When exploring the island of Baru, one may notice the beautiful ocean, the sandy beach and the breathtaking nature. Our friend, Bonafacio, sees something else when he takes in the scenery of his home. This artisan has a unique gift and an amazing eye for pieces of nature that he can turn into something else. What we see as a stick, he sees as a sculpture and he has been this way his whole life. Now, he is an artisan and makes some of the most incredible jewelry on the island.
“Since I was about twelve, I have always seen something else in nature,” he told us, “I may not know what it will become, but I will pick things up that inspire me and decide what it will be later.”
His shop is full of twigs, seeds, shells and stones that are just waiting to be created into a piece of art. Some of it is polished and turned into a bead for a necklace and some of it is flattened and has a work of art carved into it. Regardless of what it may be in the end, each piece is special to him and carries a part of Baru with it.
Bonafacio’s art is a testament to his love and connection to the island where he was raised. He was born and raised in Baru and his art not only demonstrates that but it also pulls those who love his work into the culture. As much as the jewelry, statues, paintings and other work are all beautiful on their own, they are also unique in that every part of them are directly connected to the ecosystem of Baru.
When customers see his work, they only see the beauty on the surface initially. However, when they learn about how meaningful each piece is they suddenly realize that it is something that cannot be replicated anywhere else. So much of the ecology of Colombia’s Caribbean coast is unique to the region and many of the seeds and plants actually cannot be seen anywhere else in nature. Part of why we love this region so much and want to preserve it is because if we don’t, one day it could be gone from planet Earth forever. If you see how beautiful it is yourself then you will understand why we cannot let that happen and why we love supporting the communities who help us protect and honor our beloved coast!