I will never forget my first encounter with Jorge Lizarazo and his Hechizoo collection. I was completely overwhelmed by the originality and refinement of his textile designs. I loved the texture of the matt vegetable fibers paired with the brilliant metals: the overall effect was gorgeous. It was like nothing I had ever seen before.
Growing up in Colombia, I have always been fascinated with textiles, especially Pre-Columbian artefacts. Textiles are integral to our cultural identity and artistic history.
With the work of Hechizoo, I found myself presented with a small weaving company that had the sophistication to translate our artistic heritage into innovative and modern design.
When Jorge Lizarazo founded Hechizoo, he did so with the intention of pursuing his life-long dream of opening a weaving atelier. The siren call of his native Colombia drew him back from his architectural work in France, and he was eager to incorporate his knowledge of materials, structure, and proportions into his love for textiles. He had no idea he would soon be at the forefront of the design work with innovative, sustainable, sophisticated textiles that would be used in some of the greatest residential and commercial spaces in the world.
One of Hechizoo’s defining characteristics is its innovative use of materials. The integration of indigenous fibers of fique, cumare, silk, wool and leather with metal wire, nylon monofilament and glass revolutionizes the texture and overall effect of the textiles. Lizarazo is committed to obtaining many of these materials locally, and directly from sources that harvest them in sustainable ways. With much of the Colombian countryside having been ravaged by the drug trade, Lizarazo feels a deep sense of responsibility to support industries that respect his beloved landscape.
Lizarazo is also committed to supporting local craftsmen and artisans by hiring them to work in his Bogota atelier. The workshop is a community, and every employee takes great pride in the work they produce. Lizarazo organizes the workshop based on the formula of an haute couture atelier; each worker is responsible for their own specialized task, whether it is weaving, knitting, tufting, embroidering, binding, or finishing a textile.
In addition to supporting the artistic community within his atelier, Lizarazo also commissions products from artisans working in more rural areas of Colombia. By exposing their products to an international audience, enough demand is created for their wares to allow these craftspeople to stay in their homeplaces and continue to hone their trades. With each new commission, they are challenged to bring their traditions into the modern era, a challenge they are eager and willing to meet.
With a foundation firmly rooted in upholding traditional craftsmanship and utilizing native materials from sustainable resources, Hechizoo is devoted to maintaining their mission in the years to come. By reinforcing high standards of quality, finding new resources, teaching skills to artisans, and improving relationships with craftsmen, Hechizoo will continue to push the boundaries of textile art.
It is deeply rewarding to introduce the work to clients for the first time, to see the wonder in their eyes when they first handle the material. Being a dealer in 20th and 21st Century design, I have been especially amazed to see how these textiles from my native Colombia work so well with the design masterpieces from around the world that I am so privileged to work with. From Perriand to Prouve’ to Nakashima to Tenreiro, Hechizoo is always a perfectly modern compliment. I am proud of our collaboration for the past eight years and I am looking forward to continuing this journey with Jorge Lizarazo and Hechizoo.
For more information on Hechizoo, see www.hechizoo.com. Author Cristina Grajales has been a leader and a trend setter in the design market since the inception of her gallery in 2001. An expert in mid-century European and American design, Cristina Grajales also promotes emerging designers working in a variety of media including furniture, lighting, ceramics and textile design.