As a development practitioner, Maria Ximena has spent most of her professional life working on the development of vulnerable communities in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Most recently, Mrs. Álvarez has worked on strengthening the commercialization of jewelry handcrafts by a rural women-artisan community in Kabuyanda, Isingiro District, Uganda. Likewise, Mrs. Álvarez worked on strengthening an income generating model and re-designing a commercialization strategy and local event for an artisan brand that focuses on selling wool woven products.
By creating Wak´a, Maria Ximena seeks to change the way in which income generation models approach the commercialization component of its products. In Wak´a, Mrs. Álvarez seeks to initially create a brand that evokes elegance and sophistication, maintaining the highest production and material standards, and assuring Wak´a customers with a product that holds the highest quality and design standards. Once the brand has recognition and is generating profits, Mrs. Alvarez seeks to reinvest all of Wak´a profits in the construction of new spaces with advanced machinery for different communities within rural and urban Colombia, in order to strengthen artisan knowledge.
Angel is a jewelry artisan who specializes in Colombian filigree. During his career, Angel has developed an interest for Colombian artisanship, making him an empiric learner who masters different techniques such as wire-jewelry, which he inherited from his years spent travelling with the hippie community here in Colombia. At Wak´a, Angel has been able to further develop his filigree knowledge, and is one of the master designers behind the Enredaderas Doradas 2015 collection, specifically working its filigree accents.
Angel will continue to work on different designs curated by Waka, and in partnership with Mario, he will continue to identify different ways in which other artisan-elaborated elements can be accentuated with his metal techniques. He also looks forward to the day in which he can be a part of teaching communities that can benefit from learning what he has to offer.
While working for a printing press, Mario had plenty of free time and willingness to work. Thus, he studied jewelry at the local SENA (public technical school) and gained enough skills which combined with an innate passion, have made him an avid learned of the filigree technique. Mario wishes to expand the workshop that he has with Angel, and wishes to learn different production techniques through the implementation of new technologies. Like Angel, Mario is very interested in being able to contribute with the education of different communities, more so with those who are looking to work to get a sustainable form of income while preserving their cultural identity.
Rafa is a passionate artisan who has had to learn different techniques in order to survive the labor demands that the country and its production offers. He has worked in the making of men garments. Unfortunately, the factory where he worked had to shut down, and his family had to go back to live in the rural community where they are from because it was impossible for all of them to live in the city. Rafa is trying to make a living out of his passion for jewelry and filigree. By joining Mario and Angel, Rafa was able to collaborate with the Enredaderas Doradas 2015 collection, specifically by carrying out some of the filigree leaf fillings and by forming all of the wire used in the decorative elements of this collection.
Sneyder and Hernán work together from Sneyder´s home. They have been working with wood since a very young age and currently own a workshop based out of Sneyder´s home, where they manufactures high-quality wood furniture and kitchens at a minimum scale. Because of their attention to detail, Sneyder and Hernán spend more time on production than do other carpenters. Thus, they were responsible for carrying out all of the hand-carving jobs required for the room divider, the lamps and the mirror included in the Enredaderas Doradas, 2015 collection.