Project Filigree

Innovarte is a consultancy specialising in Design and Marketing of handicrafts. By collaborating with NGOs, small handicraft companies and associations, it provides artisans with technical assistance and training alongwith finding them viable markets within which to sell their art. Based in Madrid, Spain, Innovarte undertakes projects in South and Central America, the Caribbean, North of Africa and, now, it is beginning in India.

INNOVARTE: Project Filigree
Catacaos, Peru, 2003

In our August update we featured Innovarte’s Cane Project in Guatemala. In this update we bring you another exquisite project conducted by them on filigree art in Peru which took place in 2003.

The Peruvian silversmith’s craft, famous all over the world, has in filigree one of the best exponents of its art. This technique, whose origins date back to ancient Asia, was imported to America by silversmith colonizers. In Peru, important crafts companies were created in the villages of Huamanga, Ayacucho, San Jerónimo de Tunán and Huancayo, reaching the Northcoast, in Catacaos. Catacaos is considered the most traditional crafts place of its region. The industry of “paja toquilla” hats (more commonly referred to as Panama hats), pottery and leather are, with silversmith-ing, some examples of Peruvian crafts.

The project was aimed at a group of craftspersons who are facing economic hardship due to their isolation from the international market and lack of knowledge of contemporary trends and styles. Their techniques, objects and function have remained unchanged for centuries. The challenge was to modernize a languishing craft while maintaining the traditions and meanings.

From the start, the project aims were to find the best development opportunities for craftspersons from the region. The program included Training, Design, Technological Innovation and Promotion, which was carried out and organized by Innovarte through a five step process:

  1. Diagnosis: First, research on existing materials in the region was undertaken and experiments conducted in combining silver with other indigenous metals in order to optimize quantity and quality of the product.

  1. Market and trends research: In Madrid, extensive study was carried out and its conclusions allowed the Design Director to establish the guidelines of the new designs.

  1. Training courses for crafts persons: During training days, Fabio Villalba, recognized Colombian jeweler employed by INNOVARTE, taught master classes as well as some practical workshops at the premises offered by local company of jewelers to educate crafts persons of contemporary techniques and styles so they may have a greater understanding of the contemporary market.

  1. Training techniques used: A highly participative methodology was used, based on classic techniques on creativity stimulation, morphological and functional analysis, brainstorming, and team work.

  2. Contents: During the training, basic concepts of design were taught in order to develop and obtain silver jewelry prototypes, paying especial attention to the filigree technique. Local features and cultural aspects were always taken into account in order to be preserved.

For the new collections, the following aspects were taken into account:
  • Difference between contemporary and traditional design and ethnic jewelry

  • Analysis of the market present and future projections.

  • Analysis of materials and formal patterns in filigree. This was an activity of high participation including the resurrection of two materials which have fallen to disuse.

  • Twelve collections were created and developed, all of them based on market trends. In order to do so, INNOVARTE staff had to make a precise diagnosis of skills and possibilities of each of the participating group.

The resulting products of this project were exhibited at the Perú EXPORT 2003 fair, with an extraordinary commercial success. The event, organized by PROMPEX, the Peruvian Government Exporting Entity included commercial tours, invitations to international exporters and opening the fair to locals and general public for retail sale.

Innovarte has two different approaches, formal and informal, when undertaking design interaction with crafts persons.

The artisans INNOVARTE carries out projects for, can be gathered in two sectors:

The aims INNOVARTE has for each sector are:

For further information please contact:
Glorieta de Bilbao
C/Sagasta, 1-1 C 28004 Madrid
Phone: 0034 91 448 56 04
Email: innovarte@innovarte.net
Web: www.innovarte.net

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