Semillas, Raices and Reconnecting: Colombia Edition

So the idea and spark for making jewelry started on a business trip to Mexico City. My organization was training women how to run a political campaign to become Municipal Presidents equivelent of Mayors of their community. There was a women in the audience wearing a necklace made of natural gemstones. The trainer we had brought in from Washington State loved her necklace and I became the interpreter among these two women on a shopping trip in el DF…

Since then when I travel, I love going to markets and finding items that are unique to that country, natural stones, seeds, beads, fabric or weaving techniques that I know I have not seen anywhere else. In my most recent trip to Colombia I reconnected with an Artisan women named Alexandra Ruiz. I met Alexa aproximately 5 years ago at Usaquen. She was selling beautiful jewelry made of natural seeds like cantalope seeds, açai, tagua and red beans called chocho seeds. Her work stood out among the others. Five years ago I purchased a few necklaces from her that I still have to this day. So when I went back to the market in this trip I was able to recognize her work right away. I was so excited that she was still doing her art. I commissed for her to make a collection of my favorite style necklace: short, chunky and colorful like me (lol)…

Alexa showed me how she made each necklace. She also told me how hard it is to support her and her son with her art. She said it is hard to handmake items because people don’t want to pay the value for them, they want everything cheap like what is made in China. She thanked me for supporting her art and work. I learned so much from Alexa and of the seeds and technique that she uses in her pieces. For example she strings the seeds and uses a cotton cord to weave in the ends and add a coconut button as a clasp that makes the necklace so easy to put on and take off. 

The weaving technique is called macrame and you see this same technique in the bottom part of rebozos and hammocks. I love this design so much and am so grateful to Alexa for collaborating with me in this collection that I can share with my customers.

I also learned that the seeds used especially açai, chocho seed and tagua are unique and only found in South America. This is what makes this collection so special to me. I’m building a brand that reminds us of our roots, of our seeds, semillas and how beautiful and unique our culture is, a brand that helps support the creativity that we artisans carry inside waiting to bloom and blossom.

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