“I am Lorena Mena. I was born in the department of Piura in Peru. I consider myself to be a persevering and super-passionate woman. I have lived through difficult moments in my life, and I feel proud of having made it through them. From the moment I got married, I wanted to be a mother. Years passed by and I was not able to conceive, which made me very sad and anxious. But, I was able to rise above this hardship when I found my true passion for art and jewelry. I feel so grateful for the city of Cajamarca, Peru, where I studied jewelry, and for the people that I met who helped me realize my dreams. Today, I am a mother of a three-year-old child, and it is he who motivates all of my dreams and hopes for the future.
“I had a degree in chemistry and metallurgy, but finding work was very difficult. Because of this, I decided to start my own career, even though I didn’t know how. One day, in the Plaza de Armas de Cajamarca, a man gave me a flier advertising a project by the Yanacocha Mine, which was trying to transform the city of Cajamarca into the first Peruvian exporter of jewelry. This dream was called “Cite Koriwasi,” the first center of jewelry technological innovation.
“The course consisted of three modules: design, casting, and table work. I studied design and sketching jewelry, and from that moment on I decided to become an entrepreneur who designed and created jewelry. It is surprising how life can take a 360-degree turn, and how things in life can teach us and make us more happy.
“Starting to work on my own was not an easy decision, but I can say that it is very satisfying to be a mother and wife; it rejuvenates my heart, and my family is the reason I get up every day and go out to fulfill my dreams.
“In 2006, we were awarded first place in a handicraft competition for sustainable design. We developed a collection of jewelry on the handloom where we replaced cotton yarns with threads of silver, copper, burnished silver, and gold. In 2007, we received economic support from the Asociación ANDES (Andes Association) in order to pursue a specialized course in jewelry design at the Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy. In 2008, we were awarded first place in the patronage silver competition of Peru with a collection of jewelry woven in the style of basketry and sombreros made of silver and copper threads. In 2012, we were selected to be part of Goldman Sachs’s 10,000 Women program, where we received a course at the University of the Pacific. In 2016, we were awarded second place in the patronage silver competition of Peru with jewelry inspired by the village of Mariscala, where we created Ayacuchan embroidery with copper threads over a piece of 950 silver. Aside from that, we participated in Lima Design Week in November of 2016. In 2017, we continued training ourselves in the revival of pre-Hispanic textile techniques in order to implement them in our new designs. We also trained on the loom in national fairs such as Hecho a Mano (Made by Hand) and Manos Creadoras (Creative Hands).
“What I like the most about my art is its handmade identity, where the most important element is the revival of pre-Hispanic textile traditions applied in jewelry. I love the colors, the versatility, and the geometry, which empassion me and give life to my existence. My inspiration comes from my Peruvian culture and from its age-old traditions, such as the techniques of weaving pre-Hispanic textiles. I want to transmit and share the traditional and ancestral elements that I carry in my veins; not only with my country, but with the entire world.
“My dreams for the future are to train myself in new techniques of jewelry design abroad and gain the ability to complete my career in finance. I dream that jewelry stores in Peru, the United States, and Europe will carry my brand. I am very thankful towards Novica for having opened the doors for me and welcoming me into its large team and family. I am very happy.”