ARTIST INTERVIEW: Claudia Quiroz of Kalosoma
Artist: Claudia Quiroz
Made completely by hand in mexico Kalosoma jewelry is brought to life by the creative spirit of Mexican designer Claudia Fernandez, and by more than one hundred Mexican artisans from all over Mexico that work with her. Inspired at an early age by her grandfather an entomologist from Spain. She recalls “We would go into the forest early in the morning in rainy season each one of us with a glass jar in our hands. When we found a beetle we would ran to show him these jewels from nature. He taught us the scientific names we discovered their particularities and how to prepare them for study. He was a man who spread his enthusiasm for adventure and discovery”. When Claudia began to make jewelry the gems and the designs recaptured those walks in the forest with her grandfather and the jeweled bodies of insects they discovered together. The signature silver scarab charm on each kalosoma piece is a reflection of the inspiration.
Describe the path that led you to the work you do now.
My parents were Mexican diplomats so I was living away from my country in my early childhood, every summer when we went to visit Mexico y would get to feel the essence of Mexico and I fell deeply in love with my culture, specially the work of our artisans. From my earliest memories I was looking with fascination at tiny little baskets or weavings or small clay artifacts, I starts doing silversmith classes at the age of 12, and I started a love relationship with jewelry. I always had an art project, and I would make small silver pendants for my friends and for myself.
My driving force is to make beautiful things giving the people and the families I work with a sustainable and dignified and sustainable life and we all but our hearts into our work and do our best.
How do you find a balance between practicality and beauty in your creations?
Jewelry is an art form that is wearable, the most important mission it has is to adorn a person, I myself need to be surrounded with beautiful things, It makes me very happy to wear something that I feel is beautiful, the sensuality of the forms a piece of jewelry gives me great pleasure, and I carry it with me, it lifts my spirit and to me there is nothing more practical than that.
What are your most important artistic tools?
To me most important artistic tool is imagination, you can be limited by the amount of fiscal resources, like, stones our any sort of materials but having a creative source with in and being able to let it loose and actually create something is a blessing from the universe
Do you have a favorite creation, artwork, or design of your own?
I have many favorites, I am particularly proud and happy with a new design that we developed with three different silks sets from different communities in Mexico it is a double weave bracelet from Oaxaca, from Nayarit and from Puebla.
How do you define success in your art or craft, or alternately, what does failure mean to you?
To me success is very personal, it has to do with what you feel about your work, it is nice if others appreciate it, you become a work in progress you develop, you form yourself as an artist. Success is not a destination it is a path of competences and resilience.
What criteria do you use to evaluate your own work?
It has to make me feel good.
Do you have any objects you like to keep around you as inspiration? What are they?
I like all sorts of art forms and nature forms, artisan work, insects, stones, rocks, painting, stings, silk, beads…
How is your work inspired by or influenced by nature and your surroundings?
Well my grandfather was an entomologist who shared his love for nature with us in a very scientific method kind of way, so my work is very organic, my logo is a small silver insect, calosoma is a scientific name of an insect, that gets its meaning from it’s Latin-Greek roots beautiful body) I am Mexican and I am deeply influenced by its art old and new, colors and themes, beliefs and traditions.
What do you do, or where do you go to seek fresh ideas or renewed creative energy?
I explore and research the traditions of Mexican art, now I have a project that involve an artisan family from Campeche which is a beautiful seaside Gulf of Mexico colonial city, in the past they worked with sea turtle shell, now a day they are protected and they have turned to bull horn, which is a very good alternative. This project involves them and the Huichol Indians from Nayarit, it is developing nicely and I hope to have it selling soon
Do you see your work as part of an artistic tradition? Where does your work depart from artistic tradition and move into new territory?
Kalosoma’s workmanship comes from tradition, but it is more, I am very fortunate to have been able to travel the world, so I can say that kalosoma is modern, unique and fresh, it has quality to it that is drawn from the fact that all the artisans that make it are top of the line experts, the quality of the materials is excellent and the design pays total attention to detail.
Who are some current artists, creators, or people working in other fields whose work you admire?
Beth Orduna is the modern jeweler I most admirer.
What is a new idea you have been working with recently?
I also have a project exploring micro mosaic.
Did you have any mentors or important creative influences?
Not a mentor per say put when I was 21 years old I went to Spain to take a art course and I stayed in my great uncles and his wife’s house. They had the most amazing art collection. He was a unbelievably cultured man and they rekindled my love for the arts.
Do you think community is important to creativity? If so, how?
I my case it is, because I work with many communities that interact. I understand that kalosoma would not have developed without the team we have become, everybody doing their job, and their part to accomplish a body of work.
Did you have any artists or creative people in your family? If so, how did they influence you?
Not artist, but very had workers and their creativity was base in ideas, in the way they approved a problem, and I think that is the way I work as well.