We have been working with José and Anita, indigenous Otavalenos, since 2005, when Jack & Kyle met them in the Otavalo market. José first started making jewelry about 10 years ago with seeds from the jungle called cumbilla seeds. He began by selling them in the Otavalo market. Over the years, José learned to use other materials in his handicrafts by observing other artisans around him. He currently designs all his own jewelry using materials from the jungle such as tagua, coroso, acaí, taguilla, pambil and coconut. Anita and José are involved in every step of the jewelry-making process: they acquire the seeds and other materials in their natural form, cut them into the desired shape, dye and polish them, and finally drill holes to turn them into usable beads for their jewelry.
Two things stand out in José’s art: the polishing and unique finish of the seeds and tagua, as well as his exquisite use of coconut shell. He combines his materials in an artistic fashion that is truly unique.