As we continue with the Awasi Artist Immersion programme, we speak to jewellery designer Angela Bulich who recently stayed at Awasi Iguazu, our Relais & Chateaux lodge in the Atlantic Rainforest.

Angela Bulich in the Atlantic Rainforest, Argentina. Photo by Matt Banahan

From biologist to jeweller

Unafraid to make her own path in life, Angela’s studies were in Biological Sciences. She began making jewellery almost 10 years ago.

“I wouldn’t call myself a traditional jeweller,” she says.

“Everything I know about the craft I learned backwards. Beginning making jewellery as art, creating sculptural jewellery, experimentally. Then I learned the more technical skills needed to make fine pieces that last lifetimes.” 

Angela in her villa at Awasi Iguazu, Northern Argentina. Photo by Matt Banahan

Immersion in Iguazu

Angela and her photographer partner, Matt Banahan (all photos in this article are thanks to Matt) travelled to Northern Argentina to live the Awasi experience

“Everybody experiences travel in their own way,” says Angela. “I wanted to see and experience as much as I could, as many animals and plants, and as much information as possible.”

“I like the idea of losing the details and keeping the essence, the magical subtleness of the trip which will come through into the work.” – Angela Bulich. Photo by Matt Banahan

Not just those on our artist immersion programme, but every guest at Awasi has a bespoke and private experience.

A private guide and 4×4 vehicle is dedicated to each of the 14 villas at our three lodges, and guests create their own schedule based on their personal interests.

My goal was to capture native and endemic species, and really embrace the biodiversity of the region,” says Angela, “and I have to say again this is where our guides were so instrumental having eyes and ears open at all times.”

Angela and Matt explored with their private guide and 4×4 vehicle. Photo by Matt Banahan

Design, nature & art

Angela’s brand is called LSM which stands for “leather, stone and metal”, and is dedicated to her limited-edition jewellery collections based on sculptural designs that interpret nature, art and lifestyle.

“I am fascinated by rustic natural materials forged by time,” says the designer. “Materials that were created through time, and continue to last and endure“.

“…these small poetic moments are really what that trip was about for me. I found myself really inspired by the forest floor and the different levels of microclimates within the forest at large.”

Photo by Matt Banahan

The designer’s process during her stay at Awasi Iguazu started with note taking and journaling.

“My ideas about responsibility, sustainability and quality really fit with those at Awasi,” explains Angela. “I want to create a collection inspired by the biodiversity, to honour this special region of the world, so people can take home a piece of Awasi without leaving a trace.”

Taking care not to disturb the natural environment, she then started gathering trimmings, fallen flowers, loose ferns and dried bamboo. 

Angela gathered pieces of nature from her excursions to use their forms in her art. Photo by Matt Banahan

From detail to essence

“I started using organic foliage,” explains Angela.

“Laying out designs using my stones and the leaves. And sort of bending/shaping the leaves into structures that can be used as parts if they were later replicated in metal.”

One such piece is a brass fern, perfectly forged to mimic the living equivalents that scatter the forest floor around the hotel.

A brass fern replica, in its natural setting. Photo by Matt Banahan

“We looked for a piece of foliage that had a torn leaf, and photographed it with the jewellery fern replacement – a borrowed moment. We brought the fern home, and it will become a necklace”.

Angela contemplating life at Awasi Iguazu. Photo by Matt Banahan

Angela and Matt work together. Matt takes the photographs, Angela creates the jewellery.

They complement each other’s work.

“Visual language, photography and visual communication is imperative to my craft,” says Angela. “And to have someone understand you and able to parlay that into a photographic story is so powerful.”

For the couple, telling the story is just as important as the craft itself.

Awasi Artist Immersion at Iguazu, Argentina. Photo by Matt Banahan

I’m so inspired by Matt’s photography and the way he captures every day moments with sophistication, discernment and intention,” says Angela. “I’m inspired to translate that same sentiment with my jewellery with Awasi.”

Mutual admiration is core to the couple’s collaboration process. 

“She’s creating jewellery as art,” says Matt, “functional pieces you can wear and use, can take on a trip, get it all dirty in the clay and mud but it withstands.” 

Angela on a private excursion, out in the elements at the Yacau-i Creek. Photo by Matt Banahan.

The Awasi-inspired collection by LSM will have 12 to 14 pieces – a variety of rings, earrings, necklaces – each piece made-to-order, limited collections, and single edition designs.

“I like the idea of taking certain forms from nature, my own artistic liberties and creating something new,” says Angela.

“Borderline fantasy, I want to create something that isn’t real because you cant beat natural beauty.” 

Angela sought inspiration in the natural world surrounding Awasi Iguazu. Photo by Matt Banahan

During their stay, Angela and Matt visited the Wanda Mine in Missiones. 

The collection will feature stones sourced directly from local mines.

I like that metals are regenerative, recyclable and transmutive,” says Angela. “That stones are forever, cherished, and symbolic of the treasures nature gifted us.”

Leandro and Amalin were the couple’s private guides.

Leandro is also a biologist by degree (Angela also studied biology).

“I’m so excited to create something with the stones I found there. I sourced quartz and amethyst from the mine. Amalin is from the area and worked at the mine as a guide before Awasi, it was so special to be shown around by her. Also, we drove by her grandma’s house so we stopped in so she could say hi.” 

Essence, magic & biodiversity

“We did everything we possibly could.” says Matt. “We were at Awasi Iguazu for 5 nights and thought we would have plenty of time to explore and relax, but it flew by!”

Ove the coming months, Angela will be working on a limited collection of jewellery inspired by the essence, magic, and rich biodiversity of the jungle that she experienced with Awasi. 

“LSM and Awasi immediately connected on our beliefs that nature, art and travel are inextricably connected as our sources for expansive livelihoods,” says Angela. “And that these privileges—fine things of quality and value—come with a responsibility.”

The LSM x Awasi collection is expected spring 2024.