Bespoke Letterpress

Aug 30
:: the colours and my pattern addiction ::

Life & Love, Travel

“Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this?
No. Just as one can never learn how to paint.” ― Pablo Picasso

Thanks to everyone for hanging in there these last few weeks during the awful malware disruption to our website. A huge hug & thank-you goes out to Ghostly Ferns for coming to our rescue! Now continuing on with more photos from Peru … These are truly some of my favorites. I have a weakness for colour, natural fiber and of course Alpacas & Llamas. The Andes are filled with a great diversity of plant life and the Andean people have a rich knowledge of the use of these plants for medicines, and for dying their cloth. The demand created by foreign tourists {me} for ‘natural’ handmade products, has meant that the Peruvian people are now placing much greater importance on the use of natural dyes, and the preservation of their ancient traditional skills. Red is a very important colour to the Andean people. Since ancient times, red has been the brightest and most highly-saturated colour that could be produced with natural dyes. This fact, coupled with the peoples’ innate love for bright colour, has led to red playing a dominant role in the palate of traditional Andean cloth. Cochineal is the most commonly used substance for the production of red dye. It is a scale insect {relative of the aphid} found on the prickly pear cactus, which is common to the Sacred Valley. The insect is ground using stones or mortar and pestle to release the deep red pigment, which is then added to water and boiled as the basis of the dying process. Additives are used in with cochineal to adjust the hue. I learned that lemon salt is commonly added to change the red to shades of pink, purple and more, it is amazing to watch! There are other substances that are used to produce red such as, Achancaray, and the roots of Chapi-Chapi (a relative of Old World Madder), which was used in ancient Peru I was told.  I was lucky enough to bring some natural dyes home with me and hope to use them soon for some “pops” of color in future design projects, stay tuned. What are your favorite colour combinations in nature?

Aug 20
:: the markets ::

Life & Love, Travel

chocolate I was on a quest for chocolate and coffee beans. Something that is so very plentiful here in Colorado! I wanted the “real” thing and luckily I found it. I absolutely loved the short time I spent at the San Pedro Market. I happened to stumble upon this huge market near downtown Cusco, and what a find! Row after row of textiles, followed by rows of butchers market_collage

(Not being a meat eater, I, as with most Americans are certainly not used to seeing pigs heads, entrails, and organ meats prominently displayed!), then fruits & vegetables, cheeses, chocolates, coffee, and in the back were dozens of restaurants.  I never did figure out what that brush was for by the pigs heads, hummmm….. The vendors greeted me like we were long lost friends and I did not even speak the native language, but am a good smiler + pointer!  What a wonderful experience. Think of it as the ultimate farmers market. Meat, veggies, fruits, herbs with a huge fresh juice section as well as a massive section in the rear where vendors cook and sell food. Great opportunity to get amongst the locals, finally.  Some fantastic photo opportunities. They also have wonderful, dirt cheap 100% cocoa chocolate. My mission was complete and I found some beautifully packaged chocolate with stunning hand illustrated labels, a designers dream! I also came to find out coffee beans were rare due to the fact that most people do not own a coffee grinder. Not far from the Plaza de Armas, across the street from San Pedro church and San Pedro train station. The mercado was certainly a fantastic place to spend an hour, I wish I had the entire day, but I was so nervous I would not remember how to get back to the hotel + my entire group would continue on without me. It was a great adventure! What is your favorite “home” or “abroad” market?

Aug 19
deep in the peruvian amazon

Life & Love, Travel
amazon The trip by the Madre de Dios (“river snake”) to Corto Maltes Amazonia, is very beautiful. Two weeks ago life was pretty excellent waking up in a comfortable bed, fully refreshed and ready for the day. I was really in the Peruvian Amazon! It was hot. It was humid. It was muggy. Then again, life is extra good when waking up to hear the lyrical sounds of birds, munching peccaries, and other amazing creatures across a rainforest canopy. In other words, one gets a new an appreciation of color when the surrounding hues are reflected in the trees, water, and sky — a new appreciation of life when waking up with the rainforest. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Climbing lots and lots of stairs is typical in the Amazon as the water level fluctuates almost thirty feet from the rainy season to dry. The boats typical of the jungle are pekepeke, with its engine characteristic long tail to navigate in waters with little depth. It was truly the wildlife that rendered the Amazon most memorable for me, such as seeing the capybara’s strong paws up close while in our pekepeke, flocks of macaws streaming through the morning sky, the Cormorant figuring out its next move, the grand looking Toucans, the peccaries looking for grub, the smiling caiman, the big torantula who patiently posed for his perfect shot, or the leafcutter ants marching along in perfect lines.


But there’s something about being surrounded by massive trees and gorgeous tropical flowers (such as this colorful heliconia) that feels very primal to me, like a real-life version of the Indiana Jones movies. I also had the chance to enjoy panoramic views from an observation tower above the canopy, saw a giant otter and other unique wildlife. A day would not be complete without a delicious, hot lunch served up in one of the ubiquitous and huge tree leaves in the area…. let’s just say I did not starve on this trip! The Peruvian Amazon offered a precious and potent reminder of the importance of environmental preservation. Next time I see the Star Fruit at our local market I will remember them growing right outside our quaint Amazonian thatched roof hut. Have you ever eaten one?

From the tree of silence hands the fruit of tranquility ::  Peruvian Proverb

Aug 18

Life & Love, Travel

“Adventure is worthwhile.” – Aristotle 

Calling this a once in a lifetime experience is probably understating it! Peru was alive. Look at us, surrounding and immersing ourselves in it was energizing and truly inspiring for me. Even though it was only for a couple of weeks once in my lifetime. I took a lot of pictures and mini videos, a lot {Ahem…} about 1500. Sifting through them now, I should have taken more. I will be posting a lot of pictures of this Peru Adventure in the next little while.  I am feeling pretty good about taking out most of our 3491 friends that we shared Machu Picchu with this splendid day! If you have ever ventured to Peru I would love to hear some highlights of your Adventure.

Aug 5
trail magic = unique happiness

Life & Love
trail_magicOur first encounter with “Trail Magic” took place last year while heading down to Breckenridge from spectacular Georgia Pass. Everything was so perfect that day, the weather held, the Llamas were walking with a skip in their step, Moose loved the chill in the air and we both enjoyed the 360 degree views.  Then it happened: our very first box of Trail Magic — It’s what happens when kind-hearted people extend unsolicited acts of generosity to bedraggled long-distance hikers {us}. To be on the receiving end is heavenly, you cannot believe how good a pop tastes above 11,000 feet, along with a little bag of salty chips! This year our Trail Magic surprise greeted us at Tennessee Pass. The story goes something like this: In summer, Leadville local “Wild Bill” Clower stocks a bin of sodas, snacks, and supplies just north of the US 24 trail crossing. We all thank you Wild Bill, Frito Lay Cheetos NEVER EVER tasted SO GOOD!