A social venture with a fair trade model at its core, Calamarie develops long term relationships with artisans who are committed to their craft and use traditional techniques for weaving and jewelry making with organic materials. We call it Traditional Art Reinterpreted. Mery is Calamarie's head artisan, a gifted artist with an amazing sense for color and composition. After working for most of her life in an office setting and finding herself laid off later in life she turned to her hands and her love for crochet to make a living. Catalina met Mery at a street market in Bogota, Colombia back in 2008, saw something in her work and began collaborating with her.
Two years later, after much growth Catalina approached Mery about becoming the head artisan for Calamarie-responsible for the orange peel collection, then in its infancy. They have collaborated since then on dozens of new designs, have dreamed up and made a reality an array of new colors and styles. They are constantly on Skype (when the internet connection is miraculously working) discussing every detail to ensure clients receive the most beautiful, highest quality artisanal product. Four years later, Mery now supports herself and her family with her work. Along with her entrepreneurial sister Cecilia, they supervise the production of each Calamarie piece. As demand has grown, more and more artisans have joined the Calamarie family. Women from Mery and Cecilia's disadvantaged urban neighborhood in Colombia's capital of Bogota are being trained to make bracelets, necklaces and more. This work provides them an extra source of income and the flexibility needed to continue to take care of their children and households. Our seeds are all hand painted and hand polished by a small artisan shop, led by a true artist who we affectionately call Mr. Seed. Our orders allow him to keep his young children in school and to preserve his craft. A young college student (and now members of his family) shape and paint every orange peel piece in our collection as a way to pay his way through college. Indigenous mothers along the coast of Colombia create select bracelets to raise funds for their first ever-local school. The list grows everyday as more women find us and come to appreciate our little treasures.