as if they are already there, hidden.
Mientras trabajaba con la cera, tenía mis bocetos a la mano, pero hay veces en las que el material me guía de otra manera, lo cual me parece muy entretenido. Me encanta ver como las formas emergen del bloque de cera, como si ya estuvieran ahí, escondidas.

For setting the stones I applied salt crystals, they provide a rich texture; but most of all, the salt reminds of the happy days the couple lived close to the salt flats of Pipanaco.
Para engarzar las piedras apliqué cristales de sal que proveerían una textura interesante; pero más que nada porque la sal me recuerda los días felices que la pareja vivió cerca del salar del Pipanaco.

The pieces were casted in sterling silver.
Después las piezas fueron vaciadas en plata esterlina.

I love taking care of tiny details in the pieces, that's why in the base where the rhodhocrosites lay, I cut a "chacana" or "Andina" cross, which is a millenary symbol in many cultures around the Andes, including of course the Incas.
Me encanta tener en cuenta los pequeños detalles en las piezas, por eso en la base donde se apoyan las rodocrositas, corté una "chacana" o "cruz andina", que es un símbolo milenario para las culturas originarias de los Antes, incluidos por supuesto los Incas.

Finally I soldered loops and posts to the pendants and earrings, and applied black patina in some parts of the pieces for enhancing their rich texture and imitating the shades in rocks and hills.
Finalmente soldé postes y argollas en los dijes y aretes, y apliqué una pátina negra en algunas partes de la pieza para resaltar su textura e imitar los colores en las rocas y cerros.

Some of the pieces have layers of chains, that remind me of the waters from the Titicaca lake, close to where the couple first met.
Algunas de las piezas tienen capas de cadenas, lo cual me recuerda al Lago Titicaca, cerca donde la pareja se encontró por primera vez.

The Collection

Enough talking, I'll better just show you the pictures and let them speak by themselves, enjoy!
Bueno, dejaré de escribir y permitiré que las imágenes hablen por si mismas.




PIPANACO pendant

NUSTA pendant

TUPAQ pendant

PIRKA earrings

* * * * *

I'm very happy with the results, I enjoyed the whole process of finally putting my rhodhocrosites in jewelry. All the pieces are available now in my Etsy shop, each of them is one of a kind, I think that if I sell them I will have a mix of excitement and nostalgia for seeing them going to new hands... I really love them, I hope you do too!
Estoy muy contenta con los resultados. Disfruté de todo el proceso de finalmente poner mis rodocrositas en joyas. Todas las piezas están ahora disponibles en mi tienda en Etsy, todas son únicas, creo que si se venden sentiré una mezcla de emoción y nostalgia de verlas ir a nuevas manos... en verdad me encantan, espero que a ti tambien!

Inca legend text adapted from:
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