Medium of Work:
The city of Cusco, Peru is truly a melting pot. Not only is it home to a wide range of indigenous peoples, it also embraces Spanish design influences from hundreds of years ago. Cusco is home to master artisan Hilda Cachi, who, along with a creative workshop split almost evenly between men and women, creates designs with fantastic detail, which manage to both preserve ancient techniques of both Native and colonial cultures.
Each piece of jewelry produced by Cachi and her team is handmade, using pure silver and natural stones from regional suppliers. Cachi’s first teacher in this precise and elegant style of jewelry design was her dad Gregorio, a celebrated master silver-worker. “I grew up by his side in the workshop,” she says, “among tools, blows of hammers and fire: my works are part of my identity and so I always try to integrate it into everything I make.”
Archeological excavations show that some of the forms still made today, such as shawl pins, date back nearly 2,500 years. Cachi, who originally wanted to become an economist, brings an entrepreneurial vision to her work, introducing new techniques that result in higher-quality work and greater productivity while still maintaining traditional designs.
“My goal is to show in each piece the richness, beauty and identity of my people,” Cachi explains. “Each item has a bit of history, a fragment of knowledge and tradition.” Thanks to her innovative take on South American jewelry design traditions, Cachi is represented in the Smithsonian Institution’s collection, and is a UNESCO Award of Excellence Winner.