Alaska, Mexico and Beyond…

“One Journey Leads to Another”

Archive for the category “Art”

Noche de Rabanos (Night of Radishes) 2016

Noche de Rabanos (Night of Radishes) is a splendid one day creative extravaganza unique to the city of Oaxaca. Imaginative people from around the state have been working on designs for many months, and on December 23 they display their artwork for the enjoyment and amazement of thousands of onlookers, plus they have a chance to win a prize!
Click on any image to enlarge or see a slide show.

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Photo by Rick

We begin our day by eating breakfast in one of the outdoor restaurants that surround the zócalo, the main plaza of Oaxaca where the event takes place. We enjoy watching people construct and put the finishing touches to their depictions of daily life, history, religion, and culture. Some of the radish carvings are done at the last minute!   Every tiny piece of the work must be of natural materials – no wire or plastic – and most of the radish figures are held together with toothpicks.

There are three categories of materials: specially grown giant rabanos (radishes), flor inmortal (looks like what I know as straw flowers), and totomoxtle, or corn husks.

Some photos show entire displays so you can see how elaborate they are, and some are of small sections to show the incredible detail. Photographer friend Rick Impett contributed some excellent photos – thanks, Rick!

MERCADOS (MARKETS)

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Photo by Rick

MUSIC AND DANCING

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RELIGIOUS LIFE

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WEAVERS

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NEFARIOUS CREATURES!

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Photo by Rick

Living lives surrounded with artisans creating textiles, carvings, metalwork, pottery, painting, music and dancing, children of Oaxaca learn to become artists, musicians and craftspeople at a very young age. It’s wonderful to see!

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SPECTACULAR PIECE and the ARTIST

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Cee’s Odd Ball Challenge week #10

In Pátzcuaro, Mexico, there is no evil!

 

Cee’s Oddball Challenge #7: Cow on the Wall

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On the rump of the cow it says “Why do you eat me?”
Guadalajara, Mexico

Weekly Photo Challenge: Faces

Faces, whether real or imagined, always tell a story…

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Click on any photo to enlarge.

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And those stories can also be true or invented.

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Enjoy many more FACES here: http://wheresmybackpack.com/2015/11/13/travel-theme-faces/

HIKING OAXACA: Zegache to Ocotlán

All dressed up for the Day of the Dead festivities, this happy couple greeted us in the village of Zegache, where our hike began.

click on any photo to enlarge it   

 

The group gathered in front of the spectacular church of Santa Ana Zegache. No matter how many times I visit this church, its vivid colors entice me to take just a few more photos!

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We headed out across a  flat and peaceful agricultural valley toward the villages of San Antonino and Ocotlán.  It’s wonderful to see small fields with several  varieties of vegetables instead of gigantic agribusiness farms. People grow many vegetables for sale in local markets, and they use oxen and horses to pull plows and wagons. Farmers in some villages collectively own a tractor and everyone can use it!

Brilliant marigolds and red cockscombs are the favored flowers for Day of the Dead celebrations, and people were cutting them and hauling wagon loads to the cemeteries to use for decorating the graves of their ancestors.

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Yet another beautifully painted church in San Antonino

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Ocotlán was the home of well known artist Rodolfo Morales, and these are sections of a huge mural he painted behind the portico of the municipal building.

And then… what luck! We spotted a sidewalk mezcal bar and joined some locals for a welcome and unexpected end of hike treat!

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For more photos of this and other colorful churches: https://alaskamexicoandbeyond.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/painted-churches/
For a short biography on Rodolfo Morales: http://www.indigoarts.com/gallery_oaxaca_morales1.htm
For interesting information about the saints inside the church: http://colonialmexicoinsideandout.blogspot.mx/2013/10/painted-churches-of-oaxaca-santa-ana.html

Copper Artisans of Santa Clara

Copper, it’s polished surface almost blinding in the Mexican sunlight, has been part of life in Santa Clara del Cobre since the Pre-Hispanic era, when the Purépecha people developed methods for using copper to create jewelry, vases, pots, axes, and  innumerable other decorative and useful items. After the Conquest, the Spanish began mining the area, depleting the mines by the mid 20th century.  Today copper artisans hammer out a wide array of brilliant copper items from tiny pea-sized bells to entire doors, using mostly recycled copper cable from telephone and electric companies.

Treasure box created with copper and silver inlay.

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Knowledge of the traditional techniques has been passed down through families for generations, and more than 250 family workshops are scattered throughout the town of Santa Clara, located about 20 km from Pátzcuaro in the state of Michoacán. Craftsmen welcome visitors into their workshops to watch them transform a wad of used copper wire into a sink, a shining sun for the garden, or maybe even a bathtub!

Welcome to Cobre El Portón

Welcome to Cobre El Portón

Gleaming pots surrounded the doorway of Cobre El Portón, and my admiration grew as I meandered through two large showrooms and a courtyard, all stacked with an amazing variety of copperware. Artisans spend their days in work areas behind the shops, imagining a form and then melting and hammering it into existence.

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The process of copper creation is described below.

Click on any photo for a larger view and complete captions.


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Craftsmen repeat this process until the disc is the desired thickness, depending on the envisioned product. He then rests the disc on a metal rod that is buried in the ground and begins hammering it into the imagined shape. If a specialized tool is needed, he manufactures one for himself!

Ball peen hammers create a textured finish for sinks or pots. Acids and other treatments can change the color from glowing copper to green or shades of rust. Embellishing with engraving, etching, and silver inlay adds to the beauty of much of the copper work.

Business card lies on an oxidized copper switch plate.

Business card lies on an oxidized copper switch plate.The tiny bell may have been formed by casting.

 

Traditionally women were not involved in the copper industry because of the great upper body strength needed for hammering with sledgehammers and other heavy tools. In the late 1970’s, jewelry artist Ana Pellicer began teaching women to make copper beads, and this skill allowed them to grow into copper artists in their own right.


Shiny copper doors led into a courtyard where a demonstration forge was set up. Kids loved working the huge bellows!


The porch of an outdoor cafe was the perfect vantage point to watch the vendors showing off their wares and the shoppers trying to decide! A friendly young waiter set my plate of scrambled eggs with spicy chorizo and tortillas on top of this copper plate. Heated by the sun, it kept my breakfast toasty warm!
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Get a glimpse of furniture and more that is available from Cobre El Portón: http://www.cobreelporton.com

One Word Photo Challenge: Copper

Hand hammered copper ware is the artistic specialty of coppersmiths in the village of Santa Clara del Cobre, Michoacán, Mexico. Skilled craftsmen produce an array of brilliant copper items from tiny pots you can tie on a business card to entire decorative door coverings! Visitors are welcome to enter the workshops, often located in the rear of sales rooms, where the artists will gladly explain the process and may even hand you the hammer to give it a try!

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Stay tuned for an entire post on the copper craftsmen of Santa Clara del Cobre!

Click here to view more interpretations of copper:
http://jennifernicholewells.com/2014/01/28/one-word-photo-challenge/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Orange

In Mexico the boldness of orange brightens every part of life – in fact I’m wondering if the Mexican people invented orange!

They love to….

LIVE IN IT

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WORSHIP IN IT

Church in Xalapa, Veracruz

Church in Xalapa, Veracruz

EAT and DRINK IT

Click on any photo for a larger view

RIDE IN IT or ON IT

CREATE ART and DECORATION WITH IT

CELEBRATE WITH IT

Part of a light show projected onto a church front during Day of the Dead celebrations.

Part of a light show projected onto a church front during Day of the Dead celebrations.

OR JUST RELAX and ENJOY IT!

Sierra Norte near the village of Benito Juárez

Orange you glad it’s photo challenge time?

Tlacotalpan, Where is Everybody?

Tlacotalpan, Veracruz, is a small city with a population of almost 9,000. During the 24 hours we spent there, we saw probably less than 50. Where were they? Walking the streets was a bit eerie, as the streets of Mexican towns and cities are usually full of people walking, talking, eating, and laughing. Few stores or businesses were open.  Granted, the blustery gray day wasn’t the best for outdoor activities; apparently they were experiencing a “norte,” the local name for cold fronts from the north that dominate the weather from October to April. Still, I’ve never known a little cold to hamper socializing and shopping!

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UNESCO granted World Heritage Site status to Tlacotalpan in 1998 partly due to to its graceful  style of architecture.

Click on any photo in the gallery for a slideshow.

The reason for including colorful arches on the logo is obvious – and if your building doesn’t have arches just paint them on!

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A few hardy souls braved the brisk wind!

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We strolled the streets and enjoyed the artwork and other intriguing sights, but we never found a hot coffee nor a cold beer!

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Street scenes in tile decorated many park benches.

 

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Tlacotalpan is well known for its Feb. 2 festival “Our Lady of Candlemas.” If you are looking for action, I recommend visiting then. But you are welcome anytime!

Travel Theme: Details 2

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DETAILS IN ARCHITECTURE

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DETAILS IN ART

Click on a photo to make it larger.

To enjoy more details click http://wheresmybackpack.com/2015/02/06/travel-theme-details/

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