By Jed Pitman
Art for me is about freedom. It’s how I express outwardly what is inside me. It helps me connect with people I have not met but ones who I know I will meet in the future. My jewellery connects me to people in a profound way.
These are the words of local artist and jewellery maker, Carolina Schwarz. I was perhaps not the best person to interview Carolina, as my own personal knowledge of anything artistic is several notches beneath zero. Drawing a stick man is as difficult for me as it was for Michelangelo when splashing some colour on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. In fact, when a former girlfriend of mine once mentioned the words “engagement” and “’ring,” I got her two front row seats at a boxing match. So, to put it mildly, myself and Carolina are antonyms.
But to learn about art is something else, as Carolina was soon proving. “I started making jewellery 25 years ago, soon after arriving in Mexico from Argentina. When I was very young, I used to pick up anything, get a feel for it and make something from it with my hands. I realised that I had an inbuilt connection with minerals. I read books about minerals and the different energies they have and this is something I have carried through my life.” I nodded through this with a solid amount of incredulity. But she continued.
“On arriving in this country, I used all the natural resources around me. I always paid attention to nature and its all-consuming beauty, so natural materials like shells and oxidized coins I found buried in the sand. I began to open my mind so I could connect further with nature and to then show other people its immense beauty.”
“What? Sorry, please continue.”
“Colours are of prime importance to me, the harmony between colour and different shapes and textures which I blend with my own passions, my soul, my emotions, my thoughts. But I also have the faith that when someone sees my work, they can have an inner feeling towards it, a unique and sometimes a very deep connection with it. When someone sees a piece of my jewellery, I want to make them think about nature and about their own inner complexities. I am not a person who follows fashion. I prefer to think about souls and so look to create pieces that break all concepts of fashion or style. It is what I call urban art, using Mexico as my inspiration.”
Aaah, up pricked my ears. I, too, am not a follower of fashion. I still wear either platform boots or spats and enjoy dining on powdered egg. Perhaps there is some yang in my yin after all. By this stage, I notice that I am starting to doodle and I find it a doddle.
Carolina is seemingly oblivious to my new artistic self as she said, “When I start on a new design, it is like the pieces talk to me and it is my job to create a harmony between each piece. It may be that I am aware of what I am going to create before I start, but more often than not, it all comes together as I work with my open mind. Some take a lot of time and concentration while for others it is like an explosion within me. I think of my creations as my sons and daughters. When they are finished and have been born into this world, I can see their personalities but what makes it so exciting is when a person sees a piece for the first time and adds their own personality to it. At the same time, I am still very interested in creating what I suppose has become my classic product, necklaces using healing stones.”
These are something I know about and before too long, I am wearing several pieces. I learn about the importance of chakras in art and am soon telling my friends about nadis – sushumnas, idas and pingalas. And as I write this, I am on the phone to the Apostolic Palace. Apparently, Michelangelo’s The Last Judgment needs a touch up.
Carolina’s shop is on Calle Chacah, 412, in La Crucecita. Her work can also be viewed on Facebook (“maicadesigns”), Instagram (“maicadesigns”) and Tripadvisor (“Maica Silver & Contemporary Bijoux”). Look for Maicadesigns.