So let's see what I can remember. Oh yes, I mentioned my book club meeting from last week. We read "Water for Elephants," and it was an excellent read. We usually meet at a restaurant because we just don' t want to cook for everybody or even "pot luck" it, that would mean we'd have to enter our kitchens and make something. But this time, we met at one of the members beautiful home. She has an interesting story. Even though she and her children were all born here, they have lived in Mexico for many years due to her husbands business. He has a furniture factory and makes these wonderful large pieces of formal and informal furnishings. Well, since the cartels began flexing their drug induced muscles, many areas in Mexico have experienced total political anarchy, especially the city across the river from us here in El Paso. Well, many regular non-cartel thugs have decided to get a cut of the action since neither the city nor federal police are doing a thing about it and the police are even getting into the act, needless to say, there's very little law in Juarez presently. They lived in a very nice residential enclave, the country club area of Juarez, an area my grandfather helped to established many years ago. Since then, it's gotten the name "Narco Village" for the number of families involved in the cartels, however, there were many who still lived in that area who were not connected at all, and I say "lived," because so many of them have moved here to our city to get away from the violence and have established my of their businesses that were successful there.
So, this friend's husband was abducted by a group of these "wannabes" and held for ransom. They waited till he left the office and grabbed him...they had been watching his every move since they decided to kidnap him...seemed he had lots of $$ since he owned a factory. Long story short, my friend hired a mediator, which is common over there, they don't really want to involve the police since so many are in cahoots with the bad guys. He was released, the kidnapper, a 17 year old kid, was tried and got 7 month...go figure. Well, to add insult to injury, they found out that now the entire family was in danger, so one evening, they grabbed what they could, threw everything in their vehicles, stopped at her mother's house to get her out also; this poor woman was in heavy mourning for her husband who had just died 7 days before...awful. They all caravaned out of Mexico and into the U.S. where they all happily and safely live. Her husband still runs his company but in the comfort of their home in his office here on this side of the Rio Grande. He has these large screens mounted on the wall showing the different areas of the factory and is in constant contact with the foreman of that particular room.
Well, back to the book club meeting. One of my friend has access to how shall I put it, black market movies, but they are downloaded from the Internet. So Cari had this wonderful spread of delish treats, much wine and we watched the movie. Now if you saw the movie and not read the book, let me know what you thought of it; I was very disappointed because as usual, the book was much better, but then that's usually the case. Hollywood has a habit of crapping up and good story and they exercised that right with this movie. Now that's not the end, this movie had Spanish subtitles and that's where the evening became hilarious. Most of us are bilingual, for the exception of our Barbara and Carolyn, Barb is of Irish/French decent and Carolyn is Lebanese, but we translated for them! We figured out that the translator of this movie either had minimal command of the Spanish language, spoke "English very few," or Chinese!!! Whatever, but we roared at some of the translations...not even close!! Our next book selection is "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan," by Lisa See. So far it has been very intriguing, especially the process of "foot binding," ouch!! I recall many years ago, my father telling me that when he was in China during the war, Shanghai, to be exact, they were still binding feet...he'd see the ladies in the street shuffling along, some using canes, since the binding was botched. I just discovered a couple of new books that I've read about, "The Peach Keeper," by Sarah Addison Allan and "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children," by Ransom Riggs. I read the review and saw the trailer for Riggs book over at http://maggiessecretgarden.blogspot.com/. If you're into the dark and macabre, this sounds like the book for you...go check it out.
I've been quite busy this past month. I'm preparing to send out some more work to Xico, Inc, the gallery in AZ. I made some little figurines and Christmas ornies. I thought if I sent the ornies early, I might not get slammed with special orders later in the season, but then, I assume nothing. So here's the latest that is coming out of my lab/studio:
Two very jolly Catrinas
The finished Virgen de Guadalupe
The Calaca Lovers
Tree of Life ornes
Little Mexican Maiden ornies
I was doing some research the other day on Sumerian clay work and I found this pic of Sumerian votive figurines. They seemed awfully familiar to me, not because I had studied them back in my art history days, but because their eyes seemed similar to my little maidens above! Thought that was really funny....must have been receiving inspiration from them!! LOL
This year has been the year of realizations, lightening hot epiphanies, and many "a-ha" moments. Some have been the result of some rather unpleasant experiences and other from trial and error. One "trial and error" realization I had the other day was that, never and I do mean NEVER try to stock-pile paper clay when you live in a desert climate!! I haven't made any dolls this summer, so I decided to get back into the saddle and take up a couple of challenges over at ADO. I have the buttons on the side bar for those challenges, so you'll have an idea what I'll be working on. The other day, I took out my paper clay to start my Celestial doll and the darn stuff was drying in my hand as I was trying to wedge it. I had an oscillating fan behind me, which sure didn't help, but I'm sorry, it's friggin' hot in my house and I need that fan! However, for the sake of art, I turned it off and the clay still cracked which means the whole batch turned to "dreck." So this was my "a-ha" moment, don't stock-pile paper clay, buy as you need it and don't work with it in the summer unless you have central air conditioning, not that lousy swamp cooler crap!! We happen to have the latter of the two cooling systems and the swamp cooler is quite efficient when it's below 95 degrees and 8-10% humidity, so it works great in early May and again in late September and October, but in the throes of summer, forget about it!!! So I will be making my doll and marionette out of polymer clay since the clay isn't affected by the house temps, at least not right now!!
Oh for those of you who live Texas or are familiar with this store, "Specs" has arrived in El Paso. Of course, I had to go in and get my discount card!! Specs is this lovely store that specializes in booze...lots and lots of it!! It also carries specialized foods, spices and party supplies. My brother is a wine connesiur, no really, he is!! He lived in Northern CA for many years and lived in the heart of wine country, so his knowledge of wines, especially the CA wines is commendable since I know nothing about it, or rather, I don't know a thing about it, but I know what I like!! Anyway, I FB'd about it and he texted me and asked what it was and I called from the store and told him. Every Saturday, he drives down with his girlfriend and they spend the afternoon and evening with my mother, so I told him on his way to mom's, stop by. His girlfriend told me they entered and the first thing he said was, "Jesus Christ!!" He saw row upon row of wines and the guy thought he had died and gone to heaven. He mentioned that he found some wines that are cheaper than his "Wine Club" yes, he's in a wine club...insert finger down throat now!! LOL My mother said he came in with 2 sacks of wine bottles...told her it was more than just bottles!! LOL I feel sorry for the local liquor venders, though. My dad was in the liquor bidness, owning as many stores as this friggin' state allowed at the time. Yes, booze clothed us, fed us, sent us to school, etc., so leave me out of any Temperance Movement!! LOL
Also, to add to my pure delight, a brand new spankin' Michael's is opening up also and both Specs and Michael's are just down the street from where I live...heavenly!! Hey, I'm easy!! Well, my friends, time for me to check out and get my arse into the studio and start on my dolls. Thought I might add some more stuff to my Etsy shop too...nah, do that tomorrow....ok, Scarlet O'Hara!! Have a great weekend and will write more when I have something or anything else to say!! Peace out.