"I enjoy the challenge of shaping and creating the beads' forms and precise details in the fire. Each new design that is approved is a great satisfaction."
"My name is Marielena Cespedes and I'm from Lima, Peru.
"As a teenager, I liked designing and creative endeavors. I made doll clothes and accessories. I painted in grayscale, and enjoyed other activities that defined my tendency toward art. I studied marketing and advertising, and later became interested in blown glass in the style of Murano. I traveled to Italy in 2011 to specialize in this art.
"When I was 15, the political problems in Peru forced my father to give up his post as a public administrator. This caused major financial problems for my family and thousands of other Peruvians. I had to give up a lot of dreams but, at the same time, I developed other opportunities. Since I had to work while still in school, my first business was learning. I committed myself to reading literature and I helped a lot of students write their monographs. They paid me for advising them and I became so famous for reading literature that they sought me out every year. This taught me a lot and about creativity.
"I currently work with my sister Elvira and my mother Amadea, along with a fabulous young lady named Jacky. My sister works on organizing and material control. My mother works on the orders and also offers constructive criticism. Jacky is in charge of preparing the studio — that is, she organizes the materials from the previous day, and is my assistant in the whole process. I am in charge of crafting, creating the beads and finishing the jewelry. We all help take care of Lancelot, my young son, who is with us all the time.
"One of the happiest moments in my life was hearing my son's first laughter when he was only a few months old. It was a very contagious laugh, full of life! It was a spectacular surprise!
"We'd like to train people with hearing disabilities to do this work in their homes. I hope that with the growth of my workshop and sales, I can develop this project.
"At this time, I'm working towards becoming the best known blown glass artist in Latin America and participating in international events to demonstrate my technique. While creating constantly, I found the best methods in the colors I used to make them beautiful. Blown glass is creating by fire. You have to learn to dominate the space, gravity and creativity. This is why blown glass attracted me so much and it's why I went to Italy to meet the great masters of Murano glass. I didn't stop thinking about one day creating works like theirs. I had to practice a lot to develop my skills and almost literally set myself on fire. I never lost the will to learn and my fears dissipated every time I saw improvements. I developed safe techniques along with my creativity and spiritual peace.< br>
"I work with high quality stained glass from Venice, which comes in more than 100 colors. It is sold as 30-centimeter rods that are manipulated in the flames of a blowtorch. The beads are made by using both hands — one to heat the rod and the other to hold the support called the mandrill where the bead is placed. In this way, I can control the proximity of the fire to melt the glass. At the same time, I must control the bead's shape and apply the decorations. This art requires developing a fine precision in both hands and a lot of emotional control. Many of my tools and additional materials come from the United States, Italy, Germany and England. Because of this, I always say that our pieces are, 'the multicultural product of the world.' We also reuse the beads that don't pass quality control by melting them again and crafting decorative plates.
"I enjoy the challenge of shaping and creating the beads' forms and precise details in the fire. Each new design that is approved is a great satisfaction. I love creating the design, mixing colors and selecting the sizes. It's thrilling to craft a piece with my own hands while avoiding the fire, where the senses are on alert. This is where the artist needs to control his movements and even his breath. When a very elaborate design is being made, the artist stops breathing until he finishes the detail that will make the bead beautiful.
"I'm inspired by many things, places, cultures, peoples. When I see I field full of flowers, I create flowers or multicolored beads that remind me of the garden's joy. Pre-Hispanic culture also attracts me because of its use of colors and, above all, because I can bring a pre-Incan inspiration to the present through our jewelry. People also inspire me when I mix colors, because I sometimes imagine a type of woman, for example, a Filipino woman inspires me with a lot of color and long forms that will help me highlight her beauty.
"Working for myself has been very satisfying, having fought every step of the way to develop my studies on Murano-style hand-blown glass. This art isn't cultivated in Peru since its origin is from far away, but we can create pre-Hispanic pieces by mixing their colors."