I’ve long been a public television nerd and find that through it I learn so much about the world I live in. Last week, I mentioned watching the wonderful documentary Charles Lummis: Reimagining the American West which was the season premier episode of the KCET docuseries Artbound. Well, tonight at 9pm the second episode Artesanos debuts and I was lucky enough to attend a preview screening yesterday evening.
Artesanos highlights a group of Latin American artisans living in Los Angles who produce handmade pieces for a large portion of the area’s design industry. Throughout the film several artisans and designers are profiled and a glimpse into a little known section of LA’s economy is provided.
I must admit as the film first started I was unsure if I would like it. Beautifully shot by the Tijuana based art collective Dignicraft it began with introductions to the designs themselves – beautiful handbags, shoes and furniture that are far beyond my price range. I was afraid it was going to focus on the high priced world of design – a world I can little relate to. I needn’t have worried. After all, this was KCET and they weren’t going to let me down. Instead I was introduced to glassblowers, shoemakers, leather crafters and furniture designers, all of Latin American heritage, who happen to call Los Angeles home. Filmed at work in their studios it was fascinating to see their immense talent on display. As a person who’s mostly thumbs I admire craftspeople so much. To be able to create a beautiful object from start to finish is a skill that deserves more recognition than it receives in today’s technology based world. To catch a glimpse into the lives of these designers was a true treat. When the film ended I had a new appreciation for handcrafted goods and a new resolve to start saving my pennies so that I could support their work instead of mass produced products that are far more cheaper in quality than they are financially.
Los Angeles is a true wonderful and these artisans are a few of the folks who make it so special. I’m happy I was able to take a brief glimpse into their lives.