January 4, 2012

Pura Vida! Pure Life!

What would you think of a life that lives out of an RV, takes a dip in the soothing warm rivers for a living and listens to great live music in the evenings to make new friends? Fantasy land? I'd say quite right at that if i had not met these friendly ticos (locals) at La Fortuna during my little Costa Rican holiday a few days ago.

Beautiful as the country is, so are the people! I met Sofia Astua, her husband and friends one evening at this very warm and inviting restaurant called 'Lava Lounge' at La Fortuna downtown. After a long day of hiking and driving, this place was a perfect relaxing retreat. Amazing food n drinks, incredible live music from a duo of an asian musician and a local singer clubbed with the cutest dogs and cats - literally! The cats would just come and sit at your table - fearless, just stroke them and they'd close their eyes in peaceful happiness :)

Anyhow, this post is particularly about Sofia Astua, Maria Bustamante and their friends who make beautiful and very unique jewelry using nylon threads and semi precious stones. They get these  stones by diving into the local rivers and ocean beds to make their own rustic yet precious n pretty jewelry. When they are not diving the waters, Sofia makes the jewelry during the day in her RV or at the restaurant where there is ample natural light while her husband who seems pretty good with marketing, sells the jewelry at night when the restaurant is packed with people. They have a simple set up at the entrance of 'Lava Lounge', where they display and sell their work. People waiting for their tables, food n drinks tend to hang around this friendly and attractive little corner chatting with the artists while enjoying the music and doing some shopping. Sharing some pictures of the beautiful place and the work!

Inside Lava Lounge
Maria at work
The price ranges from $8 to $100 depending on the design. It takes them anything between 4 to 12 hours behind one piece to knot intricate patterns all they way around a stone. It looks as precise and neat as any bead jewelry isn't it? 

The work below here is by Maria Bustamante. Notice the nature inspired forms in her beautiful creations. 

Sofia and Me at their display table

Sofia and her husband.
And look what i got me :) 

'Cian' is the artist's 2 yr old daughter after whom they have named their brand. Notice the packaging - economic, recycled, simple and beautiful!

All images are taken by me with the permission of the artist.

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