We met in her workshop, part of her own house, and we were there for a while.
I couldn’t believe the conversation that took place in that space! Both unexpected and natural. And it’s that today’s protagonist “didn’t hold back” at talking to me. I am not going to tell you everything she told me, because that stays between us, or at least that’s what I understood.
The thing is that a few days ago, I met Miren or Kekelis, because it makes no difference, they are one and the same. Do you want to know who I’m talking about? You just have to keep reading.
The truth is that I’ve been following Kekelis on social media for a while, specifically Instagram, and I really wanted to meet her in person. Said and done, because when I finally was able to send her a message, it didn’t take us more than a few days to meet. That’s something to appreciate. That’s Kekelis, in other words, Miren Begoña Del Castillo Garza.
Even though right now she’s dedicated to designing jewels and craftwork, as a job, Miren is a plants researcher and molecular biologist. In fact, she has worked like that in prestigious research centers such as the Spanish CSIC (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas) or the French INRA (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique), studying from the sustainable use of fertilizers to the environmental stresses tolerance such as heavy-metal salinity or toxicity. But life, which goes round more than we think, Miren’s values and her professional ethics, made her redirect her work-life towards jewel design and creation (one of her passions); of course, focusing on science and plants, her subject of study for many years and her second passion.
“My work, my passion, because that’s what has to fulfill me”, Miren says.
That’s when in 2015 Miren finally managed to put together her two passions, plants and jewels, creating very beautiful and well-cared works of art with her own hands.
“I don’t have any artistic training, I’m self-taught, but my scientific knowledge and my character as a researcher have helped me manage everything from the most traditional techniques of working with precious metals, to the use of materials like resins, silicones, polymer clay, difficult processed natural materials or the metal oxidation through chemical reactions with products found in every kitchen.”
In more than one occasion I’ve spoken about the importance of training in the entrepreneurial adventure and Miren is one of those people who has an exceptional education. Not in vain, in addition to her studies in prestigious centers, Miren had one of the prestigious Marie Curie scholarships which allowed her to study abroad in high performance centers, even though she confesses that the training she got from the UPV as a biochemist was the best one.
Here you have a video where Miren explains in Spanish what Kekelis is.
Here are some of Miren’s words she uses to explain what she makes for US:
“Using my experience in microscopy with plant material, I transform waste I take from nature, especially plants like algae, moss, ferns or lichen recycled from bins in beaches or from the mountain pruning in my surroundings, in jewelry pieces. I like to say that I encapsulate my memories, but what really gives meaning to my work is encapsulating yours. Making a personal jewel out of a flower of a wedding bouquet, a stone from a trip, the sand of your favorite beach, a memory, or an emotion. That’s why I mainly work by commission, with sentimental materials, those everyone keeps in their treasure box. Natural stones, precious or not, those not many jewelers work with. Once in my hands, we design together a custom suit that will preserve it forever”.
Miren, as you know, “the best is yet to come”, although, sometimes, it takes us longer than we want to harvest; so, please, keep creating the special jewels you create, so we can wear them every day.
You ALREADY know what’s to showcase your jewels in important museums, so when people discover you on the streets, they will be aware of how lucky they are to know you.
If you want more information about Miren, you can get in touch with her directly by sending her an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or writing or calling her to 661 440 055.
We’ll see each other in a couple of weeks, before the less normal holidays to date. Enjoy these days.