Thursday, August 13, 2009

Picture of my house circa 1880

THEN (the white window frame)
My house is the tiny one exactly across the street from the joss house in the righthand corner. The joss huse no longer exists, the buildings on the left are gone, and almost all the structures up the road from my house are also gone. The house I now live in incorporated the shown structure as its front room.


Shadow of the golden treasure
quarry rock
bitterbrush reclamation
above the brewery
Well it has been months since I posted because I am a slug and also because being on the road makes it hard... so am back in Tusca and am making work; it has been really productive lately. The Mormon Crickets have almost entirely left the area so it is very pleasant at last to get out and paint. Have started a series on the old tailings; attached are the latest. Have also put them on my facebook page for those of you who care to look there... I'll try to be better at this!

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Shrine of Death

There are shrines at the side of the roads everywhere, and on the hilltops, in the houses, wherever people are. This one was one of the most interesting we ran across, outside of Puerto Angel. Most of the shrines are dedicated to the Virgin Mother or some saint or are sort of memorials to some particular person. This one was so different. And when we were driving away there was a woman on foot who started to run when she saw the shrine, and made the most incredible mouth sounds, seemingly to ward off the evil eye or something. Not a whistle, not a shriek, a peculiar sharp vibration made with her lips.

just more pix. the Road home.

Me at Monte Alban.
Sideways calendas...
Women dancing at the blessing of the busses.
another bus being blessed.
The market at Mitla, with the church in the background. This church, like many, was built on the site of a Mayan temple complex that the Holy Spanish Fathers tore down. The stones from the temples were used to build the church. This temple complex, like Monte Alban, is still being studied and rebuilt. The decorations on the stones are written in a linear grecian-looking type of script that is known to be a language but is unreadable.

Happy Valentine's Day...

Pyramids at Monte Alban.
The blessing of the busses... about 80 busses, each with its own name and frontal shrine dedicated to the Virgen of Guadalupe...
Pericol, the flower used to make all the natural yellows for wools.
Anil, for the blues (greens and violets too).
Marisela crushing cochineal insects, a blight on nopal cactus, to make the scarlet dyes that all the reds and oranges come from.
Well here it is Valentine's day almost and I am finally getting to the blog. I actually have thought about it... so here is the update:

Mike had amazing driving adventures while coming to Oaxaca to pick me up; he finally arrived after Christmas. An epic adventure, truly one only Mike could have. At any rate, he spent a few days resting up while I finished my course en espanol's. We spent New Year Eve in traditional Oaxacan manner, at the house of in-laws of the family I lived with. Aside from the fact that we left our house to go visit the in-laws at 1030 pm, it was pretty much like a family party everywhere. Tons of amazing food, lots of chatter, kids playing and fireworks everywhere. And at 12 seconds to midnight everyone started eating half-grapes: one half for each month of the year to come, and a wish to go with it. So the last grape was eaten as the bells started ringing. And then the fireworks REALLY started. A very nice custom, and one that (I found out later) although traditional, is not observed much anymore. so that was fun.

Then after my classes were done Mike and I had the rare privelege of being invited to stay with an artisan family in Teotitlan del Valle. I had been talking with a very intelligent weaver about natural dyes. He eventually let me know that he taught classes on the subject and after a while longer told me that he like to give me a private three day course if I was willing to stay with his family about 30 miles outside of Oaxaca. Who could say no to that?

The pictures are from the stay at Teotitlan. The three days there were quite intense. I learned alot and am trying to figure out a few things to incorporate into my own work. It may yet happen...

So then Mike and I spent the next 3 weeks driving and surfing. Or rather trying to find suitable surf. It was pretty small stuff for an expert. i thought the little waves were perfect but I am new at it. We also spent some time with our friends Kasey Rose and Eric Messenger and their son Diesel Blue in Sayulita, surfing and eating. Great fun. I had alot of fun with Diesel, he is absolutely fascinated with anything drawing or painting related , and is an amazing colorist at the ripe age of 3.

Mexico is giant. It is hours and hours of driving to get from Oaxaca to the border. At least 60 hours of driving only. The agriculture changed from tropical fruits to banana plantations to cattle to fishing to desert to the frontier , south to north. Incredible.

More another time... happy valentine's to all.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Mike and a friend from school watching Luis weave.
Some of the colors made from cochinilla, limes and anil...
Angela showing us how to use the spinning wheel.
Angela at home.
The view from Angela's house.
I have been having really awful internet problems so haven't posted for a few days. Mikey showed up the day after Christmas as a surprise to me. We went to Teotitlan on Saturday to visit an artesanal house, the weaver there had invited me to the village to show me how to dye wool naturally.She said I could invite some friends so we all went together. As a result, to make a long story short, after my classes end on Friday Mike and I are going to Teotitlan again to stay at the same house for about 3 days so I can really learn the process. I am amazed at the welcoming friendliness of all the people I have met here. Such kindness and open-heartedness. A few pix showing Teotitlan etc, with more to follow after I once again get into an area with electricity. We will go to Puerto Angel from Teotitlan. I am pretty sure there will be internet there but at this point am not sure if I will get back online before a week or so from now. Happy New Year to all.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

la noche de los rabanos

A black Cristo, in a little shrine in el Pochote. Pretty cool.
One of the displays.
First Prize...
A very unusual creation, I think referring to some incident in local history.
More people than I have ever seen at one time in one place...

I am trying to upload some images from el Noche de los Rabanos (Dec 23), a very grand fiesta here but seem to be having some internet difficulties. Not unusual. Will try again.

I have never in my life been around so many people in one location. Definitely more in one spot than in tuscarora on its fattest days. Eva, Preeti y yo went to el zocalo to see what the deal was, and discovered a crowd like that at Central Park on New Year's Eve. Packed.

So the big deal was a festival of campesinos, who grow giant radishes especially for this night. They carve the radishes into incredible scenes, whole villages, people, whatever they can think of. The first prie was awarded , incredibly, right in front of my nose, to a representation of an artesanal village complete with weavers and potters with their wares. All radishes. I understand that there is a grand monetary prize that is highly coveted, but don't know if there is an admission fee. The radish creations are all displayed on tables set up during the day (while the radish villages are being created, on location). I went back the day after, yesterday, and nothing is left. Not a twig. There is no way anyone would be able to tell that 12 hours earlier you couldn't move for the people, that there were food vendors everywhere, firecrackers, a giant tower of spinning fireworks and a huge display of fireworks being shot in the air, balloons everywhere, music... nothing. Amazing. The WORK the people of this country go to to have a little fun blows my mind.

And then last night, Dec 24, was the Big Family Dinner. We all went to the house of my duena's son-in-law's mother, and enjoyed ourselves immensely. It was a normal huge family noisy dinner complete with conversation about politics, the best restaurants and whose girl children are the pickiest dressers. Pretty fun. And the food went on forever. I highly recommend tasting Oaxacanian food, the flavors are as complex as Indian and Thai flavors. There were 3 or 4 meat dishes, 2 fish dishes, a pretty incredible rice dish and an amazing variety of desserts. There is a very large percentage of diabetics in this country...

Still not able to upload pix so will try again later.

Monday, December 22, 2008

en el zocalo

El Zocalo en la tarde.
pull-toys at the zocalo.
El Pochote, a donde camino cada fin de semana por comidas naturales.
mi nueva amiga gracie.
closeup of a huipil; Este blusa es totalmente de brodero, en los dos lados, a mano.

desfiles y mercados

la nacimiento otra vez
una nacimiento en un hotel plaza
an early start with style
beautiful hair thingys and beautiful clothing
waiting to start a desfile...

It is so colorful here. There is almost too much for the eye to appreciate properly. The women were gathering for a small parade, no idea in honor of what but in indigenous clothing. The different styles of embroidery on the blusas and faldas are indicative of different pueblos.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Traditional pinata, very giant.
Flor, mi maestra.
making pinatas...
making pinatas
another view of part of the nacimiento at the zocalo.

The nacimiento at the zocalo is huge, with a walkway and streams and fountains, a 'must-see' for every child in the city. it is lovely, and fun to watch the kids' reactions to all the things tucked into the niches.


more graffiti...
Eva and Preeti, my friends from Finland and India.
a shop window at night, selling religious figures.
Un desfile a la Iglesia de santa dolorosa.
Un nacimiento en el zocalo.
here's a translation tool not to use : babelfish I am not sure how it attached to an email to a friend but she sent me a translation. I certainly never said this in any language. I KNOW my Spanish isn't this bad!!

"not that babelfish work by Spanish, not it use. not to as it were with my mail. that rare, no? and I have much happy that I am and not aya in the cold here. it is more or less 70 degrees here now, and vesti only my blouse and trousers and huaraches. it is good here. I want to live fodder here. I do not have now Japanese but when growing, if so that vivi aya by a time. now only arigato gozaimasu and others faceles phrases. not but. The form, you received? he is ok? I speak soon with you."

Other than that, things are going right along. we are almost finished with our pinatas in class for tomorrow night's posada, I plan on taking pix. there are parades everywhere, papeles cortes everywhere and beautiful lights. My camera is acting up, I spend most of my time recharging it. More later...