Wednesday, November 16, 2016

LXXXIII. Los Tapetes Grandes de Antonieta

Antonieta's Big Rugs

Antonieta, at ex-hacienda La Calera last month.
I first met Antonieta a month and a half ago when Doug, from my Spanish class, invited her to be our model at a photography club field trip to ex-hacienda La Calera.

I got to know 'Tonieta on the ride to the old hacienda. Doug had already told me some of her story. She sells rugstapetes—in the plaza of our little town. The rugs are made by her family. But her family lives 500 miles south of here in a little Zapotec Indian village in the state of Oaxaca.

So, for most of the year Tonieta lives here alone, away from husband, sons, and daughter, in order to be near the gringos to whom she hopes to sell her faraway family's rugs.

A couple of 4'X6' rugs
The tapetes are wool, hand-dyed and-woven rugs and hangings of many sizes—some barely more than a foot square. Tonieta can display these smaller pieces at her table just off the plaza, in the walkway where the fountain used to be (and when is the municipality going to replace it, as promised?). She is often set up next to our sweet, young and beautiful friend Aily, who is there to sell Alex's fine jewelry.

Almost all of the bigger rugs that Tonieta and her family have made are too heavy for her to move—twice a day—from the little house where she is staying to and from the plaza. As a consequence, she has sold none of these large and magnificent pieces all summer. Potential customers do not even know they exist since they are not on display.  

Antonieta's sales book
At the suggestion of my thoughtful wife, and with the enthusiastic approval of Tonieta, Doug and I took color photos of many of the large tapetes, some as big as 8'X15'. We printed pictures of a representative fifteen and fitted them into the transparent sleeves of a notebook, along with the size and price of each. She now keeps this book on her table in the plaza, along with her smaller rugs.

Tonieta was very appreciative, and we all hope this visual aid will boost her business. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

LXXXII. Virgen del Rosario, 2016

Virgin of the Rosary

I don't know much at all about the Catholic faith, and here in our small central Mexican town, that faith is especially strong. There is a chapel, or capilla, in our town that seems to be sort of under the protection of Nuestra SeƱora del Rosario who is represented and revered as a doll-like figure. Once a year this seemingly sacred figure is carried on pilgrimages from church to church to church in our pueblo, finally coming back on the ninth day to permanent display in her home church. This is a big deal and I've pictured and written about it before, because I joined the celebration of her return home, along with my daughters last year. Here are a few pictures of the festivities in the plaza several nights ago:

Add 4 trumpets, 2 slide trombones, 2 saxophones, a tuba, 3 clarinets, congas, 2 drum sets, keyboards, a guitar, and two hyperactive singers, all male, nearly all barely out of their teens, and you have BANDA musica--always a Wall of Sound staple at fiestas in our town plaza.
The fellow with his back to the camera is selling those child-seductive, light-filled toys, advertising his wares with a spinning, flashing "gun". 
As I stood before the capilla to watch this intricate spinning castillo, this fellow in a cowboy hat scurried across the scene, in front of the crowd.
The tail-end of the castillo from the previous shot, its supportive stack of metal boxes--which appearance gives the castillo its name--appears here to be the innards of some infernal machine, chasing the silhouetted hombre who glances over his shoulder to see if it's gaining on him. 
The churning, burning representation of Virgen del Rosario herself, flanked by spinning doves of
paz, and the words, "Bendice tu Pueblo", "Blessings to your People".