South American handicrafts at the market

My name is Moisés

“I’m free to create art with my hands”: the philosophy of handicrafts

Moisés Eli Ramos Morocco

Craftsman.

My name is Moisés, I’m 33 years old and I’m from Peru. I have been living in Sweden for 7 years, but I’m originally from a rural area called Ajanani, located at 3800 meters over the level of the sea in the Peruvian Andes. In the 2000’s when I was 17 years old I finished the secondary school, but I didn’t have the possibility to go to the university. As in many families in Latin America, my 5 siblings and I were struggling about how continue our education, due to the lack of economic resources, and in this difficult situation is when I took the decision of traveling around Peru playing music in order to earn some money.

During this period I met diverse friends that were dedicated to sell handicrafts on the streets. They introduced me to profession and I ended up falling in love with it. After a while I decided to dedicate exclusively to create handicrafts; It made me feel I was able to work, travel and get known to new places. I travelled for almost 10 years through different countries of South America in which I was able to learn techniques to do creations with different metals, leather and macramé without using any machine.

After 15 years of experience in handicraft creations I would say that the ideology under manual crafting in Latin America, comes from the feeling that working by using only your hands is a way to connect with a way of doing art that has existed in our cultures since ancient times; working the same way my antecesors did. For me, it comes from the need of using my creativity and create something without depending on any machines, like the most of the people do. When your life goes around handicrafts there are not 2 equal days, because the products you create even if they look similar they will never be identical, each one of them is unique and is not possible to reproduce it again.

When I got introduced in the profession, for example, creating products with leather I could dedicate from 3 to 4 days to finish a wallet, something that now takes me one day. Other products take less time, like the necklaces, made of metal and macramé that takes from 3 to 8 hours, or bracelets that can be made in one hour. The hand made things are very difficult to produce, that’s why when you are dedicated only to this you don’t think about charge your work per hours. In the end, if you compare the price that you charge to your costumers for each piece, you reach the conclusion that you receive less money than what you should, even if the people tend to think it is too expensive.

In my way of conceiving this job, craft is positive in the way that I’m happy when I create stuff with my hands and at the same time I see that the people buy my creations and value the difficulty of my job.

 

Kind Regards
Moisés Eli Ramos Morocco