I recently had a lovely little vacation from my “regular life vacation” here in Panama. At the end of January, I headed down to Quito, Ecuador to spend a week with a good friend (she is living in Quito for 3 months while she conducts her PhD research on transportation in Quito). We had not seen each other for almost 7 years and we had a blast!
We spent most of our time wandering around the streets of Quito. While participating in a walking tour of the old city of Quito, we popped in to the workshop of Germán Campos Alarcón, a metalsmith, specializing in forging (hammering and such). Naturally, I was drawn to his work and was thrilled to discover that he offered workshops! I scheduled a 3-hour workshop with him during a time that my friend had a meeting regarding her PhD research.
On the day and time of my scheduled workshop, I headed off (with dictionary in hand – well, the Spanish dictionary app on my phone!) to meet up with Germán in his studio in La Ronda (a lovely, historical pedestrian area of the old town of Quito). My Spanish is relatively decent (I can talk the ear off anyone – as long as they don’t mind LOTS of grammatical mistakes!), but my knowledge of metalsmithing vocab is less than nil. But that has never stopped me!
In the 3 hour workshop, we worked on a pendant and a ring, both made out of brass. It took a bit of time to get a flow going, but once I started to get a feel as to how to move the dapping tools and how to have a light touch (despite that you are hammering the heck out of metal!!), it all started to make sense and come together!
I loved the time with I spent with Germán. First off, I was thrilled to see that his work surface was as creatively cluttered as mine and I felt right at home digging through the mountains of tools, looking for the specific one I needed! 😉 Many of the tools he uses for the shaping are created by him, as he needs them: nails forged and hammered to make the shapes he needs – nothing too fancy.
I really loved learning some new techniques and am excited to play around in my studio – who knows, perhaps some future Luma jewellery will be inspired by Germán and his fabulous work!