Sigfrido “Sigi” Pineda (1929 – ) Known affectionately as ‘Sigi’, Pineda has continued to practice his artisanship well into the 21st Century. A native of Taxco, he may be one of its last, great historic artists. Still producing jewelry and new designs, he was ten years old when he began working in a small Taxco workshop.
At age 12, he started working with the Castillos. In a 2000 conversation, he told interviewer, Javier Olivares, “This is where I learned to work the metal. And in three years, I became a Master at the Castillo’s.”
At fifteen, he left Taxco, traveled and worked extensively throughout Mexico. At nineteen, he returned to Taxco and began his association with the great, Mexican designer and artist, Margot de Taxco. After four years, he left her workshop to open his own called, “Plateros.”
It was quickly renamed, “Sigi” when, unbeknownst to him, a brother anonymously submitted one of Sigi’s pieces to a national competition sponsored by William Spratling (“The Father of Mexican Silver”). The piece took top honors. It was Spratling’s next day visit to Sigi’s shop that forged a decades- long friendship between the two men that endured until Spratling’s untimely death in the late 1960’s.
While working at Margot’s, he was among those who pioneered Margot’s enameling techniques and who taught this craft to her artisans while overseeing her workshop. After opening his shop, Sigi received a scholarship that gave him the chance to further his travels. He visited Washington, DC, New York, New England and more.
In his long and illustrious career, Sigi opened shops in Mexico City and San Miguel de Allende. Also known for his sense of humor, Sigi’s mark included the intentionally misspelled word, “Tasco” because he says this is how many Americans pronounce it.
According to expert, Penny Morrill, “[Sigi’s] designs appear closer to international styles and trends than the work of his native contemporaries. Organic modernism was the prevailing aesthetic style when Sigi began designing and he applied it to silver with imagination. The shapes of his jewelry are simplified, smooth, and organic. The edges and surfaces are gentle and slow-moving. All parts are integrated into the one composition.”
After an automobile accident the 1970’s that left him seriously injured, Sigi stopped working for a long time. He returned to designing at age 70.
In 2012, he shared some of his recent designs and prototypes with Anned Muse, a long time collector and admirer of Sigi’s work. She writes, “[His] current work is mostly done using the lost wax method. … Pieces are constructed so that one necklace [becomes] four necklaces. Pins [can] become pendants or…part of a necklace. The work has always been simple and often focused on the layers of silver casting. He often uses niello, a black metallic alloy of sulphur, copper, silver, and lead used on metal to darken areas.”
Several pieces also include wood. In one piece, the wood forms the bodies of two doves at the center. Muse writes, “It is not a piece of jewelry for the shy [but] for someone who wants to make an entrance!”
Never shy himself, Sigi freely admits his love of women. He often states that women have always been his most important inspiration. “I am always thinking of women when I start a piece,” he explains.Sell Sigfrido “Sigi” Pineda All Artists