2016 Mexico City La Danze Macabra Workshop with Michael deMeng
October 21 to November 3, 2016
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
After breakfast in the hotel I helped Michael, Colleen and Janet set up the room for the workshop. Today is day one of the workshop portion and it all kicked off a 10:00 a.m.
Workshop Organizer Colleen Darling and Workshop Leader Michael deMeng
Here is the course description:
Join Michael deMeng for a workshop in Mexico City during Dia de los Muertos. This year’s deMeng de los Muertos workshop will explore the use of papier- mâché in art. This, of course is a very popular medium for parades and masks but can also be used for a variety of other artistic creations. It’s something that I have used for years but have never taught in a classroom setting. To make it more free spirited, I thought it might be fun to give you a bit of latitude in your creations where you have the option of creating masks, shrines, puppet people etc. for the grand and festive holiday of Dia de los Muertos. We will start off by collecting bits of rubbish like cardboard, styrofoam and other lightweight material to create a base for our mask/shrine/puppet...then comes the nice and gooey process of papier-mâché.... and finally we bring it all together with some fancy schmancy painting techniques. Let’s get gooey!
My work table and early work on my three masks:
We worked until noon and them all piled into two vans (with Phillipe our guide).
We headed over to the home of the Linares family. This is the quote from Wikipedia:
“The Linares family in Mexico City is the best known practitioners of a craft known as “cartonería” or the use of papier-mâché to create hard sculptured objects. They have an international reputation for the creation of forms such as skeletons, skulls, Judas figures and fantastical creatures called “alebrijes. While the family’s history in the craft can be traced back as far as the 18th century, it was the work of Pedro Linares, who invented the alebrijes, that made the family famous. Pedro’s work became internationally famous through the patronage of artists of Diego Rivera and the promotion of it at the 1968 Olympic Games and through documentaries. Pedro died in 1990, but his sons and grandsons continue with the craft, which is sold internationally and have been exhibited in museums in various countries.”
We had a chance to tour the family’s home and to see the artisan’s at work on their craft. Here is a picture of the founder, Pedro Linares.
From the Linares' house we set out by foot for our next destination: lunch and the flower market.
We then walked to the nearby flower market called Mercado Jamaica to do some shopping for souvenirs and things for our mask project. I bought to plain masks, a set of elf ears, two sets of plastic teeth and a plastic bat.
This evening was the opening Welcome Dinner as we are all in place now. We had it at a restaurant very near the hotel whose name I did not catch. The meal was very elegant and satisfying but I was straight to bed at 10:00 p.m. as some of the festivities are starting to catch up with me.
Thursday, October 27, 2016
I got up at 6:00 a.m. this morning, was breakfasted and in the workroom by 7:30 a.m. Class started today at 10:00 a.m.
We all went over to the 222 mall for lunch and I ate at the national restaurant chain Sanborns.
After working in the afternoon on our projects, we all jumped into cabs and went down to the Historico Central and the zocalo.
In the zocalo, the floating gardens of Xochimilco are the exhibit
for Dia de Los Muertos
We visited the Catedral Metropolitana, the oldest cathedral in North America. We went to the Grand Hotel for drinks.
Selfie the old fashioned way
We ate dinner at the La Opera Bar which has bullet holes in the ceiling created by Pancho Villa.
We cabbed home from the zocalo and I was in my room by 10:00 p.m.
Friday, October 28, 2016
Today we are in class the whole day.
In the evening we went to see the Luchadoers at the Arena Mexico. This was a pretty exciting adventure. I am not really into wrestling but no one attending one of these events could not be swayed by the experience everyone else is having. You have to turn your objections off to the fakery and just think like you would at a play. Just so you know what was going on (cameras are not allowed), I "borrowed" this image from the Internet.