At This Material Culture we’re all about ideas, the bangle, necklace, earrings you buy weren’t churned out in a factory. Each piece has a story, a concept, and about 4 other earlier versions I decided weren’t good enough. I wanted to share the stories behind some of our pieces with you because we’re not a faceless company, we are two quirky, creative people with a passion for creating products that mean something (and are really pretty).
So the first Story Behind… is our El Dorado bangle. I thought this would be a good piece to start with because it’s one of the first that I made and it’s still one of my favourites.
I studied Archaeology and I’ve always been passionate about the ancient world, and things from the past. My particular interest was Material Culture (hence our name) which is the stuff of everyday life that archaeologists use to piece together what actual people’s lives were like thousands of years ago. I love the idea of El Dorado – the mythical emperor covered in gold dust, and the myths, ideas and rituals that surround it.
So how to put all that into a bangle? Well, I bought the gorgeous brass compass charms because I thought they were lovely, and there’s something quite South American about the shape and patterns, and they look so old and antique so I think they’re the perfect charm.
The colours? Well gold obviously has to feature heavily – which it does! But I’ve used earthy, bright colours like the dull red, silver lined orange beads, rich turquoise and some matte brown beads to really complement the gold and conjure up ideas of the ancient Andes and it’s amazing cultures. Looking at Aztec, Muisca and Inca art, textiles and artefacts for inspiration I think the coloured beads in the bangle really work.
So there, we go, that’s the story behind the El Dorado bangle, and what was going through my brain as I created it. I hope you like the piece, if you fancy owning your unique piece you can buy one here https://www.thismaterialculture.com/product/el-dorado-bangle/