The Story of My Peruvian Scarf

The Story of My Peruvian Scarf

Stumbling upon Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco in Peru after a visit to a local market only seems like yesterday, not the two years that have passed.  I still recall carefully inspecting the bright textiles and beautiful patterns that seemed to be in every direction that I looked.  I had heard of the organization before I visited their store, but hadn’t expected to visit in person any day soon.  Luckily I was wrong and I explored every inch of the small museum and available products.  I had been looking for something to bring home from Peru that would reflect the culture, but nothing had caught my eye and I yearned to find something I knew would be authentic, not another tourist trap or from a store claiming to be fair trade.  After deciding on a scarf of purple and deep reds, I felt proud of my choice, but upon returning home I didn’t seek the opportunity to wear it much.  It can be easy to tuck our travel souvenirs away in favor of clothes we wear all the time, but recently I’m determined to wear this accessory.  Why?  To share the beautiful craftsmanship and history of this scarf.  After all, this was the reason I was careful in selecting it; I wanted to share a piece of Peruvian life. Continue Reading ›

Cultural Appreciation vs. Cultural Appropriation

Cultural Appreciation vs Cultural Appropriation

If there’s one thing I always strive for in my travels, observations of fashion and appreciation of art, it’s discovering and sharing the cultural meaning behind my experiences.  Cultural heritage, as you’ve seen from my previous blogs, is an important aspect of everything I have done in life.  Whether it’s my latest jewelry project, sewing endeavor or world adventure, I’m always seeking the story and meaning behind what I’m doing.  As I’ve been reshaping my blog and focusing more on culture, one concept came across my path that had me thinking about my past actions: cultural appropriation.  What exactly is cultural appropriation?  As it turns out, the question is incredibly difficult to answer.  The clearest definition I had gotten was from About.com: “. . . [C]ultural appropriation typically involves members of a dominant group exploiting the culture of less privileged groups.”  The definition got me thinking: Was my childhood involvement with local Native American groups at Pow-Wows cultural appropriation?  Have the craft projects I’ve featured on my blog been disrespectful to the cultures I gained the skills from?  When was I showing appreciation?  Or was it appropriation?  In order to gain some insights into how to decipher my future actions, here are a few questions I’ve found from other bloggers to help guide me and others when it comes to travel and fashion choices: Continue Reading ›

Lessons from Living in a Small Town

Lessons from Living in a Small Town

Growing up in a small town in southern Utah, one thought always crossed my mind: “I can’t wait to get out of here.”  The confines of my hometown combined with perspectives that didn’t seem to go beyond those boundaries only made me more anxious.  It was obvious I didn’t fit in, and at times I wondered if I ever would.  I had dreams of big cities and bright, colorful lights in the night sky.  I yearned to live somewhere with a few close friends rather than a place where everyone knew everything about me without really knowing me.  My whole life I had lived in and gone to school in small towns in Utah and Colorado, so when I held my college diploma in my hands and headed to Denver, I thought the city life would be just what I needed all these years.  Looking at the tall buildings as I drove along 1-25, I thought this was the start to my life in cities and that it would only continue to get better in bigger places.  However, after a few months I realized the city was not everything I thought it would be.  My realization wasn’t that I yearned to return to small town life, it was that small town life had more insights to offer than I understood.  Now that I’ve lived in both large cities, medium-sized towns and small off-the-wall locations, there are few valuable lessons I’ve come to understand from those littler-known spots on the map: Continue Reading ›

Mother’s Day Around the World

Mother's Day Around the World

It’s that time of year to show that special someone just how much you honor them.  It’s Mother’s Day this weekend, and you’re probably wondering how you’ll show your mom how much you’re grateful for the times she fed you, gave you a shoulder to cry on and continually told you, “Everything’s going to be alright.  And if it’s not, I’m always here for you.”  Whether you’re celebrating with gifts of carnations or roses or cooking Mom breakfast in bed, today is a time to show Mom how much you care, and the rest of the world agrees.  To see how much everyone cares about Moms, take a look at how different parts of the world show their love. Continue Reading ›

Native American Heritage at the Natural History Museum of Utah

Native American Heritage at the Natural History Museum of Utah

Like most elementary age children in the United States, I remember learning about my state’s history, main agriculture, state bird and numerous facts about how the state was established.  As I grew up, my memory changed when I made my way to Colorado and all that remained of my Utah knowledge was of beehives, seagulls and pioneers.  All of that changed when I paid a visit to the Natural History Museum of Utah, and began to relive the memories beyond those of my middle school classroom.  Walking outside of the popular and current Gecko exhibit, past the displays of gems and minerals and beyond the exhibits of Utah’s weather, one place in particular called my attention.  A gallery of Native American art, crafts and history welcomed me in and before I knew it I was taken back to my childhood where my dad had taken me to Pow-wows and numerous activities with local tribes in southern Utah.  Many times I had asked my dad, “What happened to the Native Americans after the settlers came in?  Where are they now?”  It’s a difficult question, but this section at the Natural History Museum of Utah gave me a few answers. Continue Reading ›