We expect a collection made with natural materials from Brazilian designer Silvia Furmanovich, who is known for her sculptural, multilayered marquetry masterpieces that embrace floral, botanical, and entomological motifs, and the most beguiling tapestry-like scenes. She also works with an array of precious woods, shells, and natural flowers.
Her newest collection, which pairs aspects of the humble, but richly storied and symbolic bamboo plant with diamonds and colored gems, is on a completely different level.
Scheduled to be unveiled in Las Vegas this summer, it was sure to get lots of attention, especially given the backstory: Furmanovich spent considerable time in Japan to learn about bamboo craft, where the plant has been used for millennia by artists to create intricately woven vessels and objects.
There, she observed a number of different artists to learn the intricacies of bending, weaving, and shaping the material into complex—and beautiful—structural concepts.
She also learned about bamboo’s unique life cycle. Officially a subfamily of grasses, it matures from shoot to full size in just two to three months, growing a half meter per day. It lives for about 20 years, but the underground root system continues to grow and produce new shoots, so it, in essence, lives forever.
The central technique used throughout Furmanovich’s new pieces is weaving. Stalks of bamboo have been cut and sliced and then worked into lacy openwork patterns akin to the highest form of basketry. Sturdy canes have been shaped into bangles and cuffs. Delicate fibers form licorice-like loops and serpentine tangles, or a more delicate, gossamer texture composed of impossibly ultrafine strands.
The bamboo appears in its natural state. The colored designs were dyed using natural pigments to achieve the shades of green, red, navy blue, and purple.
During her creative journey, Furmanovich discovered the spiritual teachings associated with traditional bamboo craft. As noted in her press materials, “What bamboo teaches us, most importantly, is humility, to become humble before our difficulties. We do not bend before problems and hardships, but only before the principle of peace, which is to be at one with everything.”
And accents of diamonds and gemstones elevate all of it to something truly sublime.
My favorite examples, below.
Top: The Amazonia Bamboo collection is also the result of a partnership between Furmanovich and Instituto Jatobás, an organization committed to sustainable living and consciousness in Brazil. The organization has dedicated an area of more than 80 hectares to bamboo cultivation in Brazil, with the goal of developing the first industrial unit of products derived from bamboo in the country. Furmanovich plans to teach the institution’s craftsmen Japanese knot-weaving techniques and is collaborating with its artisans to create her jewelry and homeware pieces. From left: Ring with South Sea pearl, diamonds, and bamboo in 18k gold; cuff in bamboo and rattan in 18k gold; and earring with garnet, diamonds, and bamboo in 18k gold, all prices on request.
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