All images: Rita Soto.
Rita Soto is a Chilean artist who makes contemporary jewellery based on traditional basketry techniques, using natural fibres as her raw materials. She is a prominent advocate of traditional techniques within her work, creating large-scale volumetric pieces as well as small sculptures. Her technique is time-consuming as she works with very small filaments, such as horsehair and the vegetable fibre ‘tampico’ made from a plant exclusive to the semi-desert areas of northern Mexico, the Agave Lechugilla. Soto uses natural white horsehair dyed with anilines and then twists and moulds them into shape.
Soto learned the craft of jewellery making from her father, and then implemented the micro-basketry technique that she learned from two artisans from the town of Rari, where the process originated. Now most of the work in Rari is figurative, and artisans make colourful miniature human figures, animals, insects and objects. When Soto learned the technique she challenged herself to explore the limits of the basketry form. Her body of artwork is always accompanied with a story; a text that serves as support and inspiration for what she wants to express; her imagination, history, and vision as a Latin American woman.
Soto says, “My proposal in jewelry is contemporary, through learning the traditional technique of micro basketry, I have carried out a textile experimentation, also incorporating the knowledge of the jewelry trade, learned from my father, in all the silver construction of pieces and mechanisms that they support and connect the woven pieces. The pieces come from the search for their own language and from textile experimentation, generating biomorphic objects, which dialogue between the organic and the poetic, weaving identities, interweaving imaginary.”
Soto curated a selection of jewellery to bring to the Selvedge World Fair.
Visit her artisan store to buy from the collection.
Applications to exhibit at the Selvedge World Fair 2021 are now open.