During my time in the Serere Reserve in Bolivia I was lucky enough to take part in a jewellery workshop with the indigenous people that live there. I was shown how objects from the forest can be transformed into beautiful, wearable accessories that not only last a long time, but because they are sourced from the forest, are sustainable and don’t damage the environement.
To begin, Rigo our guide took us deep into the forest to forage for nuts and seeds to make our jewellery from.
There is no electricity here so it was great to learn how to make something without access to machinery. It was a very labour intensive process; there were no polishing wheels, instead we used dirt from the ground and cigarette ash to polish the rings to give that much desired mirror finish.
Despite taking a degree specialising in jewellery and silver smithery, the skills that these families had passed down from generation to generation were 10 times better than mine. They had not been schooled in the art or has access to any modern equipment, yet the craftsmanship and attention to detail and finish was neater than anything i’ve seen back home. Does this go to show that perhaps slow design is the way forward? Has our access to machinery and advanced tools blinded us?