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A Tale of Tassels

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.”- Mark Twain

Travel has taken an important role in shaping my life & that of my children. I’ve been intentional about exposing my children to other languages, peoples and cultures since they were babies. They attended an International School and are fluent in Mandarin, Chinese, and Spanish. Their exposure to living & going to school in multiple countries, making friends around the world, and engaging with people from all walks of life has shaped the interests and passions of my children. From volunteering in a sewing co-op in a Batey in The Domican Republic, to going to school for two summers in Cusco, Peru, to exchange programs in Taiwan in 5th grade, our worldview is larger and more full because of our ability to travel. 

I incorporate these experiences into how I run Dragonfly Designs. We hold Language Immersion camps (where second language learners can engage with art in their target language) to encourage worldview growth in children. Trust me, what I teach to our awesome Dragonfly Designs kids, I’ve tested on my own! 

I’ve seen the benefits of language immersion and travel in my own children’s lives. In fact, our eldest daughter is studying Global Health at UCSD on a track to pursue medicine and has a dream of working at Doctors without Borders, our second daughter is part of the Chinese Flagship Program at SF State which she hopes to use for an international career, and our 3rd daughter wishes to pursue International Human Rights Law. Our son (and the youngest of the four) is still TBD! 

I’ve been so fortunate to share my love of travelling with my children and this year I was able to visit three new countries with my daughter Giana for her 21st birthday. We hit Spain, Portugal, and Morocco, and were able to check “visit 21 countries before turning 21” off her bucket list! 

Traveling to Morocco was a last minute decision, but it ended up being one of the highlights of the trip! Staying in a riad in the old part of town in Marrakesh, brought with it so many wonderful new foods and histories to learn. The best for me though, were the amazing Berber (an ethnolinguistic group found throughout North Africa) artisans who produce metal, leather and woodwork by hand with incredible skill; we were mesmerized.

I wanted to take everything home but alas the only thing I could fit into our carry-ons were a suitcase full of tassels! Some of the Souks (marketplaces) were filled with gorgeous tassels which I knew were on trend. Seeing them dangle off the wall in every color under the sun and flutter with the breeze flowing through the marketplace was like something out of a fairytale.

In the end, I brought back a ton of tassels, some new inspiration, and a touch of food poisoning (worth it though). 

 

Tassels aren’t just for graduation caps and men’s loafers and I’m going to prove that to you in our coming DIY Tassel Projects, so stay tuned!

Tell us what inspires your creativity in the comments below!

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Stacee Gillelen

Mother of four, artist, and founder of Dragonfly Designs. After my second daughter was born, I left my career in banking and fell in love with the art of jewelry making, and found that I just couldn’t stop spreading the joy of it to others.

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