Telma Oliveira: A Feature Editorial

At first glance, Telma Oliveira’s wearable creations seem to be a reflection of the digital age. Her necklaces and bracelets are reminiscent of a tasteful mess of wires, similar to the tangle of phone and iPod chargers that have probably found a nest in your car’s cup holder or the top drawer of your desk. However, the cords Telma uses for her work date back much further than the dawn of the Information Age. The wires are atadeiro cords, and their primary purpose is in Portugal’s vineyards, where they bind grape vines to their supporting structures.

Telma says that her work “combines innovation and tradition, manual work to industrial production.” Her creations require us to step out of our usual focus on the future of industry and instead reflect on its past, which constitutes the present for the many people whose lives still revolve around manual labor. And since viniculture is such a fastidious and venerable duty, it is unlikely to be modernized any time soon. People want wine that has a story behind it, wine that they know will taste uniquely delicious depending on the year’s harvest. Telma’s pieces aim to embody this uniqueness. She says, “All these experiences result in limited collections with exclusive brand design.”

Telma was born and raised in Porto, Portugal and holds a master’s degree in architecture, so transforming a vinicultural raw material into a masterpiece may have been a stretch for most of us, but not for her. The artist has been exploring contemporary jewelry since 2012, and she founded her brand Wek, which stands for Wearable Compliments, in July 2014. The word “wearable” is fitting – the pieces are definitely statements, but they are casual enough to pair with a t-shirt and jeans. In fact, Wek jewelry is meant to be worn every day. The soft atadeiro wires absorb odors and will eventually begin to reflect the unique perfume of their owner. The cords can also be twisted and tangled by the wearer for a variety of looks. To own a Wek accessory is to own a piece of wearable art with a rich history that continually evolves to fit you – definitely cooler than your cell phone chargers.

Where to find Wek:

Website // Shop

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Photo credit: Scar-ID Store

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Laura is a journalism student at George Mason University. She usually speaks in abbreviations. She has been told she "reads too much." If you don't recognize her, it's because she changed her hair color.