Here's a bit of Colombian cool in Krakow! Sound unlikely? Read on.
For my final Krakow series post, I'm writing about a gallery that I stumbled on one rainy Saturday while questing for lunch. Galeria Aruaco, on Ulica Sławkowska just off the main square, offers handmade jewelry, wallets and bags made by Colombian crafts people (Galeria Aruaco also has a shop on Ulica Miodowa in the Kazimierz neighborhood of Krakow).
What's so great about this jewelry is that it's made from natural elements like the lovely necklace and earrings, below, made mostly from coffee beans.
The necklaces below are made out of Tagua nuts, which come from palm trees found in South American rain forests. These nuts can be eaten when ripe. However, when they're left to dry for at least two years, they become very hard and can be used to make bead-like jewelry. In fact, they're often used as eco-friendly substitutes for animal ivory and bone.
After drying, Tagua nuts are cut, carved, painted or dyed brilliant colors and coated with resin polish. The earrings below are made out of dyed Tagua nut slices.
The earrings below also caught my eye. I think they're made from the leaves of a palm tree, but I'm not sure. They're just so exotic!
The shop also had colorful wallets with indigenous patterns sewn right into the leather.
A local Krakow group that writes about off-the-beaten path places, Spotted by Locals, has a nice overview of Galeria Aruaco. You also can visit the Galeria Aruaco blog for more information (but you'll have to use an online translator if you don't know Polish...) or you can send an email to Monika Alejo at firstname.lastname@example.org. Better yet, go to Krakow and see some of this great work in person!
Photos by David Gordon