San Blas Islands and Geoparadise Tribal Gathering Festival

It feels a long time ago now that I was setting sail from Cartagena, Colombia heading for the San Blas Islands in Panama. The passage was by no means fun, with 2-3metre waves rocking the boat and the constant feeling that I was going to vomit. I spent two days lying down, sweating, feeling sick and wondering why on earth I hadn’t taken a plane instead. I had paid $300 for the trip with the hope of learning a bit about sailing and a chance to visit some beautiful islands at the end. I was beginning to go off the whole boat dream idea rapidly and even more so when the engine completely went bust and our useless captain hadn’t the right sails to get us out of the situation. We steered past a reef and weighed anchor just outside a Kuna village called Mulatopo on the Panamanian side of the Darien Gap. Two days and that’s how far we’d reached! I came up on deck finally feeling my legs back beneath me expecting to see the postcard perfect San Blas Islands only to see the worried faces of the crew. After three days of discussions with locals and figuring out a plan, the captain and I took a speed boat that lasted 7 hours and took us all the way to island El Porvenir where the immigration office was. That journey was pure hell. Each time we crashed down over a wave, my entire body would lift off the seat and then I could feel all my internal organs smashing down on top of each other as I descended into my seat. We were last to get on the boat so got the worst spot at the front of the boat where you feel the full force all the more and get completely soaked through to the bone with water. I was terrified the entire way and nothing would ever make me go through that experience again. All the other passengers were locals from the Kuna villages and half of them were children! This is how they commute between the villages on a daily basis to visit friends, families and get supplies. I realised then how lucky I was to be making this trip just the once. They are a strong tribe of many numbers, that govern the state of Guna Yala independently almost as if it were a separate country. It was really nice to see such a powerful indigenous community maintaining their traditions, language, arts and culture where so many others have been wiped out of existence. 

We finally arrived at the San Blas Islands and although battered and bruised, I was just happy to be alive. The islands did not disappoint either and I spent three nights camping, swimming, snorkelling, and swinging in a hammock. This gave me the perfect chill time to prepare for the next step which was to get myself and Phat Feathers to the GeoParadise Tribal Gathering Festival.

Geoparadise festival spanned over 18days of workshops, ceremonies, awesome music, making new friends, dancing, swimming and exploring the jungle. I did tons of hairwraps, face and body painting, and custom feather pieces for the happy hippies that attended.

It was a really successful festival and I may even be back next year with Phat Feathers. It was a tricky event to find in the jungle and we didn’t arrive till dark but it was certainly worth the journey! The festival was full of art installations and it felt like a little village with everything handbuilt using bamboo, wood and palms. The next day we built our little stall using all natural materials from the jungle also. It was really fun creating the display and everybody loved the feather earcuffs as always and the rare selections of cruelty-free feathers that I have. I also brought a variety of mochila bags and crotchet bikinis from Colombia. I brought these handmade bags from the indigenous Wayuu people that live in the desert of La Guajira Peninsula which borders Colombia and Venezuela. The art of weaving is a central tradition of the Wayuu people and each bag can take many days to complete. The making and selling of these bags provides financial stability, thus enabling them to preserve their way of life. It has been a way of storytelling and skill building throughout generations. Wayuu women pass on the art of weaving to their daughters, who use the skill to share stories about their environment and culture through colours, shapes and patterns. I’ll be putting some for sale on my website soon at www.phatfeathers.com

After 18 awesome days of camping on the beach at Geoparadise Festival, we packed up our gear and headed back through the jungle and on to the next adventure.

The rest of my time spent in Panama was wonderful and fortunately Phat Feathers enabled me to continue and stay for the full three months of my visa. I stopped and sold feather jewellery, mochilas and hairwraps at every opportunity. It’s hard work, but each time I sold something and it covered the costs of my bed that night or my dinner tomorrow. It’s a lifestyle choice and I wouldn’t trade it any day for an office job. I love being able to travel and move freely where I want and when. I always find plenty of time for exploring and having fun so it feels like the perfect balance really. 

After three months in Panama and totalling one year, six months and 22days since I embarked on this trip, I boarded a plane to take me back to my hometown Bristol, U.K. It felt like the right time and I desperately wanted to catch up with my friends and family whom I missed so much. The summer season was fast approaching back in the U.K also and I wanted to bring my crueltyfree feathers back home and trade at some music festivals.  Keep and eye out in my Facebook page or follow me on Instagram to find out where I’ll be this summer! Big love 🌴☀️💗😄⭐️

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Phat Feathers News- Stockists in California and Cruelty-free Feathers

It’s been months since I last wrote an entry for my blog. So much has happened since, which makes it difficult to start writing again, but here goes.. I’m still travelling with Phat Feathers and have found new stockists in California during my time there back in September. It was wonderful to receive such positive feedback from customers and shop owners when they saw my cruelty-free feather jewellery.


As it was my first trip to the United States, I was really shocked by how expensive everything was and I quickly had to turn my hands to making new designs and taking bespoke orders from people I met on the way. I really don’t know how I would have survived those three months in Cali without Phat Feathers and so many awesome Americans supporting me and my work. Thank you so much to everyone who made purchases and helped me to keep going.

I spent weeks down on Venice Beach in L.A trying to make a buck and massively enjoying watching all the wild and wacky characters that would pass by. Venice Beach was where the action was and the end of each day brought another stunning sunset and there was always interesting locals to meet.

 I was blown away by the enormous Redwood trees, some of the oldest in the world, that just seemed to go on forever into the clouds and sure make you realise how small you are on this planet. The beaches are beautiful, the cities impressive, nature aplenty and theres was always something new to see and do in California. My short time there was enough to give me a taste of the landscape, but I’ll definitely be back to explore further.

  Phat feathers can now be found at these locations in California:

Vintage Avenger – Arcata, CA

Global Village – Arcata, CA

Zen – Arcata, CA

Blue Moon – Garberville, CA

Garden of Beadin – Garberville, CA

Aura Shop – Los Angeles, CA

It was because of this new good fortune, that I had the wonderful opportunity to revisit Canada, the birth place of my Mother, having not been to see many family members there since I was a child. I made it to Montreal in time for Christmas and received a very warm welcome from my relatives and lovely home-cooked food! It was really nice to celebrate a proper Christmas with family, having let it slip by the year before unnoticed whilst in Colombia. Christmas just isn’t the same sunbathing alone on a beach. Sounds glamorous, but it really isn’t. In Canada though it was a totally different story and I had the opportunity to witness more snow than ever before in my life. It was mesmerisingly beautiful watching it fall outside through the my bedroom window, but after a few trips outdoors, moving with great difficulty, and the cold beginning to set in, the novelty soon wore off. I think I need a few more longer visits to to be fully immersed in this Canadian weather culture to get used to it! After a year of being blessed with sunny weather on my travels, I had turned into a bit of a wimp and decided to get my ass back to Colombia to see in the New Year.

  Four flights later, Montreal-Toronto-Miami-Bogota-Santa Marta, I arrived (although without my rucksack as it obviously got lost!) back to the tropical heat. It was in Colombia that I teamed up with Model Carolina Guti and took some snaps of her wearing my cruelty-free feather earrings and earcuffs in beautiful, natural surroundings.



I also visited my favourite parrot, Lorenzo, to see what new feathers he had naturally moulted. Here they are! What beauties!

He’s such a cheeky bugger but super happy all the time. He loves the camera and always strikes a pose! I’m so grateful to him for donating me his old feathers. I’ll be sure to do them proud and make something special!

This last picture is for a dear friend I made and travelled with throughout my time in California. She taught me that there is beauty in everything and the importance of living presently in the here and now. Im not sure I’ve mastered it yet!, but I know without her encouragement and support along the way I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am now. Thanks lovely and big hugs xxx

Feather jewellery in Peru and Semi-Precious Stones

I finally made it to Peru and just in time for the ‘Sun festival ‘ that was taking place in Cusco. I took the opportunity to try my luck fly-pitching with my feather jewellery, but the crowds of people was too much. The streets and pavements were filled with people, animals and vehicles. Everybody was out for the win and trying their luck to sell crafts, games, food and drink. The park squares turned into performance venues and amusement games, while the streets were littered with pop-up restaurants serving guinea pig and other typical Peruvian delights. The llama seemed to have had enough by the end of the day as well and wasn’t in the mood for his photograph being taken. I moved hostels a fair bit in Cusco always searching for the cheaper, greener grass. In the end the one with the tabby kitten sealed the deal for the last days before heading to Machu Pichu….

Arriving at the neighbouring town ‘Aguas Calientes’, I soon found out that there is no hot water as the name would suggest, which was rather funny until you have brain freeze whilst trying to wash your wildly, growing hair. The town itself is built for tourism and reeks of it, so don’t expect anything to be cheap or authentic. A 5AM start to catch the bus to Machu Pichu and there was already enormous queues of people and locals trying to sell you selfie sticks and the like. Up top the views are spectacular and the area that you can explore fortunately is large enough that you can at least try to block out the crowds of people, camera lenses and queues for the best photo opportunity. I think I did OK on capturing the Kodak moment without all the fuss for a specific rock point. Despite all the touristic infrastructure that comes with it, one cannot deny how impressively beautiful Machu Pichu is, and so incredible that a community actually built this and lived here.

 My time in Peru sadly was just a few weeks and I had a flight to catch back to Colombia. I did, however, source lots of lovely, new materials for Phat Feathers. I’ve now started making semi-precious stone and cruelty-free feather matching earring and necklace sets. I think they make a lovely present for someone special or even a treat for yourself! 😃 I have a wide selection of semi-precious stones that can be customised into matching jewellery sets, pendants and earrings. I package my jewellery in protective, plastic casing, combined with cardboard for support. This helps when displaying Phat Feathers in retail spaces and for protection in postage. I aim to be environmentally conscious in my work (so regret the need for plastic) and hope that people who buy from Phat Feathers will keep the packaging as a way to store and protect their jewellery when they are not wearing it. It can be re-used and needn’t go in the bin. 🌸🌺🌼

Now back to Colombia! 🌴🐠☀️🍍🍉✈️

Phat Feathers finds cruelty-free feathers and friends in Bolivia

The route to Bolivia from Chile took me on a three day tour through deserts, lakes, volcanic pools, and the Salar de Uyuni salt flats. My favourite place I visited was Lake Colorado for its magnificent pink, red and orange colours. These pigments are due to microscopic flagellated algae species ‘Dunaliella Salina’. The lake is the nesting site to three different species of Andean flamingos. Flamingoes are born grey and acquire their beautiful, pink hued feathers by eating this algae which contains beta carotene, an organic chemical containing a reddish-orange pigment. I was fortunate enough to find many naturally moulted, cruelty-free feathers by the lakeside. They are of various different sizes and shades of white and pink. I’m so excited to work with them and create more friendly, feather fashion! 

  During my time in Bolivia I volunteered at an animal rescue centre that cares for street cats and dogs and exotic animals that have been victims of poaching, traps, and the pet trade. Lots of people want the opportunity to work here and I was lucky to get a spot. The people I worked with really showed myself and the animals so much kindness and I feel lucky to have been able to help with the cause and get to know the personalities of the animals. I hope that I can return one day in the future and see how they all are doing and if any have managed to be re-assimilated into the wild. Ultimately that is where they belong, but too much time spent with humans, permanent injuries and trauma can hinder this process. I’ve made some really vibrant, single feather earrings from those I collected from the ground, completed with silver earhooks and quality beads. The much larger feathers will be used for Phat Feather headdresses, hats and earcuffs. Stayed tuned for updates by following my Facebook page 

 I made some really great friends in Bolivia and we formed a performance group of music, circus acts, arts and crafts, taking to the streets of Bolivias cities. It was great fun and I got the opportunity to practice my hula hooping tricks and sell Phat Feathers earrings. After so much work, my final days in Bolivia I relaxed on the Island of The Sun and enjoyed the simple wonders of nature and spectacular views.  

 For more information about Phat Feathers or if you have any questions, please get in touch.  Big love xxx

Finding cruelty-free feathers in a trip down the Amazon river

After three months in Colombia finding feathers, making contacts and new feather jewellery, I flew to the edge of the jungle which lies next to the Amazon river. My trip down the river started in Leticia, Colombia and finished in Porto Vehlo, Brazil. It was a thrilling experience I never thought I would have. It certainly wasn’t part of the plan, but then nothing in my travel plan went as expected. That Lonely Planet book got left behind long ago. I guess that’s the beauty of travelling. I’m not going to lie, eight days on two boats in hammocks is pretty tough going. The food gets dull, washing in river water doesn’t really give that clean feeling and the cockroaches are pretty damn big. A good book is necessary to pass the time. Wish I had that Lonely Planet book now ay! I was fortunate enough to meet a shaman on the second boat and traded some jewellery materials for some cruelty-free feathers. You can do business anywhere these days! 🙂 The river is vast, wild and so beautiful. I loved stopping at the little riverside towns and watching the passing trade. Every night there were spectacular sunsets, star filed skies, followed by dramatic thunderstorms in the dead of night. A highlight for me was witnessing a pair of red and blue macaws flying together from one side of the river to the other. When we finally set foot on land again I was happy to check-in to a nice hostel with an actual bed, hot shower and eat some fruit and vegetables again! The experience, however, was still one of the best parts of my trip and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

My destination was Rio de Janeiro to meet up with some dear friends of mine. Brazil is massive! It took the best part of three days to cross the country by bus and meet up with them. It was totally worth it though to see them again, share some happy beach days together and check out the street art.

 They’ve both been a massive support for PHAT FEATHERS from the start modelling feather jewellery and generally being wonderful friends. ❤️💙💜💚They very kindly took some of my newest creations back to Bristol to be sold in the Co-exist shop. You can find these new cruelty-free feather earrings for sale there and it’s open seven days a week!💥

It was a sad day when these ladies returned to Bristol, England and I can’t wait to see them again!

Follow me to see what happens next in my search for CRUELTY-FREE FEATHERS…..

www.phatfeathers.com

Phat Feathers cruelty-free feather jewellery in Chile

Chile has been for me the most striking country that I’ve visited so far with spectacular, contrasting landscapes. Home to active volcanoes, Andean mountains, the late poet Pablo Neruda, earthquakes, massive sand dunes, black sand beaches, thermal pools, and awesome graffiti. It is also where I made a great many new friends and shared some amazing experiences with them. As a wise man once said, “it’s not where you go, but who you go with”.

The long stretch of open road to Chile was mesmerising and exciting. With no prior knowledge of Chiles’ landscape, history or culture I was on the edge of my seat the whole way. I was also very nervous about the strict rules ‘no animal products’ at the border crossing. They really do search everything! However, I’m happy to say that my Phat Feather materials and I made it through undetected.  I began Working on a farm with all sorts of beautiful, happy animals, and sharing lots of laughs over chocolate and wine with really special people. Go off the beaten track, away from the tourist spots and you can find a real slice of paradise. I found it hard to leave but something was pulling me onwards. The City of Valparaiso was next hitting the streets with my semi-precious stone and FEATHER JEWELLERY. The streets an ever expanding art exhibition give this city its charm and alternative style. I kept costs down by Couchsurfing and hitch-hiking which opened doors to meet local people and discover hidden gems. The downside of Chile was the sheer number of homeless dogs and cats. My heart strings were pulled every which way and I’d wander the streets with pet food trying to soften both their suffering and mine… 🐾    

During my time spent in Chile two volcanoes erupted, one of which happened only a week after I had left the Southern volcanic area. Was I lucky or had I just missed an up-close encounter?.. The latest eruption sparked a series of catastrophic disasters in other parts of the world reminding me how fragile our planet is. When they’re sleeping peacefully though they sure are damn beautiful.

Follow me to see what happens next in my search for CRUELTY-FREE FEATHERS…..

www.phatfeathers.com

Phat Feathers travel adventure in South America

 Nearly eight months since I left England for an adventure in South America. I always knew I wasn’t going to get that booked flight home after only five months and I still feel like there is more travelling left in me yet. It’s no time at all really. It’s flown by. In some ways I miss the festival season that has already begun back in the U.K. I love being creative and adorning the party people with Phat Feathers earrings and accessories to dance the nights away. I’ve still kept the dream alive of Phat Feathers going whilst I’ve been travelling by sourcing new materials, learning new skills, and finding many cruelty-free feathers along the way. Whenever I can stop in one place for a while I use the time to work with these materials and create new feather jewellery designs. Recently Phat Feathers joined a community of local artists and crafters from Bristol in the Co-exist Shop, Hamilton House, Stokes Croft. Whilst I still have wanderlust in my little feet these new designs are posted back to Bristol and are available for sale at the CO-EXIST SHOP. It would be great to find more outlets or people to collaborate with so that I can continue to keep PHAT FEATHERS alive and discover more of the world as well. Any takers? please get in touch!

I started this trip in the north coast of Colombia falling quickly for its people and charms. Time passes quickly in the sunshine and before I knew it three months had already passed selling feather jewellery on the beach and working in a bar. I created a mural for the bar inspired by the Phat Feathers ethos. The scene of tropical jungle plants, butterflies and a macaw naturally moulting its feathers as it flys free and wild.     I spent some time in a jewellers workshop in Bogota learning new silversmithing skills. Phat Feathers now makes all of its silver wire independently to ensure the quality of the materials being used are of the highest standard. The semi-precious stones that I have sourced throughout my travels are now incorporated in new feather jewellery designs with this silver wire.

 Maybe you’re thinking ‘come on Kate don’t you have any fun?! Non stop work!’ Trust me I’m having a lot of fun along the way and as I love my craft so much it doesn’t really feel like work.  

 Follow me to see what happens next on my travels in search of CRUELTYFREE FEATHERS ….

www.phatfeathers.com