Rich textures embossed in lustrous leather border the surface of a lovely coffee table. Handcrafted from mohena wood, a hardwood similar to mahogany, it stands on gracefully curved legs with a convenient lower shelf. Abel Ríos finds a theme in Spanish colonial furniture for this lovely design.
"At the age of 16, I joined my brother's workshop to learn to work with leather. At 21, I set up my own workshop and began to create the wood and leather designs that I am known for. I love the history that I am able to bring to my work. Since colonial times, leather and wood have been combined to create many practical and decorative pieces of furniture and art. My style is distinct and detailed. I use motifs from Peruvian culture and my workshop is known for quality. I love this art and enjoy teaching my workers the skills that were generously taught to me. Many of my workers have gone on to open their own workshops. This gives me pleasure. This is how we keep the art alive."
"I have found great success with Novica. I am now an established artisan and my work is sold around the world. I have the life I once imagined but, most importantly, I have made my family secure. My children are educated and they work with me - together we bring our love of Peruvian history and craft to a respected family project."
Abel no longer shares the rented patio with his chickens - the site of his first workshop. Today, the Rios family has bought that house and built a four story workshop on the adjacent land. They employ other artisans to help meet the international demand for their handcrafted products.
Abel is determined to give back - to share the good fortune that he has found. He employs two people who have thrived in the supportive environment his workshop provides. His assistant is intellectually challenged and one of his wood carvers is profoundly deaf.
Abel now has several full-time assistants.