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Tassels: It All Started in Peru

I was lucky to travel Peru with two friends over the summer of 2017.


It was on this trip that our first pair of tassel earrings were designed.   


As many traveling this part of South America, the cornerstone of our trip was hiking Machu Picchu. In order to acclimatize to the high altitude before trekking, we first spent a few days in the southwestern region of Cuzco beforehand (sitting at a soaring 11,000 feet above sea level).

Cuzco turned out to be a true trip highlight. Tiny family-owned restaurants lined narrow cobblestone roads, carved wooden balconies hung over Incan wall ruins, the food was delicious and the people were welcoming.
 



On our first Cuzco morning, I stood on an old cobblestone street waiting for my friends to rent hiking boots. I saw a gentle older woman threading bracelets just a few feet away.

 

As I sat down on the curb beside her, she showed me handmade bracelets and anklets that she had woven from alpaca wool. She caught me eyeing a pile of bright red Pom Pom tassels at her feet and handed me a pair. The idea came to me to hold them up to my ears. She smiled. To this day, I’m not sure what she intended to use those tassels for, or if her smile meant that she even liked my idea. Nonetheless, our non-verbal conversation has stayed with me since then. I bought a bracelet from her and went on my way.

 

We later visited San Pedro market, in the heart of Cuzco. A maze of colour, families doing weekly shopping and crowded stalls of local fare, it was here that I bought my first haul of large wool Pom Poms to bring back to Toronto. 



I made the first pair of Pom Pom tassel earrings that summer, and wore them to a friend’s wedding. I've been making custom pairs and collections ever since. 


All four lines of spoken thread tassel earrings - ARO, HILO, NUDO and TEJIDO - are inspired by this very special trip to Peru (and the wonderful woman I met there). They have Spanish names as a small tribute to Peru and its official language.