Living and travelling through Mexico these last two months has exposed us to so many different types of arts, crafts and one-of-a-kind pieces that I’ve never seen the likes of before. It’s a shop-a-holic’s playground. The best part about it has been meeting the makers of these items, shaking their hands, learning about their work and handing them money directly for the goods they’ve made. This will be the first of a series of posts that spotlight each Mexican artisan that we’ve met and purchased from, and I couldn’t think of a better place to start than with Giovanni Andrade’s brand of steampunk accessories for women and men, Laberinto.
Every weekend, San Miguel de Allende (SMA) has an artisan’s fair that attracts artists from SMA and the surrounding towns and cities like Leon, Guanajuato, and Queretaro. Some designers are young, some are old; some are hipsters, some are hippies. Most sell clothing, jewelry and home decor. I’m always a sucker for the jewelry, especially the pieces with a mix of pretty and edgy. Which is how I was pulled with a near magnetic force to Giovanni’s table within seconds of entering the fair. He was wearing an empty gun holster and holding up an amazing fringed necklace that I couldn’t take my eyes off of.
When Evan and I started to investigate the items on his table, we were blown away. He’d added leather pieces to round sunglasses so that they looked like steampunk goggles. He’d taken apart old watches and used the various elements to create necklaces and rings. He’d recycled old leather bits to create watch bands and had acid-etched designs into old pieces of brass.
“This style is called steampunk,” he said. “We know! We love it!” we said. Evan was drawn to this amazing leather wristband with watch and acid-etched plaquet. I ended up purchasing a red version of the fringed leather necklace. We brought Matt and Lindsay (Evan’s brother and sister-in-law who we are travelling with) back two weeks later and they purchased the ‘goggles.’ They were born to wear these!! Giovanni generously gifted me one of the brass rings as a thank you for bringing friends and helping to support his craft.
Giovanni is from Leon, a city 90 minutes from San Miguel and home to the BJX airport you must fly into in order to access this region in Mexico. His company is called Laberinto – Fabricando Fantasias – and you can find his Facebook here, and his Instagram here. He’s a true visionary! It was such a pleasure to meet him, and we can’t wait to sport our goodies all over town like a wild pack of steampunk bandits.