It all started with one shelf of spices and Middle Eastern goods. The need for Middle Eastern products in Albuquerque is what inspired the Aggad family to open Cafe Istanbul. Originally from Palestine, the Aggad’s moved to Columbus, Ohio before making their way to Albuquerque. Since the market’s opening, Cafe Istanbul has been an important part of the community. Customers have shown tremendous support to the Aggad family by bringing them flowers, thank you cards and hugs. “It’s really a blessing,” cafe owner Itadel Aggad said. “We are really blessed to know that people come and they care. We share stories, we share laughs, we share hugs in hard times like Trump’s (election). People would come and say ‘Can I have a hug?’ It means the world. Anytime you communicate with people, it’s the best feeling…and it makes you feel good that they are happy.”
We ventured to another time, where people were one with the clay. Entering the classroom was to know that nothing else would exist for seven hours. Just you, your hands and mind wrestling with the clay.
The struggle was real, and it was beautiful.
We made tea when our hands could no longer understand the signals from our weary minds and when the body was too exhausted from spiraling, wedging and throwing the clay.
We’d sit outside on the wooden benches drinking slowly and breathing even slower to try and attempt it once again.
Here we all were, each with a quiet fight all our own.
I grew frustrated.
I cursed at the clay in my mind and thought, ” how do my hands and mind keep missing one another?” Like star crossed lovers never to kiss. So close, yet so far.
And she told us of Japan. Artist in residence for three months, when all she thought every morning as she cast her sheets aside, gazing out to the grey shackled rooftops-“No, I’m not home I’m still in Japan. Way too early to begin to craft something so fragile. So earthly.”
And we all marveled at her stories, and her wisdom. She breathed art, and Arita porcelain and spoke wonders of the ceramist who taught her everything she knew. Now here we all were attempting the very same craft that takes two years to master in Japan. Naively attempting to do it all in just two weeks.
I felt broken each morning.
Not wanting to get up. The silica had taken its toll on my back, hands, fingers and forearms.
“Not again.” I thought. But the beauty in the struggle was too wonderful. I had to beat it. I had to make something. I had to keep creating. Fighting to do at least something. Anything. My hands grew desperate. Only finding solace in her words…
“Art is a process not only a thing.”
And thats the crux of it isn’t it? As artists in the Western world we are defined by the number of pieces we create. By a finished product.
Yet, here was something so pure, so true, so innocent setting me free.
“Art is a process not only a thing.”
There’s beauty in learning. There’s beauty in the struggle. Growth as artists only happens as you learn new things. Taking different snippets of the various arts there are and mixing them all together to become an entity, an aura all your own.
Yes, I was impatient. But I learned not only from the clay but from the many talented colleagues around me. Colleagues that taught me patiently different aspects of creating, so patiently as I was on the verge of tears.
We humbly made tea for one another, and fed one another. Each afternoon we’d all take a break and listen to each others stories and our instructors oracles of Japan. Of the grey roof tops, the beauty of community, China on the Park and breakdowns at Narita airport.
We sipped our tea, immersed in the clay on our shoes. Growing more as artists-if I dare call myself one-and cheering one another on, even when our pieces were warping into other worldly things.
My hands will not be the same after this class, my muscles, my creative process, my mind.
There’s an honesty, an immersion that happens when you all are in one same creative spirit.
Go out and DO. Do something that you wouldn’t typically do. Because its only stagnant things that die. I may be far from pleased with my finished pieces, but this time it wasn’t about the outcome it was about the process.
All my love,
“I raise up my voice-not so I can shout but so that those without a voice can be heard…we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.”
― Malala Yousafzai
For my Multimedia and Communication project I decided to take a look at behind the scenes of Los Poblanos Inn and Organic Farm kitchen crew, led by the talented head chef Jonathan Perno. Los Poblanos holds a firm belief in sustainability and keeping it local. Not only is there food exquisite but their property is equally charming. This story was also featured on an online gallery in still photos on the Daily Lobo (http://www.dailylobo.com/gallery/photoissue-localgrown) and The Daily Lobo Photo Issue for Fall 2016 (https://issuu.com/conceptionssw/docs/nm_daily_lobo_12_08_16_photo_issue)
So have a look at my first multimedia project consisting of stills, video, music and audio.
I hope you enjoy it, just as much as I did being there and putting it all together.
This past weekends I had to take pictures for a class project (the lengths we go to, I tell ya). I am not one to EVER be on the other side of the camera but for this project I had to. So my lovely bloke (he did great, even though I kept butting in to tell him to change angle, light etc, gosh I can be such a control freak) had to take them for me. To surrender control of my camera is never easy for me, but maybe being on the other side of the lens allows you to be an “interacter” (If this is even a word) instead of an observer, to embrace your own skin and be comfortable in what is, a moment beyond your control. I always tend to see every detail when I am the one shooting, tend to see the little things that make a picture, so giving this up let someone else create is something I need to embrace. I need to remember that I am more than my frames.
“A common legend goes that dumplings were first invented in the era of the Three Kingdoms, around 225 AD. Zhuge Liang, a general and minister of Shu Han, dammed up a poison marsh on his southern campaign against the Nanman with dumplings instead of the heads that the Nanman used.” (Wikipedia)
We ventured to the Talin Market for their weekly Pop-Up dumpling House. The Pop-up house makes Chinese styled dumplings from scratch. A Chinese woman actually stuffs and folds the dumplings delicately using her fingertips. I watched her intently from the bar, as she picked up a piece of dough stuffed it looked at the recipe and folded it, repeating the process over and over occasionaly stopping to speak Chinese with the elder Chinese gentleman stirring the steaming pots. The silver pots full of delectible dumplings steamed before me, the dumplings swimming in boiling water rising and falling.
We sipped out Thai iced coffees enjoying the sharp fresh tanginess aftertaste, as we slurped our sweet and spicy and egg drop soups. Such bliss on a cloudy Saturday afternoon with my best friend. Enjoying the taste of a culture and the togetherness that only a good meal can bring.