"I'm Diego Ortiz and I work in leather and craft jewelry. <br><br>
"I consider myself a persistent person in the face of all the difficulties life presents. When making decisions, I always try to stay calm and not lose my head. I'm honest and hardworking ? it seems there's never a time when I can say I'm through for the day. <br><br>
"In the university, I studied international commerce. I didn't study to become a designer but I became one. It was love at first sight! I've always liked leather and was constantly crafting something with leather but I didn't know how to begin. And I didn't have any money, either. So I began by making something small and basic ? bracelets. <br><br>
"In my family, no one has ever worked in anything like leather or jewelry. When I set up my workshop, no one believed in me at first. It took years of work to change this negativity and skepticism. <br><br>
"Working on my own has been quite a challenge but I know I'd never exchange long days of hard work doing something I love for checking a time clock in some business setting. <br><br>
"My father always told me 'the sun rises every day for everyone.' So I've never wanted to turn to untrustworthy ways of doing things, not even with my competitors. No. Day by day, I try to be coherent in this way. What we do in my workshop is to support our people, to pay the artisans who help me more than the going rate. In this way, I feel I am helping them to have a better quality of life. <br><br>
"The artisans and I learn together. Having ruined a number of designs has served to show me my errors so that I can correct them and improve the quality of my work. I select the very best materials. And I recycle the leather scraps leftover from my work so that nothing is wasted. <br><br>
"As far as design is concerned, I seek perfection and harmony. My inspiration comes from practically everything I see ? the style of old Mexican haciendas, Greek mythology and pre-Hispanic art ? among many other themes. <br><br>
"I think what I enjoy the most is the infinity of things you can create. Every time I develop a new design, I immediately see a way I could add something or remove something and transform it into a completely new design. <br><br>
"My dream is to grow as a designer, as an artisan and as a person. But at the same time, I want everyone who contributes to this workshop to grow with me."
In the Andes, the Land of the Four Corners, mountains are sacred. So is culture. The Nazca lines, the Wari glyphs, the Quipu knots and the complex multi-colored textiles of the Incas are all recorded and live on the work of contemporary Peruvian artisans.