The idea initially came from researching and looking into beading as it’s a very big part of Brazilian indigenous craft. Our first bags were made using looms and then were progressed slowly into a more precise kind of embroidery. I wanted to move away from the tribal aesthetic often associated with beads into a more refined one, directly influenced by the Neo-concrete art movement and by Portuguese mosaics.
No, to be sincere, the bag was just a way of showcasing the intricately crafted patterns. I knew I wanted to work with something quite elaborate and artistic which involved patterns, but the idea of making bags came much later. I am also a printmaker and just now taking on painting. So, to me, it is about the purist geometry, the colours and the shapes.
I work from small marker and watercolour sketches that are put into a weaving computer program which helps me calculate everything. A sample is then made with our master embroiderer, who then is able to pass it onto the other guys. We mainly work with a team of men now.
The most difficult thing about beading is probably the fact that the beads are so tiny. It’s so time consuming to make a pattern! Also, there were a few challenges we luckily overcame when we were starting to place the beadwork onto the bags because they are made of glass and we had to test many different fabrics and types of embroidery that would be durable.
I have enjoyed the work of artist Felipe Mujica recently, he’s Chilean, but worked very closely with a community of women to make curtains that are displayed in the latest São Paulo Bienal. He has an aesthetic that I am very in tune with.