Friday, September 24, 2010

Building Community

             We're having a party yeah!

It is amazing that we found such a wonderful Costa Rican quilt colony to play and make art with.  The fun began during the reception for the Red Textil: First Encounter of the Ibero-American Textile Network.  You know we fiber junkies were decked out in our various threads. We nibbled on tasty little dishes and sampled the beverages while looking for English speakers that we could talk with.  For sure we all were thinking "why didn't we take Spanish in high school and college along with French or German."  We're thinking we need Rosetta Stone in the future.  But found enough bilingual friends to get by.

 Here we have new friends Leidalia and Laurie.  Leidalia teaches art quilting (quilt creativo) and Laurie has a shop in Panama.  Don't they look great?

 Laurie who lives in Panama and Olga who lives in Guatemala liked us so well they came to our quilting class the following day.

Marion, EdJohnetta, Adriene and L'Merchie are with a European jounalist.  We hope we'll show up in her magazine.  I'll have to track down her name since she didn't have a card.  I was sure to give her one of mine.  She was also a judge in the exhibit.  She was wearing a wonderful top from Korea.  Threads were definitely the name of the game.

Of course the big highlight was meeting the U.S. Ambassador Anne Slaughter Andrew.  She was gracious and said she made an effort to decide on what fiber to wear.

Ed, Marion, L'Merchie, Adriene, Ambassador Andrew and Center Executive Director Schmack

 My team members with Veritas University faculty.  L'Merchie lectured there our last evening in San Jose.

New friends and colleagues including Dr. Robert Steele standing next to me.  Juan Diego Roldan, visual arts coordinator and Paulina Ortiz were gracious and extremely helpful to us  (She is wearing blue and he is standing to my left and her right).  Manual Arce is kneeling in the first row wearing the red tie and is responsible for getting us started on this adventure.

We got serious about our mission on the second day when we started to teach at El Consturero Quilt Shop.  Maria Teresa and Rocio welcomed us with open arms along with 20 students ready to explore new directions.

Adriene and art quilting teacher Leidalia Flaque choosing fabrics.

Music, dancing, fabric, friends and food.  What more can you ask for on a tropical afternoon.

 Yummy chicken lasagna.  Adriene introduced us to keeping a photo journal of our food journey too.

Yes the gang's all here.  Thanks Ana Luisa, Victoria, Ile, Maribelle, Tania, Lia, Marto, Laurie, Marianela, Ana Isabel, Olga, Miriam, Jeannette, Ana, Edelina, Adriana, Damaris, Jamilett, Leidalia, Sonia, Alexandra, Soledad, Maria Teresa. Rocio, Adriene and EdJohnetta  for a good time.

Adriene's art work.  She says she just can't stay in the block.

Store team members Gaby, Susan, Maiky and Patricia.  I love those aprons.

Maiky, Maribelle, Patricia, Ed and Rocio all smiles.  Who wouldn't with all the fabric around.

This is rainy season in Costa Rica and during the class we could hear the roll of thunder and very heavy rain that had totally cleared by the end of class.  It was a wonderful day and I am happy to say friends are emailing me and becoming my friends on Facebook.  This morning I was already encouraged by Leidalia to get my Spanish going.  In the meantime get out there and make something beautiful.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Costa Rican Adventure

Lush green foliage could be seen everywhere as we traveled around  the vicinity of San Jose, the capitol of Costa Rica.  Our hosts, the Costa Rican North American Cultural Center in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy of Costa Rica arranged a variety of events and activities for us to see and participate in.   Women of Color Quilters Network members EdJohnetta Miller, Adriene Cruz, L'Merchie Frazier, Dr. Robert Steele of the Driskell Art Center of the University of Maryland and I had the pleasure of interacting with artists from various parts of Central, North and South America as part of the Redtextilia's First Encounter of the Ibero American Textile Network in the Sophia Wanamaker Gallery.

On day one we took the scenic tour  to Irazu Volcano National Park.  Our knowledgeable, fun loving and generous guide extraordinaire, Maria Teresa Arteaga showed us the sites on the scenic back road to Irazu. I even had the good fortune to receive a gift of wonderful smelling local onions.  I sure hated I couldn't cook with them or bring them home.  But the gift was one more sign of the generous and welcoming nature of the Costa Rican people.

This bovine beauty graced our hotel entryway.  The Jade Boutique Hotel provided excellent accommodations and the adjacent restaurant had delicious food.  We never got around to trying the interior pool.  The temperature was certainly warm enough. 

This was our true home base while trekking in San Jose.  It was 3 blocks from our hotel; another block to shops and a market and within walking distance to the University of Costa Rica, known as UCR.  I loved it since I graduated from UCR (University of California, Riverside, CA).

 This beautiful public art piece is on the side of a building on the UCR campus.  Following are a few additional gems we found on the campus tour. The flags hanging are for Costa Rica's Independence Day on September 16.

This piece is one of my absolute favorites.  The UCR sign with the bamboo fits with my ongoing love affair with bamboo.  We have five varieties in our front and back yards.

This particular piece was inspirational as I begin preparing to create my first outside public art project. 

For a bit of fun there's the Boogie Gator.  That's what I call him and it makes me chuckle every time I see it.  Let's all get on out there and dance.

Winding our way up to Irazu we were treated to scenic vistas at every turn.  Tin/zinc roofs glistened in the clouds.  A typical Monday washday was apparent as clothes were hanging here and there.  Maria Teresa explained the farms had such rich soil because of past volcanic eruptions.  Unfortunately farms were devastated by the1960s eruptions.  See this link for more information

 Ed, Marion and Maria Teresa enjoying the cool morning air.  Thanks Adriene!

This is one of many church studies I hope to complete.  This is the old church.

 This is the new church.

This is a side road that we passed where the farmer in the background gave me the onions.  We had stopped while the main road was blocked for gutter cleaning.  This is the rainy season and I'll have more stories about later on.

There were plenty of cows to see and some could not be contained.  MOOOO!

Ed, Marion and Adriene are enjoying the "Poor Man's Umbrella Plant".  They are huge and beautiful to see.
Reaching the volcano was spectacular.  We managed to reach the summit without rain and saw the craters before the clouds came creeping in.

Buildings on the crater rim.

Side crater with formation that looks like a fish.  The black crater ash has a wooden walkway but parts can be walked on.

Main crater with clouds coming in.

Marion with Irazu Crater in the background.  The volcano is 11,250 ft.  I felt it too with a bit of altitude sickness coming down.

Maria Teresa, Adriene and I walked on this lava field and could smell the sulfur as we walked.  It had a firm texture and was easy to walk on.

It was a memorable tour and an exciting way to start our textile adventure.