Tuesday, February 26, 2019

ORLL, Making Twenty-dollar Güiros. Austin Artists Attendance Asked.

Creating Cultural Currency Launches With Guiro Workshop
Michael Sedano

Saturday’s guiro workshop was like the old days for me, when I was training assembly lines of people making automotive windows. Except Saturday we are a group of artists learning to make twenty-dollar bills out of timber bamboo.

Traveling guiro fabrication line. Regular and Timber Bamboo samples.
Today’s workshop culminates on December 1, 2019 at noon, when the artists deliver their finished production to La Tienda at Plaza de la Raza,(link) then show up the days of the sale and work the vendor table.

This is my ORLL, Operations Report, Lessons Learned, a planning roadmap of where we go from here. The overall project, Creating Cultural Currency, is something artists can duplicate in their own locales, especially where establishment places reaching out for diversity open new markets to chicanarte. 

Now is the time to get holiday inclusion launched. Kudos to Plaza de la Raza for sponsoring the events, and more for idea generators Margaret Garcia and Amy Inouye. (links). La Bloga will continue reporting on the project as it moves into high gear.

Garcia envisions the project seeding knowledge into the community of ways to make money. Garcia observes in Facebook, "Cultural Currency is a #grassroots #initiative using art to improve the economy of our community. “ Comprised of local artist who want to give back to the community, the goal for the collective is to “partner working artist with members of the #underserved communities to design, produce, and promote artworks. Partners will learn new #skills that will enhance future employment opportunities in an #entrepreneurial environment."

Anything worthwhile deserves FU. Be it a 15 minute reading of your own stuff, or something taking weeks of planning, important work deserves evaluation. And when there’s money and commitments to others involved, people who don’t Follow Up, Foul Up.

Screen grab from May de Castro Facebook. Used with permission. ©May de Castro.

Fortunately, FU is easily begun by posing three questions: What worked? What didn’t work? What will I do differently next time? (For readers and public speakers, the questions are “What did I like about my reading? What is one element I must do differently next time I read? What is something I want to try, do more of, or not at all?”).

On Saturday, What worked? Seven people attended out of a ten-person goal.
What didn’t work? Moving outdoors disrupted the orderliness of our process.
What will I do differently next time? Take an elementary approach to power tools. Do fabrication outdoors.

Designing the embellishment of their first guiro.
Being able to do training again was fun. Talking to people, working toward a common goal, is its own reward. We talked theory, quality, value, examined samples, then drew a personal design to burn or engrave onto a guiro. That was the first hour.

We took several lengths of cured bamboo and sawed them into twelve segments. Individuals worked personal segments with power tools to fashion blank guiros. A supplemental lesson learned, I wasn't proactive enough with Plaza's administration to ensure their own FU to my site visit last week. Some guy from Plaza showed up and moved us outside, later offering a chop saw if he'd known. A chop saw is a big deal--turns an hour into ten minutes work.

I reminded the artists they needed to work quickly because a twenty dollar guiro shouldn’t absorb ten hours work. The purpose of the industrial model today is to master the process of cutting and finishing bamboo musical instrument toys. 

The same bamboo segment crafted to sell for twenty dollars can be fashioned by the skilled hand with the right tools into a fine instrument of high value. By the same token, the skilled hand can use PVC plumbing fixtures to fashion a ten-dollar toy.

Make a hundred-dollar guiro, I tell the group. Someone jokes about making a thousand-dollar guiro and we all chuckle, only partially in jest. It’s possible. Imagine, the Guarneri of Guiros and it all started at Plaza last Saturday.

Price and value topics open a practical discussion of marketing. The artist has to install value into the hundred-dollar guiro beyond intrinsic beauty. Packaging and display communicate a different message about the thing itself and the artist in person. Ethos is not an accident and this consideration is written into the production checklist.

Going forward through the summer, the artists, perhaps as a collective, will find and harvest timber bamboo, then follow the production process on the written plan to produce a supply of guiros for the December sale. Margaret Garcia will open her studio for FU workshops.

Creating Cultural Currency has ten core projects, the guiro its first. Garcia’s pet name for the activity is “The Toy Project.” Members of the project will use recycled, upcyled, and natural materials to build a variety of toys to delight kids, be affordable to parents, and divert gift spending from Amazon to a local artist.

Here's Alurista's "Let Yourself Be Sidetracked By Your Güiro," from Nationchild Plumaroja, 1972.

Let yourself be sidetracked by your guiro
Carnal let yourself be free
To do your music when your heart pounds
In the melody of your ringing ears
Unto death do not allow your love to pass
Unto life embrace other carnales
Help each other sweat the day away
Eat your tortillas together
Carnales we gotta share our joys
In the Quetzal pride
On the pyramid of sun glaze birth
Get together
Make your music
Make your canto raza
Make your barrios
Make your lives carnales
Make la raza live
Unto life juntos
Bajo el sol de nuestros padres

A Güiro will take you places, ¿ves?

Mail Bag-Tejas
Austin Invitation • Start a Cultural Currency Project!
Dear Austin Community,

We are inviting all artists in the community to join us at the Latino Arts Residency Program (LARP) Review Community Meeting. This is a unique opportunity to learn about LARP and to lend your voice to strengthen the Latino artist community in Austin.

We are looking for your thoughts on:
Mission of the Program
Application and Selection Process
Program Contract
Guidelines and Procedures
We welcome your feedback and look forward to seeing you in March!

LARP Review Community Meeting
Monday, March 25, 2019
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Facebook Event

Learn more about LARP by visiting: http://austintexas.gov/page/latino-arts-residency-program.

No comments: