Collection Stories | Talabartero Leather Collection

“Imbued with a tactile spirit, l’aviva home’s richly detailed Talabartero collection fuses the time-honored craft of Colombian saddle-making with Fernando Botero’s bold use of color.”
With our Talabartero Collection, we have teamed up with Colombian master artisan Edgar Beltran Jaramillo.
Edgar was educated and worked for many years as an engineer, before he made a switch and decided to follow his lifelong desire to work with his hands. He attended Escuela de Artes y Oficios Santo Domingo in Bogotá, a school started by two Colombian designers (Beatrice Dávila de Santo Domingo and Poli Mallarino) as a passion project, with the goal of preserving Colombia’s artisanal heritage. It was there that he studied and honed his craft of working with leather.
Ours was a collaboration that was a good number of years in the making.
Before we really had an idea of where we wanted to go in terms of shapes and forms, we played with color palette. We were drawn to Fernando Botero’s paintings, and to his use of flat, bold color. Most especially, it was his painting of La Dama—which had been hanging out on our inspiration board—that kept pulling us in. So that’s where we started riffing from.
As so often happens when we are developing a collection, we went through some starts and stops. We initially played around with mineral dyes and hand painting vegetable-tanned leather. We really wanted to make that work. But we went round and round on that front; we kept hitting roadblocks in terms of consistency and texture. Eventually, we made the decision to move on, and turned our attention to sourcing our palate from existing options.
Once our colors were settled on, we continued to come back to the La Dama painting (where an unspecified Colombian First Lady sits powerfully on horseback.) And we started to research vintage saddlery. We poured over archival images (Edgar from the library there in Bogotá, and us from our studio in NYC) and then we started to riff on some of the techniques—the stitching, the braiding, the embroidery, and the hand tooling—we saw used over and over in these vintage pieces. The name of the collection, Talabartero, translates as ‘Master Saddlery’.
Edgar was incredibly patient and meticulous, fine-tuning techniques that were new to him and his team. Each step of the way—and, again, this was over a handful of years—really reinforced what a good working team we are. Edgar’s attention to detail is remarkable, and he was so game to try everything we threw at him.
We’ll look to grow this collection moving forward. There were a good many techniques that we looked at and started to play with along the way—such as board-formed shapes—that didn’t make it into this first round, but that we’ll incorporate as this collection, and our relationship with Edgar and his team, grows.
Photos of Edgar in the workshop by Laura Huertas Photo