Omar Maldonado at one time studied Law, before deciding that it really wasn’t his thing. Originally from Argentina, he grew up watching his father build wooden boats next to the river, and he was always surrounded by tools. As he says, “For me, the best toys during my childhood were pieces of wood, metal, and paint”.
He started his jewellery career quite simply about 10 years ago while he was in his 20s, experimenting with beads and wire, and simple tools. He loved it, but soon realised there was so much more he could learn. And learn he did. Mostly self-taught, now his preferred materials are silver and crushed, coloured stone.
He admits to being influenced by Kandinsky, Calder and Klee, and this is also obvious in his work – the simple shapes are quirky, friendly and fun. And although he does design some of his work on paper, he still loves the thrill of improvising, of just playing with the materials to see what happens. The resulting freshness, playfulness, and joy that shines through the work is hard to deny.
He says it is always gratifying that people around the world buy his products, but the very best thing that has happened to him recently is getting his work for sale in the shop of MOLAA (Museum of Latin American Art) in California.
Currently based in Santa Fe, he is still very drawn to the water, and enjoys spending time near the river. But really, his heart is in his workspace. He told me he spends almost all day in it. “It is a pleasant, bright, and spacious … I could say that in my jewelry studio I feel like ‘a babe in its mother’s arms’. It is the space I have wanted for years.”
With thanks to Omar for sharing his words and images here.