We love leather craft, leather works and original design… this husband and wife duo have incredible talent in their wearable art leather jewelry line. (also available in vegan)
OROPOPO is a husband and wife duo. In their Albuquerque studio they combine new techniques with traditional materials to create objects inspired by Native American, classic Western, and New Mexican culture that breathe new life into American history.
Karole’s professional background is in architecture and structural engineering. The Oropopo name is from her birthplace on the coast of Venezuela. Grady is a native of New Mexico, a writer, and literary editor; he has specialized in desert literature and its aesthetics. Together, they refine a narrative that associates site and culture with contemporary technology.
“We have our own relationship to the land and culture and those indefinable qualities that are New Mexico and the Southwest. If we share anything with the creative work done in this region for thousands of years it would be the tradition of artists trying to make beautiful things that convey a sense of the time and place we inhabit.”
Plumeria is a tradition of artisanal feather-work that evolved from our earliest evidence of the techniques in Meso-america to its height in the 17th century under Spanish Colonial rule. From ceremonial clothing to collage styled artwork the use of feathers for decorative and symbolic purpose is literally woven into the cultural history of the American Southwest.
Over more than a century the exchange of technique and artistic subject matter between the Spaniards and the indigenous people led to the use of feathers as material and accents in all arts and crafts. The universal association of feathers with the freedom of flight and spirituality made its use in Catholic iconography an easy match and let to the spread of artisanal plumeria around the world to royal courts as far away as Prague, China, and Mozambique. The tradition all but disappeared by the twentieth century. A few modern artists in the American Southwest and Northern Mexico have created work inspired by these traditions.
The simplicity of the feather’s shape and its physical lightness will always elicit a sense of mystery and movement. This line is inspired by the evolution of the symbol and the object through our regional culture.
BIJOU BREASTPLATE NECKLACE
Roughly half the size of the Breastplate Necklace
A chevron progression study where the “V” softens from top to bottom. Inspired by Native American bone hairpipe breastplates.
Breastplates had originally been worn ceremonially as a symbol of protection of the spirit and as an expression of personal style and wealth.
FRINGE EARRINGS II
Starting as a functional addition to buckskin, fringe became a western embellishment that was later adopted by flapper girls to accentuate the wild spontaneity of their dancing.
These Fringe earrings borrow from both traditions in a minimalist reimagining of this iconic design element.
Only a few icons of the southwest are as inseparable from Western culture as the horse saddle. The image of the cowboy rolling his blanket and tightening the straps on his saddle were instant cues in western movies that a journey was beginning, the doing was about to be done. That distinct u shape with its high pommel and stirrups has evolved over centuries to make a man and horse into a hybrid creature that tamed lands, waged war, and created a uniquely American identity. The Spanish colonials brought horses and saddles to the Southwest. Their design evolved into two styles with a California style of highly decorated and stylized saddles and the Texas/New Mexico style of unadorned working saddles. It is that simpler style that inspires our saddle line with that high pommel and long strands that suggest the classic stirrups.
AREA 51 EARRINGS
In 1947 a crash site near Roswell NM became one of the most well known events of the UFO mythology. It is rumored that the alien technology from that site was taken to the top secret research facility at Area 51 in Nevada. This pendant suggests a mysterious metal form rising into the desert sky through the concentric waves of a shimmering heat mirage.
Dragonflies are venerated everywhere they are found and symbolize a lightness of the soul and agility of the mind. The dragonfly motif is found in the arts and crafts around the world with a unique significance in our Southwest region. When Spanish missionaries introduced symbolic crosses, especially the double-barred cross, they were eventually adapted into a wide variety of patterns including many representations of dragonflies still found in arts and crafts throughout the region.
We introduce our take on this iconic double winged flier. Our recall of spring days and warm summer nights by the Rio Grande is inseparable from the acrobatics and flash of color from our local dragonflies. They are one of the earths earliest fliers, over 300 million years old but their enthusiastic flight and simple silhouettes are utterly timeless.
DOUBLE ORYX HORN NECKLACE
Oryx were introduced into Southern New Mexico’s White Sands Missile Range (Trinity site) in 1969 as exotic big game. Coyotes and mountain lions posed no threat and the Oryx thrived, tipping the balance of the White Sands National Monument’s ecosystem. The stylized image of stark black horns against white gypsum sands is one only conjured up in dreams. I received an Oryx skull with horns from a friend (thanks, Matt) whose father found while walking near White Sands.
New Arrivals at Real NYC Market located at 166 Mulberry Street in NYC. Featuring original, independent artists and designers around the globe.