Tag Archives: Costa Rica

Emerge / D12

[More than] A few weeks ago I participated in a very cool event involving emerging fashion and jewelry designers, and it was appropriately named Emerge. (I’m making a habit of posting about things that have already passed, please excuse me, I’m so behind.) It took place at the Museo de arte y diseño contemporáneo in San José. The idea was to pair up one jewelry designer with a fashion designer and see what they could come up with, and present it in a full-on fashion show. I had the opportunity of working with fashion designer Marcelle Desanti. Our designs worked well together, and we had fun creating the looks and pairing our existing pieces with each other.

The results were so good, and the event itself was super fun, impeccably organized and full of people.

This was the flyer, featuring costarrican model Leonora Jiménez (isn’t she beautiful??):


Here’s a few images from backstage and the catwalk:


Above: models getting hair and makeup done; jewelry designer Fiorella Pattoni fitting her pieces on a model; catwalk lists on the wall.


Above: models backstage; catwalk photos by photographers Luis Eduarte and Fabio Chavarría.

The other designers that participated in the fashion show were:

Fabrizzio Berrocal & Amira Jalet / Maria Lourdes Castro & Melina Dada / Tripartito & Fiorella Pattoni / Carlos Villalobos & Julieta Odio.


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Filed under events, my jewelry

“Entra en el Teatro”- course with Carles Codina / part 1

At the beginning of this month I had the pleasure of attending a course with the renowned jeweler and teacher Carles Codina i Armengol. He came to Escuela Crisol last year, and I could not attend unfortunately, so I was very happy to be able to make it this year.
Carles and Jordi (my teacher) go way back, as they studied together at Escola Massana, one of the leading art and design schools in Europe. They are still good friends, and lucky for us in Costa Rica, they decided to collaborate and bring amazing courses across the Atlantic.

Last year the classes were mostly practical, and I hear they learned how to make mokume-gane, among other cool and complicated techniques.
This year the plan was different. The approach was focused on the conceptual part of jewelry design, geared specifically to the design of a piece of jewelry to be sold at the gift shop in the Costa Rican National Theater. We were to design a piece inspired by the theater itself, to serve as a souvenir to whichever target group we were to choose (habitual opera fans and theater buffs, or in-and-out-in-five-minutes tourists), and in turn choose a price point to correspond with the spending habits of each group. The piece had to include packaging, so it could be displayed in it, and be packed quickly upon purchase, and hopefully, the packaging would be appealing and special enough to draw the consumer in and add value to the piece itself. It was a tall order for a class that would last less than 10 days- but we did it!

To begin the whole thing we all visited the Teatro Nacional to take pictures. I have to confess that I hadn’t been there in years (probably since elementary school). This theater is considered one of Costa Rica’s architectural jewels, and it was built in the 1890s with money earned by the country through a tax imposed on coffee export (one of CR’s major industries still to this day). The style of the theater is very interesting, as it mixes European influence with images of Costa Rican agricultural images- more specifically, the Alegoría del café y el banano (Allegory of coffee and banana), by artist Aleardo Villa.

Here are some images from our visit:

floor pattern and the group looking up / mirror detail / numbered seats

the Allegory of coffee and banana: image on our ¢5 bill / lady picking coffee

elaborate doorknob / ceiling light fixture

foyer / wall detail in the foyer, 1890

floor pattern made with national precious woods / cool floor tile / big lamp in the theater

Though I didn’t get any pictures of the outside, it’s very beautiful as well, so google it :). Until the next installment.

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Filed under always learning, where props are due

Artist studio visit 1: Daniel Icaza

I met Dani a few years ago when we were both starting out in jewelry making classes in Escuela Crisol. His skill and meticulous nature were obvious from the very beginning. After a little while he went off to college and returned recently with this wonderful wealth of knowledge and body of work that you’ll read about below. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as I have. It’s been a treat to get some insight into his work and his way of thinking.



How long have you been doing what you do and how did you get into it?
I have always enjoyed painting and drawing since I was a child. I began learning how to work with metal in 2005 at the age of 19 and I have not stopped since. My discovery of metal was a serious effort. I knew that I wanted to study art after high school, but I was not sure what type of art I wanted to study at the University level. As a result I studied at many artistic craft schools and learned about various techniques and materials, such as glass, wood, metal and photography. After learning the basics around these techniques and materials, I discovered there was one material that captivated me above the others, and that was metal.

What is ‘Monetary Bondage’?
Monetary Bondage is an art series that I created during my University studies. It became the thesis project for my undergraduate degree and has subsequently become the focus of my artistic metal work. This series has enabled me to win several scholarships, grants, exhibitions and has received much attention and critical acclaim.

The central theme of this series of art works is rooted in the concept of value. I like to take an object that people can easily associate with a specific value and then alter the object to distort its value. What better object to use than money, as people easily associate it with a specific value. By altering the aesthetic of the object but not giving it any additional function, the altered object provokes a reaction within each viewer as they must now interact with a very common object in a very different way.

Within this series I integrate a wide range of metalsmithing techniques and materials and I am continually looking for new materials and techniques to integrate into new pieces. I would dare describe the art work in this series as mixed media with metals. The techniques I have integrated so far include enameling, filigree, forging, stone setting, cold connections, Keum-Boo, etching, Mokume-Gane and marriage of metals.

The Biennale
In the summer of 2011 I had the privilege and honor of being selected to participate in the Biennale di Chianciano Terme in Italy. This was my first large international exhibition and I was honored to receive the “Leonardo Prize for Applied Arts: Second Place” for my participation with work from my Monetary Bondage series. Participation and acknowledgement in events such as these continue to motivate and encourage me to expand and develop this artistic series.

Tell us a bit about your workspace
My studio is my home and my home is my studio. Although I try to separate my work spaces, I always tend to create an artistic chaos wherever I go. I have areas of my home dedicated to specific types of work, however my projects tend to migrate around the house during their various stages of completion. Paintings and drawings find their way into the living room and bedroom partially finished and work happens whenever and wherever the inspiration strikes. Parts of rings and other metal projects are centralized in the metals studio, but inevitably end up in the kitchen, photo studio, painting studio, bathroom and bedroom. This happens because I tend to take my projects along with me around the house. I like to hold them and analyze them to figure out how and what they might turn into. Many times projects end up on my night stand as I think about them right up until I go to sleep.

Favorite tool(s) / materials?
A rather tricky question to answer, there are so many great tools out there that do amazing things but, in the end we could not use any of them without our hands so, in a strange way I guess my hands are my favorite tools. In a less abstract perspective I would say the rolling mill is probably my favorite tool, I love watching material transform into a new form; and few tools make such a dramatic transformation as a rolling mill can.
My favorite materials would be metals. It might be a little to difficult to pick one specific metal as a favorite because different metals have different properties and they need to work with each other like an orchestra to create a symphony.

What is your favorite process or technique?
Although there are a plethora of fascinating metal working techniques, the process/ technique of forging metal is absolutely captivating. To see a chunk of metal transform into a new shape like a lump of clay is completely mesmerizing and never ceases to amaze me.

What has been the craziest / most exciting / eccentric piece you have made so far (custom or otherwise)?
Difficult to pin point, I have made some strange things over the years. Although I do suppose that the strangest art work that I have made would probably be the “”Monetary Bondage” series. It is nothing new to integrate coins and other valuable items into jewellery and other objects. However in my approach I purposefully leave the piece of “money” as a non-functional object. Just like the original piece of money there are few things the resulting art work can literally be used for in a functional way. I do this intentionally to focus on the conceptual function of “money”. These artistic objects usually catch people by surprise as they can be very odd and confusing, usually always generating some sort of response from the viewer.

What do you love / enjoy most about your line of work?
I would say that the most enjoyable aspect of my profession would be the freedom to express myself, although that freedom does come with other consequences and compromises.

Do you have a favorite from all the pieces you’ve made?
It becomes increasingly difficult to pick favorites as I think of my creations as my children. The pieces that I am most fond of are usually my more conceptual and interactive creations. One particular piece that comes to mind is a work titled “Slave to Vanity” (pictured below). This is a large silver necklace taking shape in the form of a ball and chain with shackle and functional lock. This piece plays with the idea of pain/discomfort for beauty. The necklace itself has a particularly intriguing aesthetic which is alluring to people even though the ball and chain itself is a dark object with sinister connotations. On another level the necklace is constructed out of silver which communicates a certain level of wealth, dignity and affluence. Yet the silver is fashioned into a form that represents slavery and oppression. In short, this art work presents a paradox and represents the potential to become a slave to beauty and possession. Perhaps a dark piece to choose as a favorite, but this piece captivates my interest due to the obvious permeation of this concept within today’s society.

If you had a very capable intern working for you, what kind of activities would you like to delegate, and why?
A very interesting yet difficult question to consider as it touches on many aspects of artistic integrity that I continually contemplate. Historically it is not uncommon for “Master Artists” to have workshops with many apprentices that help the masters produce their work. Unfortunately, I take great pride in doing as much of the necessary work myself and try to resist the temptation to buy pre-manufactured materials, such as wire. I would therefore find it very difficult to justify having an apprentice or intern do any of my work for me. I believe in giving credit where credit is due, and I would not feel comfortable taking full credit for something I did not completely make myself. I do however enjoy working collaboratively and would have no problem working with others as long as every one gets the proper credit and compensation for their contribution. If I did have some sort of assistant the area in which I would most need it would probably be in the area of promotion and publicity. I have no problem producing work and ideas but getting them out into the public is not quite my strong point… But I am learning and trying.

What is a recurring theme you like to explore in your work?
There are a few things that appear fairly consistently throughout my work. Visually, I tend to use a lot of circles, lines and spirals. Conceptually, I tend to focus around values and the subjectivity of perception. I like to work through representation and symbolism so I tend to adapt the visual aspects of my work into a conceptual metaphor.

Do you have any horror stories (client related, accidents, etc) you’d like to share with us?
Fortunately I don’t have too many horror stories. The most dramatic incidents that have happened to me are a few minor accidents and breaking a few tools from time to time. I once had a tube I was constructing seal shut and blow up on me like a small fire cracker, and I now have the tip of a high speed ball burr permanently lodged into my right elbow. No permanent damage although my elbow does ache a bit if I am doing a lot of heavy work.


b l o g  |  w e b  p a g e e t s y  |  z a z z l e  |  b e h a n c e  |  f l i c k r


Make sure you visit Daniel’s webpage and other links to see the rest of his work, it’s worth the click, I promise.

And thank you Daniel for sharing.

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Some photos from holy week

This past week in Costa Rica was a holiday. I went to this wonderful place with my family to relax, work a little, collect some rocks and see what edible wild things I could find (of the plant variety). The view from the house is breathtaking, right?! And the view from my room was pretty great as well (you can see my stuff spilled everywhere on the desk). The weather was warm and sunny, which is amazing, considering it rains all year round there in Orosi. Some friends came to spend the day and we ventured out on some off roading adventure and even got our swimsuits on and braved the ice cold water in the river (dunked our heads in and all!).

My cousin was really cool and she lent me her nice camera so I could take some new photos of my work, so here you go. Enjoy!

It’s nice when pictures are taken with a real camera instead of a phone right?


Filed under life, my jewelry

Web page- in process

I’ve been tweaking my Cargo Collective page so that it’ll eventually be my main site. So far so good, I think. I need to read a little about CSS since most of what I’ve done so far involved a lot of google searches, trial and error,  and luck.  One of these days I might get all fancy and use my own domain.

I really love my new logo <3, it looks so pretty with the jewelry pictures!

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I’m a little late announcing this, but some friends and I are  participating in a jewelry show in Liberia, Costa Rica. The show started this past weekend, and word on the street is that it all looked really great!  The name of the expo is “Como para comérselas” (“Good enough to eat”), so all the pieces are food-oriented, fun right?!

Below is the piece I sent, and you can see pictures from the actual show here on Elha’s FB page.  If you’re in Guanacaste make sure to swing by, you’ll really enjoy it!

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Day 15- goodbye August

August Break 2011- So this is it! August is gone. It was a great month, lots of things going on, lots of work, play and everything in between.

I leave you with this process shot from the studio: a ring I made a while back and really like, and one I haven’t finished yet (using my sister’s glass cabs).

I think I’ll keep this style of posting in the days and weeks to come, it was a great great posting exercise, and it showed me how many images I have stored in my hard drive waiting to be seen by somebody.

On to September, bring it on!

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Filed under life, process