pixel_pale.gif (61 bytes) Art Crafted from Recyclables
Handwoven Textiles, Tierra Wools, Inc.
Handwoven Textiles, Jose Isabel Quiroz Garcia
Industrial Technology and Traditional Knowledge




The following is an interview transcription from the 1998 Smithsonian Folklife Festival with participant, Dolores Venegas, an artist who crafts art from recyclables. Translation and interview by presenter and interpreter, Juanita Garza. Dolores Venegas is referred to as DV and Juanita Garza as JG in this transcription.*
Science, Technology & Invention in The Rio Grande:
Crafting Art From Recyclables
JG: Que vas a hacer hoy en la mañana?

DV: Voy a hacer una corona de muertos, con flores la hoja de maíz reciclable.

JG: Dolores is making a corona or a wreath for placing at the cemetery at a gravesite. She starts off by using a styrofoam base and then she will use different materials to make the corona.

DV: Son de diferentes colores. Se lleva naranja, rosa, morado. La tradición para El Dia de Muertos casi solo usamos el negro y naranja y morado.

JG: Dolores says that the corona will be very colorful. It will be in orange, red and purple. Traditionally for the Day of the Dead they are orange with black ribbon.

DV: Usamos hojas de maíz para hacer tipo de corona navideña o para hacer un esta corona de muertos.

JG: Dolores also uses the corn-shucks to make Christmas flowers -- sometimes for the wreaths but more often for decorations or other types of decorations, and for the Christmas poinsettia.

DV: Cuando vamos a hacer una corona de hoja de maíz, usamos pintura, alambre, cartoncillo.

JG: For creating the corn-shuck flower she uses paints, depending on the color she wants to use, wire, and maybe cardboard.

DV: De cosa reciclables uso el sobrante de la bolsa de dispensa para hacer flores.

JG: Dolores uses a lot of recyclable materials. She is showing me the little tabs that hold the plastic bags together [these tabs are left over from plastic grocery bags] that she then makes into flowers that may be different colors. The plastic that she has here is yellow. And so a lot of the materials that Dolores uses are throwaway things.

DV: Con el periódico hacemos piñatas, hacemos jarrones, hacemos floreros, canastas, payasos campesinos, máscaras, todo tipo de figuras con el papel. Porque mas de todo es la materia que utilizamos nosotros. Tenemos mas demanda porque nosotros este más que eso usamos los reciclables para que la basura no contamine la ciudad.

JGDolores is concerned about the environment and so most of the material that she sees get thrown away is newspapers. And so they use newspaper. She uses newspapers to make piñatas, to make paper mache, to make flowers, to weave baskets. The baskets are woven out of newspaper. Little tubes are rolled up from the newspapers and then the newspaper is woven into a basket. The basket is then varnished, the newspaper is then varnished once it is woven and it looks just like bamboo or reed. And they are very concerned about the amount of things that get thrown away and just pollute the environment and so Dolores has found uses for things that people just are throwing away in the environment. One of the other things that Dolores does is to use pantyhose to create vegetables or fruits. And so the pantyhose are filled with cotton to take the shape and then the shape is formed with string or fiber, some kind of fiber. They make garlic just like that garlic wreath over there.

It’s really ingenious how Dolores has used the things that people throw away to make commodities that are sellable because they are really pretty. The piñata--she made that piñata--that piñata she made in three or four days. She starts off with a balloon and inflated balloon--that one took two balloons--one for the head and one for the body. And then the rest of it is simply newspaper that has been shaped to create the clown. It is a gorgeous looking piñata.

* transcription edited for clarity

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