For the young Dilia Salvador it was marbles. She was the only girl playing, but she was good and routinely beat all the boys, until her collection of marbles filled two bags. In one bag was her workhorse competition gear, in the other the special marbles she treasured too much to lose.
Later it was river rocks, then petro glyphs, then beaded scarves, and at present she is fascinated in clay totems like stacked beads. Dilia finds inspiration for her jewelry in nature, in folk art, in other cultures, and loves working in many mediums.
Dilia attended an applied art school at the University of Chile that was based on the ideas of the Bauhaus. They believed in making utilitarian things that were beautiful, a wonderful discipline and training, she feels. It was here that she learned to create abstract forms from reality. She can look at anything and envision it as a form for jewelry. This is the fun part of her craft, designing and creating. She feels no distractions while doing this and is in touch with the spirit of life. The practical part of making jewelry intrigues her less, but she works hard to improve her technical prowess. Ideas make ideas, she says, and believes in the collective consciousness of working and sharing. She would someday love to teach not only how to make things, but how to market them in this spirit.
Her very first project as a novice was making her own wedding bands. This involved her learning about ingots, alloys, soldering and all aspects of silver-smithing the old fashioned way. She worked in a jewelry factory, took many classes to perfect her craft and finally got her own tools. She appreciates knowing how to work metal from scratch and the understanding it brought her, but is now happy she can buy her supplies from someone else.
Dilia has always made a living designing jewelry but now feels a change in direction is in the making for her. Fabricating jewelry can be tough on the body, especially the fumes created by soldering and polishing. The jewelry business has changed in the last few years, with the advent of cheaper jewelry available from all over the world, so its tougher to earn a living at it. Dilia also enjoys playing more now than she did when she often worked 16 hours a day, and is taking so much pleasure in doing all the things she never had time to do before.
It is interesting that Dilia does not like to wear any of her beautiful creations. She finds it uncomfortable and like an advertisement, and doesnt like the attention it inevitably draws to her. She would rather go un-noticed. She couldnt be happier, however, than when her jewelry gives others excitement and pleasure.
Dilia is a member of the Boulder Arts and Crafts Cooperative, which she joined as a jeweler in 1981. She helps keep us international. Since 1990 she has bounced back and forth between the USA and Chile so often that she is often hard to find! She wants to keep on traveling forever, she says, and finding inspiration and freedom wherever she is. Una vida bonita, Dilia!