Monthly Archives: May 2007

Last Day!

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I have been doing a lot of research pre-trip on art topics, and have found some really interesting things. Yesterday, I found out about paño art, which is art done on handkerchiefs and other fabrics by Chicano prison inmates. An interesting connection I made was with one of my entries from the Hispanic Heritage Month Poster Contest I had last year. One of the entries was turned in on t-shirt fabric. It looks strangely similar to paño art. I wonder if it was really done by a boyfriend or relative…hopefully, not in prison. Although it will probably interest some of my students, I doubt that the administration will be into prison art…

That will be the challenge with preparing these lesson plans and projects. So many people are intolerant – you get flack for talking about the Virgin of Guadalupe and a lot of customs because it’s too religious. Then, other aspects, like gang stuff, are too controversial and most of my students are too immature to discuss them rationally.

I found a really cool website that exhibits children’s art called Artsonia. A lot of teachers have done retablos and other projects that are based on Mexican culture – it’s really neat. The retablos and ex-votos seemed really popular. I just typed in “Mexican” in the Search and all of these great examples of student project work came up!

Hubcap art has fascinated me since I found some assemblages using hubcamilagrohubcap-copy.jpgps on E-Bay a couple of years ago. I am always looking for “masculine” art projects to interest my students. Here is a site with hubcaps decorated by children for a garden project. And I found an awesome series called Hubcap Milagros by an artist named David Avalos. I am including an image of one of his creations here. I don’t think that the school will let us work with sawblades!

Today is the last day of school – yay. I still have a lot to do: I get to pack up my classroom, mainly. In theory, I didn’t really have to move last year – I was supposed to, and had already started, but that room sprung a leak and flooded. It is a challenge, finding enough boxes.

This week is also very busy socially. I went to a retirement party for a colleague last night, I am going to the graduation of one of my former students tonight, and tomorrow I am making a cake and taking it to a birthday party. The only complication to all of these things is that they are all the way on the opposite side of town from my home. Sunday, I will sleep. All day.

I have made some plans and reservations for the trip to Mexico. I should have been a travel agent. We will be staying in Morelia, but visiting a different place every weekend. The first weekend, we will stay in Patzcuaro, at the Mansion Iturbe. I’ve stayed there before, and it’s beautiful. There is also breakfast included. We will be visiting other towns, either by rental car or by paying a taxi driver. The second weekend we will go to Guanajuato and staying at the Posada Santa Fe. I plan to visit Dolores Hidalgo and try the weird ice cream flavors. The third weekend, we will be staying at the Hotel Morales in downtown Guadalajara. I want to go to Tlaquepaque to shop for crafts, and definitely check out the Distroller store there.

The week after classes, my mom will meet us in Puebla, and we will visit old friends in Atlixco. They are the ones who live in the really awesome ex-hacienda. I plan to visit another Distroller store in Puebla. I also have other ideas of crafts areas to visit. They make amate paper in one of the towns, I know.

Now, I have a little problem. In my proposal, I stated that I planned to do a profile of Amparin Serrano, of Distroller fame. I don’t necessarily have to meet with her face to face, but my husband says that it sounds like I am definitely doing that in my grant proposal and in the press release. What I said is that I HOPE to interview her. I have tried sending an e-mail to the information contact at the Distroller website, but of course I have heard nothing back. It’s really funny, too, because there is a whole discussion thread on one of my blog entries about the company. Some of those people sound like they think I have some sort of inside information, but I am just as clueless as everyone else.

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Morning in Decatur Square

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This morning I got up uncharacteristically early for a Saturday. I had made an appointment to have my Toyota Echo serviced. Since we were already up, my husband and I decided to go to Mingei World Arts and see the Oaxacan wood carvers there. Their name was Santiago, and they are from San Martin in Oaxaca. If I had thought ahead, I might have asked to videotape them at work. We won’t be going to Oaxaca this summer – there’s just no time.

We decided to bring Lupita, our dog. We loaded up in my husband’s car and drove down to Decatur, which is about 30 minutes from where we live. We found a parking place on the square and went to beg quarters to pay the meter. We put the Gentle Leader on the dog so that she would walk nicely with us. We found Mingei, and I tied the pooch to a low pipe near the wall of the store. She immediately started barking, but I hoped she would calm down eventually if we ignored her.

I went in, spoke to the owner and went back to meet the carvers. My husband hovered at the door, wishing the dog would stop barking. I stepped out for a second and said “Hush!” Lupita replied with four loud sharp barks. Great. I went back in while my husband hovered inside near the doorway, trying to keep her quiet. A few minutes later, I heard my husband call my name. It is never good when he uses my first name – usually, it’s “honeee…” or “dee-arrr” – if he says “Celeste” then I know that I am in trouble.

He told me to come outside right now. Then, he showed me where Lupita had wrapped around a big concrete planter and knocked it down, cracking it in the process. Great. Luckily, the owner was super nice, and pointed out that there were no plants in the pot – it was actually being used as an ashtray by passers-by. We disposed of the two broken pieces, dumped the dirt in an adjoining wooden planter nearby, and hid the big piece in the alley. Wheat stayed outside with the dog. I went back in and bought earrings, four heart milagros, and two small carvings: a frog and a turtle. Then we left.

We walked around a bit – I wanted to go to the Little Shop of Stories, an awesome children’s bookstore on the outside of the square. It also harbors the last vbingo.jpgestiges of the famous Jake’s Ice Cream. I found some cool books I want to get for my niece and nephews – maybe later for Christmas.

We decided to eat at Raging Burrito, and they were nice enough to sneak us (NOT thru the restaurant) to the back patio. I ordered a veggie quesadilla and an Orangina, and my husband had a HUGE burrito. We opted not to go to Jakes, only because our meter was running down. I may have to go back tomorrow, because of Jakes AND because I espied some lovely old rusty embossed tin on the side of the old wood planters. The design was embossed fleur de lis and I am itching to swipe some (maybe from the back!). In my defense, the tin is practically gone from the planter anyway.

After my nap, I went to pick up my car, and then stopped by JoAnn Fabrics and Hobby Lobby in search of baseball card collection pages. I am taking part in this ATC Mega-Swap on Swap-Bot.com, and I need a place to keep track of them – there will be 20 in all. I also have decided to arrange my Loteria games in some order. I am happy to say that I received a brand new My Loteria game from Texas. It is designed by Christina Sosa Noriega and is really awesome. It is being sold at the H.E.B. stores in Texas.
Since we have now decided NOT to drive to Mexico, so I don’t know when I will get to a real store.candles8.jpg

I am still waiting for some sign of Zarela products in my local WalMart. They cleaned the shelves off completely – even the shower curtains – so I thought that was the end of things. But recently I saw some candles on E-Bay, so I went to the Zarela site. According to the site, they are actually expanding the region. I don’t understand it… I will keep checking. I cannot believe that they would stop selling those shower curtains – they were really hot on E-Bay. I have one more left in the package, but I don’t want to sell it just yet.

That makes me wonder about my Loterias – I have the Quilt Loteria and the Loteria Celeste. One day, I may have a complete set of cards. For now, I am going to work on designing enough to come out with a second calendar.

Art Show and Change of Travel Plans

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Last weekend was pretty busy. I went with my husband to a family reunion in South Georgia – long trip to and from. When I got back, I was due at Binders Art Supply for the opening of the Cut That Out art show sponsored by the Atlanta Collage Society. Binders has a small art gallery space in the back of the store called the Limelight Gallery. I had two pieces in the show – my “Being a Winged Mother” and “Butterfly Girl” collages. It was a lot of fun, and I got a lot of compliments on my work – it is very different from the others. I really loved seeing the work of the other members, too. There were some really great pieces.

Sunday, I went to my old stomping grounds in Vinings. There is a polo field there next to the Chattahoochee River, and I used to exercise polo ponies and and walk my dog there. I wanted to have a little picnic, but had to eat while walking because of the biting flies. It was still fun. Lupita, my current dog, is not one to wander far away, and she doesn’t like to swim in the river like Connolly did. I think she had a good time – we definitely don’t walk her enough.

Speaking of the dog, I have come up with a decision about my trip to Mexico. I was originally going to drive there with the dog (and husband) in my little red Toyota Echo. After spending a lot of time yesterday plotting out how to get from Atlanta to Morelia in 4 or 5 days, I was frustrated. I would have expenses there, too. We would need to pay for car insurance to drive across the border. I would need to have cash ready for gas and toll roads ($50 in tolls from Nuevo Laredo to Morelia). The toll roads are supposed to be fine, but then I read an article explaining that some were better maintained than others. I had been concerned about the wear and tear on my car – plus, we will have no garage in Morelia, and would need to park on the street.

The main reason I wanted to bring the dog (aside from her great company) was that I knew how expensive it would be to board her. There was also no satisfactory solution among family and friends. But, yesterday I decided to pay for her to be boarded. I will be paying for 5 weeks plus two “play days” per week. I will miss her, but it will make our trip less complicated. Fund for Teachers gave me a grant to study Spanish and to write articles on art and Mexican culture – not to blog about traveling by car with a dog!

We are also now going to fly. That will add ten days to my summer at home, both to prepare before the trip, and to work on my reflective piece and recuperate before pre-planning. I figure that my expenses as far a eating and travel will be taken care of during the trip, plus, I had budgeted for airfare and car rental in my proposal. I have already chosen a direct flight from Atlanta to Mexico City.

I hope my doggie will be okay… But I am trying to do what is best. If she were to run off or get stolen while I was in Mexico, I would be devastated. Also, if I asked someone I knew to take care of her, and something happened, I wouldn’t want there to be any discomfort. We will also be less restricted on where we can stay and go in Mexico.

So, now that I have found out that I can at least post entries from school, I may write more. I am still trying to decide whether I will continue my adventures in this blog, or make a special dedicated blog for FFT.