Two materials representing two artistic traditions are combined to create these unique masterpieces.
The gourd inserts are created in the workshop of Eulogio Medina, based in Huancayo. The intricate design is hand drawn onto the surface of the gourd and then etched using a small knife.
The next step is to take a natural ink that is created by mixing tallow with ash made from burning a grass that is indigenous to the region. This mixture sticks into the crevices where the gourd has been carved.
So, when the excess is washed from the gourd’s surface, the remaining ink highlights the carved design. The gourd is then dried and rinsed again for a total of three times before it is considered finished.
These pieces are then handed over to the Lima-based workshop of Jose Pariona. Using skills handed down to him through several generations of jewelry artisans, Jose crafts sterling silver settings to highlight the beauty of the carved gourd.
Jose and Rachel
The story also involves an interesting twist, as Jose’s wife Rachel is the daughter of Eulogio, and has provided the link needed to open the possibilities for combining the families’ two different artistic traditions. She and Jose had both moved to Lima to continue their schooling, and met by chance when they happened to be delivering products to an exporter at the same time.
They struck up a conversation, surprised to hear that they shared a hometown in common. After a long friendship, they decided to marry, and Jose started his own workshop soon thereafter. It was with the encouragement of Manos Amigas that they first decided to create products using the two distinct materials. Ten Thousand Villages’ necklace and earrings are two beautiful results of the collaboration.