It all started out with a visit to Chiloé in 2003. Paula Quiroz was traveling around the island located in the south of Chile when she suddenly encountered the native creeper known as quilineja (Luzuriaga radicans). “It was love at first sight”, says the Chilean artist. So much so that when she saw the texture and color of this vine she thought of using it in her jewelry creations.
Her idea was quite original, because up till then, the quilineja fiber had only been used as a material for making street-cleaning brooms. Once she established herself on the island, she began to experiment with the fiber and combine it with different metals, such as silver. “Working the silver and quilineja together produced a warm and attractive result. I understood immediately that the metal brought out the fiber well. In order for it to stand out, the shapes needed to be simple”, she states.
At first she used the fiber without any great intervention, just as it was, but then she began weaving it and the results were increasingly satisfactory.
Making jewels with quilineja requires mastery. Not only does the process take time, but it is important to work with the fiber when it is humid and pliable. Paula Quiroz says she personally collects it in the woods.
Her design and particular innovation have also given her renown at a national level. She says that her main inspiration when making her jewels is to make Chile known. “My idea is always to show my country off, because I find Chile a beautiful land”, she states.
Her participation in the Crea competition of the state-owned institute Sercotec produced good reviews and Quiroz was selected to exhibit her work last year at the ED bazaar in the municipality of Vitacura in Santiago. Her jewels have also been shown in Chilean books on gold and silver work. The interest in her work has been significant and her jewels are not only to be found in Castro (the main city of Chiloé), but she has also started selling her pieces on the internet to respond to growing demand.
*Anyone who wishes to learn more about the particular technique Paula Quiroz uses can view her jewels on the internet or contact her by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or telephone (+56 9 9071 55 73).
This post is also available in Spanish