Our short, but long-anticipated trip to visit daughters and friends in Seattle, shop and wander among old haunts, ended two days ago. Yesterday, on my first outing back home here in a week, I saw that the vegetation has finally begun to green on the cerros and montañas that rise behind our lakeside village in central México.
I hope and believe that the rainy season, after a fitful start, has finally begun. The past two months since Pascua, or Easter, have been hot and dry, and I haven’t felt a bit like writing. Frankly, neither have I much wanted to be around people; I’ve only gone on the dusty trails with our hiking group once during that time. My strongest memories of this period will involve lying on a couch under the dome in our sala, reading through the complete lightweight mysteries of David Rosenfelt and Ann Cleves. That activity would easily segue into a beer slumber until time to mix margaritas. In cooler mornings, but more often during sweltering mid-afternoons, I would make the daily round of shops, switching sides of the cobblestone streets to stay in the usually scant shade of casas and tiendas crowding the narrow sidewalks. In between times, I’d follow the obsessively provocative soap opera revolving around that chump Comrade Cheeto. And in the middle of the night I’d plan and worry over Javier’s seemingly interminable renovations to turn our cochera—garage—into mi taller—workshop.
Now, stage one of the workshop is complete. My first project there will be to fabricate Al the Alebrije. He is a large and friendly looking monstruo, inspired by smaller versions we saw recently in Mexico City's folk art museum. Al will loom three to four feet over our flat roof's cornice and wave at passersby on the street below. He’ll be made of styrofoam with wood and wire supports, covered with plaster cloth, and painted turquoise with big black, red and yellow dots. I’ll weather-proof him as much as possible; I read that rooftop sculptures currently displayed at MoMA are finished with automotive paints. I’ve already made a model of Al, so just need to proportionally increase his size about 10-12 times. The big challenge will be gathering materials. It looks like trips to Guadalajara will be necessary. I hope I can work that out with a friend who drives there nearly weekly to visit flea markets, hoping to add to his art collection of hidden masterpieces.
There are still housekeeping goods to be bought, tubs to hold supplies under the big table, a whiteboard for the wall, a couple of shelves to be painted and hung. I’d like to have a wheelable caddy to hold the tools I’m using as I work on Al. And soon I’ll need a small desk. Four of those heavy rocks I’d intended to carve are now balanced one on top of the other in a corner of the taller; handling rocks is grounding when I'm at loose ends. The proscenium frame originally from the traveling theater I had years ago is now hung on a wall as a reminder and a prompt; it's still useable—I can open the curtains onto a small stage or scrim. The works that are inspiring me right now are old black and white comedies from the golden age of Mexican Cinema, and William Kentridge’s fantastic “Shadow Procession”. That—whatever it becomes—is for the future, though; I'm working on Al first…and then maybe his sister.
|Here's Tony putting the final touches on installation of what|
will be the framework for a glass roof. Panels of colored glass
will be interspersed in the rectangles among smoked glass to
temper the bright sun.
Finally, there’s the glass roof, or techo de vidrio, to shield the open screened wall of the taller from heavy blowing rain. That still needs to be finished. Tony did a great job of putting together the iron framework from my design and installing it over our breezeway. Juan has promised to work with me on choosing and buying the colored glass for the different-sized rectangular panels—another trip to the big city. If we can do that next week, it should take Juan and Francisco only a day our two for the installation. Things are moving along. We're about to get off the dime.