Narradores …a story of creative collaboration
THE STORY OF HOW NARRADORES BEGAN BY AILEEN BRINDLE
For many years I have worked with craft communities and businesses all around the world as a designer, buyer, trainer and a mentor. Narradores is my own creative venture, combining story telling and design in a hand-made fair trade collectible jewellery collection.
The story of narradores began several years ago when I made a journey to Peru as part of a market development consultancy assignment. I also had the fortunate opportunity to visit ancient sites such as Huaca Pucllana and the fascinating Larco museum in Lima from where I drew much of the inspiration for the narradores collection. During this visit I spent time with my long established contact Allpa. They have been pioneers in the fair-trade sector in Peru supporting artisans countrywide to develop sustainable livelihoods through marketing their traditional crafts.
THE STORY OF TRADITIONAL CRAFTSMANSHIP
AND TIMELESS DESIGN
Whist in Lima I visited craftsmen working with Allpa, including Elias Escalante and learned of his declining sales largely due to the rising silver prices limiting his ability to reach new customers. The artisan’s workshop was basic, but his crafts skills with simple tools were amazing.
I began to think about how I could develop new ideas for a jewellery collection which would combine tradition and authenticity with timeless design.
THE STORY OF CREATIVE COLLABORATION
Inspired by my visit, the ancient artefacts that I had seen, the stories that I had heard, the need of silver jewellery artisans to expand their market, and encouraged by the trend for the appreciation of the handmade, I set about designing a collection of collectible silver beads, where every piece tells a story. This was how the story of narradores began.
This debut narradores collection has been created in collaboration with Allpa and Elias Escalante.
Craft Skills of The Moche
During my visit to the the fabulous Larco museum, I was fascinated by the ceramics, jewellery and textiles of the Moche, a civilization which flourished on the north coastal regions of Peru between AD 100 and AD 800. ‘The Moche left a vivid artistic record of their beliefs and activities in beautifully sculpted and painted ceramic vessels, colorful wall murals, sumptuous textiles, and superbly crafted objects of gold, silver, and copper’ (c. donnan).
Well known for their incredible crafts skills the Moche were also known for their political and religious structures and their innovative agricultural and irrigation techniques. Much of this knowledge has come from the narrative artistry painted on their ceramics. These images often depicted religious and war ceremonies and have led to a better understanding of the key figures, roles and iconography in Moche culture.
To form the shapes of their weapons, the Moche craftspeople used inspiration from their daily lives and from their religious belief systems. They fashioned their stone mace heads in the shapes of fruit, cacti and flowers, as well creating warriors, priests, goddesses and owl icons in cast metal and clay. These shapes have inspired the silver forms of the first narradores collection.
Beads Inspired by Mace Heads
What always fascinates me when we look at weapons of the past or of different cultures, is although often brutal by nature, they also demonstrate beautiful and intricate decoration. A collection of mace heads that I saw at the Larco museum inspired many of the shapes of the beads, taking their organic form from stars, flowers, cacti, owls, all symbols that were often used in the Moche culture.
Although the Moche were such creative craftspeople, particularly well known for their famous ‘Sex Pots’ they were also farmers, architects, and appreciated the beauty of nature, art, ceremony and adornment.
They also strongly believed in duality, the opposites of day and night, silver and gold, the moon and sun. Continuing the theme of duality I have focused on the positive aspects of the Moche culture combining inspiration from the ancient cultural figures, the protective symbolism of their weapons and the references to nature which they made, bringing them into modern day life through stories and symbols to form signature jewellery designed to adorn, protect, covet and collect.