The here and now... and what and why

Complacency is a trap. At least that’s what I was thinking when I up and left the comfort of a Yankee prep school gig, where I taught music, amongst other things, for 28 years. There was also that life long career as a composer, musician and artist.

First, it was a year in St. Thomas, USVI, working as a reporter and shooting photography and then, a year in San Agustin Etla, Oaxaca, Mexico.
Time passed.
More time passed and a year back in the Athens of America followed by a hasty return to Oaxaca where it is all happening.
A couple of years in San Sebastian Etla and now, just down the road in San Pablo Etla. Life is good.

Click on an image to see it larger.
For additional photography please visit my flickr page.
You can find my music on Jango (World & latin - Worldbeat) and at iTunes and most online stores.
¡Soy consciente de todas las tradiciones del Internet!
If you are coming to Oaxaca, please contact me for tours or advice.

Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo
The view from Corazon del Pueblo

The hereafter re me

My photo
Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico
Musician, photographer, videographer, reporter, ex-officio teacher, now attempting to be a world traveler

Monday, March 16, 2015

Carrizo - It's an art

This is a followup to Shannon's post about the lampshades she had made for her by a family from San Juan Guelavia.  We met the family at the Feria de Carrizo a few weeks ago and you can see that the finished products are very cool, such fine work.  Here, the long pieces on the right ready to be processed into all sorts of things, plate medallions, lampshades, bottles and baskets.
Carrizo is a plant I know well.  I spent many, many hours of mediation running the stuff through a wood chipper.  It is one tough plant, grows like bamboo, meaning once you've got it, you've got it forever, unless you have a bulldozer to get out the roots.  I can look at a stalk and know what will come out of the chipper.  If the plant is green, you get this wonderful airy fiber, perfect for mulch.  A little older plant, you get nice chips.  Old and dry plants reach the point when they almost explode into dust and longer irregular chips.

You should hear my revelations about abono, cow manure, after meditating on and shoveling over ten tons of the wonderful stuff.  Oh, to be a dung beetle..... heaven on earth.

But I digress... back to carrizo and the family in San Juan.  It is a relatively poor village, but they make use of what they have and they have a lot of carrizo.  I loved watching the various members of the family go about their work.
And is long arduous and intense works to break down the long pieces into thin super flexible strips.  First, abuela splits it lengthwise.
Then, the thickness is shaved down.
The whole family works.  Here, Benito, in his fine Bubba Gump shirt, does exactly what his grandmother is doing.
 It's an art and just watching them work gave me a whole new appreciation of the diligence and artistry of all the carrizo products we see and take for granted.

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