I have always believed that what you experience and what you see makes you who you are. This couldn't be any more true after my trip to Peru. I learned so much about the culture + history, about the Inca's and their country.
The journey to Machu Picchu alone was a magical one. To arrive at Machu Picchu, you must take a one hour flight from Lima to Cuzco, then a 1.5 hour taxi ride, then an almost 2 hour train ride to Aguas Calientes. One of the most memorable moments for me was the train ride to Aguas Calientes, which takes you into the beautiful passages of Cuzco. Whether I looked to my left or I looked to my right, there was nature all around. As I looked out the window, my eyes followed the height of each mountain peak...they were as high as when I look up at the sun...I felt so small. I began to cry, how could I ever doubt his existence? I couldn't help but think about God's creation and what Jesus meant in Matthew 17:20
We also passed a very long river with an endless flow of water. For a minute the train stopped, we were at a crossroads, allowing another train to pass by. As we waited, there was a young girl, she was holding a bouquet of many different flowers we had seen on the way...she probably picked them herself.
She greeted the passengers on the train, but for a while, she just stood there with her bouquet. I could hear God's quiet whispers, "life is just as beautiful in the stand-still moments". Often times we think "living life to the fullest" means consistently "doing" or "having", but there is such beauty in tranquility. Peace can be a luxury, not everyone has it.
In the small village of Chinchero, I met some of the finest female weavers in Cuzco who taught me all about Inca textiles. I thought about how many times I've walked in Joanne fabrics as I watched them create their own textile from scratch. I was captivated by their unique creativity and purpose in every garment.
Alpacas & llamas are the cutest animals EVER! To take care of them, they keep them in a special area, where their "fur" falls to the ground sticking to twigs, dirt, leaves, etc. Yet if anything, the inca's are resourceful! They basically renew + clean earthly dust bunnies, and the result? Beautiful, bright, cheerful clothing!
Gucci Fall 2017 much? Shopping embroidered artisanal's in Peru is a fashionista's dream! Can we also appreciate this hand-made genuine leather saddle crossbody?
They start off with a plant they call saqta root, which they gather after walking 3-4 miles in the heat of the sun. Low key, they also use this to create "Inca shampoo" and it prevents gray hair. This is the "disinfectant" they use to clean the earthly dust bunnies I told you about, from the alpacas & llama fur. They place it in a bowl with water where they carve the inside over and over, which releases the fibers clean, but also stick to the fur they then drain in a bowl of straw after washing it multiple times. The overall result is a ball of fibers, sort of like a cotton ball. Then comes the pushka or wooden drop spindle, setting up the yarn!
They dye the yarn by extracting colors from various plants like corn, leaves, moss, etc. My favorite is the color red, extracted from a pear cactus. It's completely unexpected because the plant is green and white! They boil the yarn in water mixed with the colors to then begin creating. They weave for hours, days, sometimes months, with bones and sticks.
What struck me the most, all of the designs and print come from the artist's mind. There is no sketchbook, they are inspired by culture, nature, animals, and each other. Ancient traditions and unique craftsmanship that has marked me forever...
Embroidered belt @Peru
Genuine Leather saddle crossbody @Peru