Growing Up in the Peruvian Andes

Growing Up in the Peruvian Andes

I had the good fortune to spend most of my childhood in the Andes of Peru. We lived in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, about an hour outside the city of Cusco, the capital of the Inca empire. My artist parents always liked living in remote areas with no roads wide enough for cars, our homes never had electricity or running water. These homes where always situated in incredibly beautiful areas, outside of the towns of Pisac and Urubamba. We had ice cold transparent water to drink, probably the best water I have ever tasted, which came from snow peaks. Both of these towns are now fancy and sophisticated towns with breweries, wine bars, Yoga & Pilates studios, chic eateries and hotels. When we lived in Pisac in the 70’s, the town had no electricity, and the market which now occupies the whole town several days a week, was only on Sundays, and was just in the town square.  My parents had a booth at the Pisac Sunday market, where they sold the jewelry they made with colonial silver findings, which they embellished with pre-Colombian beads and local ceramic beads. Now the colonial findings are a staple jewelry item all over Peru, but it was started by my parents in the 70’s. I always loved going to the market, and from ages 11 to 13, I made crêpes and clafoutis (baked French desert with fruit) which I sold to tourist at the market every Sunday. Sunday was a day of selling, but also a day of buying as parallel to the craft market there was a produce market where we would buy food for the week. I always loved food shopping, all the colors, delicious fruits and vegetables provided a feast for the eyes. This is also when all the indigenous people came down from the highlands to buy and sell as well, so you could see them with their families in the traditional clothing which is super colorful, it was such a treat. The mayors of all the indigenous communities came to attend church in their best clothes, playing their conch shells as they entered the church. This blend of tourists, mestizo and indigenous people, all speaking their native languages was  exhilarating to me. Needless to say, Sunday was by far my favorite day of the week!

Growing up in the Andes of Peru, definitely had a strong influence on my aesthetic sense. I feel that the Spanish Colonial style permeates my work, and my sense of color is very much of the Andean sensibility, but Brazil was where I fully embraced my love of color, and where I learned to give myself permission to celebrate it fully. I am so grateful to have spent my early years in South America (mostly Peru), an area so culturally rich and vibrant, with so much history, such natural beauty, and ancient indigenous cultures. Some people ask me what country my jewelry (my work) is from, and I think that comes from my having grown up in South America, but also from all my travels around the world. I feel like I am a hybrid, a citizen of the world! 


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