Over the weekend BODO visited Amaranta Creative's exhibition of Colombian art and fashion which we heard about through the Ethical Fashion Forum. Amaranta is the only creative hub in the UK and Europe dedicated to promoting female artisans and designers.
When I heard that director Daniel Lopez Uran's mission is to preserve the authentic beauty of Columbian art and fashion alive, I was interested to see the craftsmanship involved.
Set at the Colombian Consulate, the exhibition displayed work from ten female artists and designers, who use traditional techniques such as organic dyeing, and ancestral weaving to produce unique hand crafted items with minimal impact on the environment. These pieces represent the true aesthetic of Latin America.
"We don't mass produce, we care about the details that contribute to the creation of timeless pieces. "
Daniel explained that his non profit business began with just one artist, but within just 7 months he's already taken on 9 more talents to work within his creative London based hub. He told me his aim is to produce unique one-off designs using an entirely transparent manufacturing system. All designs meet the Fair Trade standards and are produced sustainably.
The stunning hand woven bags immediately caught my attention, and knowing the story behind them just added to the intrigue. Designed with signature Colombian pom pom tassels, these brightly coloured intricately patterned bags are the production of a collaboration between the Hilo Sangrado ('Sacred Thread') Foundation and the Wayúu people of the Guajira Peninsula - a region subjected to very harsh climates and drug culture due to immigration brought on by its strategic location.
The initiative, which was founded last year by Italian sociologist Sabrina Prioli, ensures all artisans involved in the making of the bags are paid 20% of the sale price, with an additional 10% going towards educational support. These women work hard to keep the ancestral art of weaving and hand looming alive - a technique they learned during puberty and which is passed on through the generations. Out of the 17 bags, there was, however, a bag with a slightly different design used for camping, which was produced by a male artisan.
As I said goodbye, Daniel and his team were getting ready to begin a clay workshop, which I really wanted to get involved with - although I'm not sure I have the artisanal skills he's probably looking for! On display were a few examples of the talent and meticulous craftsmanship that these artisans are capable of.
You can shop Daniel's collection online All items are produced from natural fibres and materials are sourced sustainably.
Artwork by Veronica Arcila, depicting the intimacy and beauty of a woman's world. Her symbolic paintings are a vital part of Amaranta Creative, of which she is the inspiration.
Designs by Julianna Correa, for her label OnA. Inspired by romanticism and the landscape surrounding her hometown.
(Left-Right) Sketches of famous figures. Digital Artwork inspired by Colombian coffee.
Amaranta Creative's collective exhibition is on display until 5th July. You can also catch them at Parallax Art Fair on the 26th-27th July. For more information follow Daniel's blog.