Award winning jewelry made of paper

Textile jewelry design is gaining popularity worldwide, and there are LatinAmerican artists who take it to levels beyond our wildest imagination. Take Luis Acosta, for example: WOW!

Luis Acosta: bracelet

Luis Acosta is originally from Córdoba, Argentina and lives in Holland. He studied weaving techniques at the Textile Department of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, where he graduated in 1988, but later committed his weft designs to paper. He made his first necklace in 1996 and, although it looked quite different from his present designs, it too, used the base of a relatively simple basic shape as starting point.

What he likes best about working with paper, is the infinite possibilities of combining colors and the different ways of working with paper sheets or paper threads. 

When asked where he gets his inspiration, he answers:

Luis Acosta: brooch

—”From simple forms I see daily everywhere. I develop a technique, draw a shape, and repeat, cut, and sew it.”

Luis Acosta: necklace

He has participated in group and individual exhibitions in most European countries, Argentina, USA, Japan and South Korea. There are works by Luis Acosta at the Museum of Arts and Design (New York, USA), Costume Museum (Buenos Aires, RA), Centre for the Arts Utrecht, The Textile Museum in Tilburg and in private collections in Argentina, Finland, India, Norway, Spain, Venezuela, USA and Netherlands.

Necklace by Luis Acosta

Luis is part of the circle of members of the LAKMA, Latin American Art Museum of Netherlands. We first met as affiliates to an association we both joined in 2008. At that time, he was volunteering a lot of time to see the Latin American LAKMA wing become a reality.
He teaches courses in textile design and designing women’s accessories in Argentina, USA, Spain and the Netherlands.
Also designs, weaves and creates three-dimensional textile works and installations in (handmade) paper; tapestries and fabrics;  women’s accessories in various materials, and paper jewelry.

Luis is one of the semifinalist recipients of Contemporary Art and Craft Awards in Barcelona. Finalists will be announced during the ArtFad award giving ceremony on July 5, 2011. These awards are part of FadFest—an event organized by FAD (Fostering Arts & Design organization). See more at

Luis Acosta: necklace

Contact the artist:

—Silvia Piza-Tandlich, translation


Good-luck witches in Santiago, Chile

Award winning brooch by Alba Sepulveda

The Spanish conquista brought its religion to South America, and with the Inquisition a huge witchcraft lore began in Chile—from love-related persecution of famous women such as Francisca de Escobedo, Juana de Soto, Maria de Encío, and Juana de Castañeda all the way to two centuries of the Enchantment War, when Indigenous Mapuches were persecuted due to their costumes and tattoos.

During a trip to South America two years ago, I became aware of little witches hanging in vehicles and bicycles as good-luck charms in Santiago, Chile. This generalized belief has opened up a big market for textile figurines in every material imaginable.

A few weeks ago during an international crafts fair in “the witch’s town of Santa Ana”—west of the capital city of San José, Costa Rica—I met a Chilean finger weaver who works with crin (horse hair), and invited her and her son to spend a day at my place. This encounter was hard to accomplish due to tight schedules and travel distances, but it was very inspiring for me (I still work 100% by hand).

Of all the Chilean weavers working with horse hair, I was lucky to meet one whose work is exquisite, and whose original design has been internationally recognized.

Her name is Alba Sepúlveda. At age 7 she learned this ancient trade from her mother, Ms. Enriqueta Ramos, who wove the roots of the poplar tree. Many years later, the poplars became extinct in the area, forcing weavers to experiment with horse hair.

Alba Sepúlveda, horse hair dyed with aniline and agave ixtle

Nowadays Alba teaches 50 other women to weave, and the crin trade continues to grow: Finger weavers, who must have good sight and be able to spend hours working by a lightbulb. They harvest only the hair of breeds whose hair absorbs dye well, in a process that takes several days.

Alba Sepulveda, "Atom" brooch, Unesco Award

In 2008 Alba received the 2008 UNESCO Seal of Excellence for Handcraft Products award for the brooches shown here.

Alba Sepulveda's award winning "Black&White" brooch

Needless to say I am the proud owner of a little witch made by Alba, which is absolutely beautiful. It measures 4″ in length by 1.5″ in width, and it has tiny details delicately crafted with crin…wonderful! Unfortunately, my knowledge of finger weaving and knotting is very limited, and there’s no way I could remember all the explanations Alba gave me about this long process.

Alba Sepulveda, horse hair witch and necklace

Alba Sepulveda, Flowers

Alba lives in Santiago, Chile. If you’re interested in seeing or buying her works, you may visit her blog and newly designed web

I love the artistry and intricacy of design in all of Alba’s works, which she brought over to my house that day.

Alba Sepulbeda: "Camelia"

Here are but a few samples for everyone’s enjoyment:

Alba Sepulveda: "Flower"

Alba Sepulveda: "Flores"

—Silvia Piza-Tandlich