Wednesday, November 10, 2010

An Early November Update

November 9th, 2010

I recently completed my third shopping trip for jewellery-making supplies in Lima, Peru. It was very enjoyable. I got more of the materials I had bought before, but wanted more of, including jump rings, since I had already used most of what I bought before! I also bought a variety of wire in different colours, and I can’t wait to use them!

I went shopping with Gaby, who was nervous about going alone, since she had never gone there by herself before. We found our way there and back fine, so that was great! It involved taking two buses and a lot of walking.

After going shopping on Saturday I have taken inventory of my purchases and started making some more jewellery! I have limited tools here (two pairs of flat nosed pliers), so I’m limited in what I can make. I also don’t have things like beading wire, string, clasps, crimp beads, crimpers, wire cutters, etc. So, that’s made me get creative with the materials and tools I do have. It’s been an interesting process! I’ve done a lot of chainmaille-type jewellery with jump rings, and have partially assembled a lot of earrings and pendants that will later get earring hooks and chains.

I’m able to buy so many materials here because when I came to Peru I came with one suitcase for me, and one suitcase full of donations for children in Ecuador and Peru. So, then I had an empty suitcase just begging to be filled with beads and other supplies! I’m not sure if and when I will be able to get back to Peru, so the supplies I get on this trip have to last me a while! So, if anyone has requests of certain colours or types of beads they would like jewellery made from, feel free to contact me about it! I try to get a variety of colours and shapes, especially of the vegetable ivory (tagua) that I buy, since that seems to be a popular seller, but supplies are next to impossible to buy outside of Latin America.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Shopping Adventure Numero Dos

Well, I knew that shopping for beads in Lima would be different from in Canada, but this last trip was quite interesting.

The trip was great, to begin with. I found a lot of new beads that I have never seen before. I found some nice stone pendants in quartz, turquoise, something called "serpentina," and many more. I also found some interesting beads that kind of look like amber. I found lots of jump rings, and lots more tagua. I spent hours in the shops, having a blast, but having to carry bags of heavy beads around as I collected more and more!

I also found some beautiful bags to put the jewellery in, that have an indigenous pattern on them. Finally, I got some beautiful jewellery display racks!

It was such a great trip, and I came away from it incredibly exhausted and happy.

The unfortunate part of the day was that my shopping trip ended in a slightly sketchier than usual part of town, and shortly after I entered a taxi with my large bags full of purchases, I attracted some theives! When the taxi was stopped in traffic (as it almost always is), two men came on either side of the taxi and tried to break in. Luckily my friend and I had locked the taxi doors as soon as we got in, and the taxi driver had done the same. The men banged on the doors and yelled at us to open the doors (which clearly, we did not). They tried for a while, until finally the traffic started moving and we got to drive away.

This is a very, very common occurance in Lima, but had never happened to me before. I was very happy that I had remembered to lock my door (which I sometimes forget to do, coming from a community with very little theft). My friend (who is from Lima) was very upset by the event. She was afraid I was going to get robbed and lose all of my wonderful purchases! I, however, was fine, since they didn't actually get anything from me. I felt pretty proud that I had left my passport, my bank cards, and my credit cards at home, so that almost nothing of value was in my purse. I had also spent ALL of the money I had on me on the beads!

I could just imagine the looks on the faces of the theives when they opened the bags of the "rich white girl" (they assume everyone white here has tons of money) to find no money, no credit cards, no bank cards, and bag after bag of jump rings and tagua! I doubt it would have been the robbery of a lifetime for them!

Lesson learned- continue to not bring anything of value when shopping (except the cash I expect to spend), and hide my shopping bags at my feet when getting into a cab!

Sigh. The things I do for beads!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bead Shopping in Lima, Peru

Yesterday was a day spent in a jewellery-maker's paradise. While here in Lima, Peru, one of the main things I wanted to do was some bead shopping. Yesterday I finally got to start! And what a start it was! I just can't resist snatching up all of the amazing tagua (vegetable ivory) in every available shape and colour! There are also a lot of seeds and shells made into beads here.

There's nothing quite like working your way through the shops in a busy city like Lima, with its 10 million people, and looking for those "treasures" that you can't get at home. I came home with a very, very heavy bag of wonderful new stuff (several kilos, in fact, which I know because most beads are sold by the kilo here!). Most of my purchases were tagua, a product I have used before and people seemed to like a lot. I got lots more colours though, and some new shapes as well. I also found some shells, seeds, and stones, as well as some metal products.

Since I got home late last night all I can think about is that I want more! That's the problem with being a bead addict!

I can't wait to get back to the shops and go through the beads with more attention to detail (my main goal yesterday was to get the vegetable ivory), and see what else I can find!

I also can't wait to start making jewellery with my new materials and start putting pictures of the new products up!