Errant its a journey encapsulated in a gem.
My name is Rafael Rios-Mathioudakis, Im the jewelry designer and maker of Errant. I was born and raised in Guatemala City in Central America. I’m a professional photographer, educator, and a jewelry maker. I devoted my education in Argentina to becoming a commercial photographer. In order to maintain my life in Buenos Aires I started to sell prints of my own photographs in different street markets. Latino America has a rich history of artisans selling their crafts and art in the street markets. As I became friend with some of the best craftsmen and artisans in Buenos Aires I became interested in Jewelry.
After I finished my education in Argentina I returned to Guatemala for a short time to build my commercial photography business. From Guatemala I was able to build a successful business working with national and international brands taking product shots, advertising, and fashion photography. However my time in Argentina peaked my interest in traveling. I became interested in traveling more broadly around Latin America. In 2013 I decided to set out on a series of adventurous documentary photography projects dedicated to capturing the diversity of experience of Latinos. I believed my images could be used across Latino America to bring awareness of the social issues shared by so many countries.
As I set out on a Journey to explore Mexico I met my first jewelry mentor in San Jose del Cabo, Baja California. Javier Campos, a traditional Mexican silversmith, used an air bellow torch to create his jewelry. From Javier I learned the basics of silversmith from melting the materials, stretching wires of silver, creating pieces from wire, setting stones, reticulating sheets of silver, and casting objects using the lost wax casting technique. My earliest work reflected many of these techniques although this skill set now serves as the foundation of my filigree practice. After Mexico I set out to Colombia where I documented different ancestral festivities and taught photography workshops.
While admiring the goldsmith work of the ancient Tairona people in the Museum of Gold in Santa Marta on this contry I was invited to visit Mompox to see the work made by contemporary jewelers. The small town of Mompox is next to the Magdalena river and has a long colonial history connected to the extraction of gold from the Andes.
During the colonial times the Spanish sent some of the most talented jewelry makers to this area to prepare jewelry pieces for the royal family and the catholic church. The art of filigree has remained in Mompox since then. I sought to find the most talented teacher and was received as the apprentice for Eligio Rojas. Eligio shares the name of the patron saint of all goldsmith and silversmith. Because of the weather conditions in Mompox and the intensity with which Eligio works I learned a lot of skills but became fatigued. I stopped to making jewelry to focus instead on different photographic projects.
After 3 years and a half of traveling I met my wife here in San Diego, California. We got married in 2016 and we decide to make our base here in San Diego. After years of adventuring I have finally found the time to unpack all the treasures I collected on my journeys and create Errant my jewelry brand also I am the founder of the Ojo Creativo project which provides bilingual photography classes to young people in San Diego and Latin America. Now I divide my work between my photographic projects and my metalsmith practices.