How did you get started (please share your history here)?
I was left fatherless when I was 8 years old during the violent period that shook my country (Peru). I am the third of 9 siblings and all of us as children, had to work to help our family during those hard times. I have always liked working with my hands – when I was younger I worked on a loom weaving tapestries “tapices” – an art very typical in my home town of Ayacucho. Later, I worked at a printing press as a typographer and excelled at this job because I was good and fast with my hands. I also spent some time working as a traditional folk singer and as a radio commentator. Finally, a significant portion of my life I worked as carpenter, running a small business designing and manufacturing furniture. I really consider myself an artist since birth.
10 years ago, I decided to make another dream of mine come true – to get a college degree in Veterinary Medicine since I also love working with animals. I was the first of my siblings to go to college and had to figure out how to support myself while I was in school. I as ended up learning wirework and macramé jewelry, making and selling my art on the street, as many artisans do in South America. It was a job that allowed me to be flexible while I was in school, something that I could do in the evenings and in between classes. Much of my art was self-taught, learned by trying and failing and trying again. I also had some friends that were jewelers and we shared ideas and helped each other out. I started by imitating jewelry I’d seen my sisters wearing and I gave my first few pieces as gifts to friends and family.
What makes your current collection unique (describe what you are working on)?
Right now I am focusing on fusing of pre-Inca and Inca influences with modern style. In actuality, it is fusion of two styles (modern and ancient), both in terms of physical design and spiritual significance of each stone and symbol. I am working to understand the properties of stones and how they can help people, and incorporate that into beautiful modern and wearable pieces of art.
What inspires you when you are working on something new?
Whenever I make jewelry, I first imagine how the piece will look when it is finished and then how it will look neck or arm of a woman wearing it. In general, I am inspired by the physical and spiritual beauty of women, and her connection with nature and the universe. In each piece of jewelry that I make, utilize different Pre-Incan and Incan iconographic symbols from my culture fused with the modern world.
Where do you see the fashion industry going in Denver?
Denver is an up and coming fashion city, with a wonderful cross section between love for home grown local business with exotic international influences More and more, people are dressing bold and finding the wow factor with bright colors, unique cuts and a mix of styles from various cultural influences.
How are you contributing to the fashion scene in Denver?
Wari Designs is uniquely poised as a business that is both local and international – we bring that bold, exotic style but we make it right here at home. I also think Denver can resonate with our commitment to using stones and natural materials, because Coloradoans are really connected to nature, the mountains and care about the relationship between the physical things that they buy and their connection to their community and environment.
What are you current goals?
Since we are new to Denver, our goal is to grow here as much as possible, but ultimately, we’d love to grow beyond Colorado. We are also working with other artists in Peru to produce fair trade accessories such as purses and belts, and more jewelry. There are so many talented artists in Peru that don’t have anywhere to sell their products and we really want our business to be a positive source of income for my home community. I’d also love to see one of my necklaces on the neck of a movie star 🙂