JONATHAN
+ PERU

From pottery to hand-loomed pillows and rugs, many of our products are meticulously crafted by artisans in Peru. Here, JA recounts his first trip to Peru—and how that first date blossomed into a design marriage.

My love affair with Peru was a very happy accident. Twenty years ago, I was a full-time production potter and needed help desperately. As the orders stacked up, I found Aid to Artisans, a brilliant non-profit that connects American designers with craftspeople in developing countries.

At the time, I was so mired in clay I barely knew where Peru was. I hadn’t thought about the world outside of my studio in about three years. When I landed in Lima, I found paradise: a beautiful country, amazing food, and fabulous people who just happened to be brilliant and committed crafts folk.

"Peru helped me find my soul, and let loose a seemingly endless well of inspiration."

I went there to work on a few pots and ended up staying for about a month, due in no small part to ceviche, pollo like no other, and, of course, the beach. (Los Pulpos, outside of Lima, remains one of my favorite beaches.) I surrendered to the laid back vibes of the country, which is saying a lot as I’m a pretty high-strung potter.

I’m so thankful I did. During that blissed out time I met more artisans who were steeped in the tradition and history of weaving and pottery. As I learned more and more about Peruvian artisanship, the more and more I was inspired to create.

"I found fabulous people who just happened to be brilliant and committed crafts folk."

Over the years my love affair with the country has evolved into a very happy marriage. In addition to pots, our incredibly talented partners in Peru produce hand-loomed pillows, rugs, and throws. The soulfulness of Peru comes through in every piece.

"By learning their time-tested techniques my collaborations in Peru unfurled. "

Many of our Peruvian pieces are quite simple—elemental pillows, nature-inspired pots, and classically influenced rugs perfectly made by talented hands who have practiced these crafts for generations. I define my work as Modern American Glamour, but the one word missing from that moniker is “soulful.” Peru helped me find my soul, and let loose a seemingly endless well of inspiration. It has been a mind-expanding reminder to chill and let the world unfold.

"The soulfulness of Peru comes through in every piece."