THE STROY BEHIND OLTEM
Formerly known as OLT, now OLTEM LLC is a very small jewelry brand aiming to support and elevate ancestral design.
We work with indigenous artisans of Colombia, to make one of a kind jewelry pieces designed by both founder of OLTEM Tatiana Toro and the artisans from indigenous communities like Luisa in the photo on the right. Creating a collaboration and partnership where traditional ancestral design meets contemporary design needs. All while supporting indigenous talent in artistry and the ancestral tradition of weaving.
Luisa Fernanda David Acosta
Luisa Fernanda David Acosta (left)
Tatiana Toro (right)
ABOUT THE FOUNDER
Tatiana Toro Started OLTEM in 2019 alongside her cousin Laura Valentina.
Tatiana is an immigrant born in Colombia and raised in NYC with a background in Interior and Architectural Design. Her passion has always been in the art and design world, but she also felt responsible to give aid the her people in Colombia. Specially the communities most vulnerable; indigenous women.
Becoming a mother at the age of 25, catapulted the urge to execute this idea to create OLTEM.
"On my first visit to Colombia, shortly after becoming a mother, I realized how much the indigenous mothers of my country suffer and it is my responsibility to create this for them"
OLTEM currently works with 2 large groups (the entirety of the groups is not shown in photos) of indigenous communities who make most of our beaded accessories. Photos shown on the right are of a group of weavers from the city of Medellin. This group is composed of all ages men and women from different ethnic groups of Colombia such as; Embera Chami, Embera Katio and Inga ethnic groups. These artisans have left their comminity to find employment and also finish their studies in the City of Medellin, Colombia.
Luisa Fernanda David Acosta (seen in all photos above and on the right) is the leader of this group and founder of her own woven jewelry business in Colombia, in which she works with the same group of weavers.
Tatiana alongside Luisa design all of beaded accessories together for OLTEM.
The second group or family of indigenous artisans we collaborate with are Alicia, her daughters and their family members. They also weave most of our beaded Okamas.
Alicia and her family are part of the Embera Chami community located in Risaralda, Colombia, also where founder Tatiana was born.
Alicia is an indigngeous political leader a speaker for her community.
On the left are photographs of Alicia and her daughters weaving Okamas Oro.