20 Neigborhoods at Enlace Chicago

Teaching Artist Olga Maria Marroquín tells us about the workshops at Enlace Chicago

August 26, 2012

Class 1: The first class got off to a great start, we had three ladies who were enthusiastic and willing to share their stories and experiences as they related to Woman Made Gallery’s theme. We talked about the concept of the workshops, the objective of having them and the impact we hoped to obtain by digging into ourselves and creating art based on our experiences and hopes. We broke down each word and talked about what it meant to us personally as well as what came to mind when pondered on it. I encouraged the women to also think about abstract images as they reflected on each word.

We then used the “where I’m from” exercise to get to know each other. One of the ladies said “this will help us get to know things about ourselves we didn’t even know!” I really liked that she said that because I personally feel like older Hispanic women are not encouraged enough to take time and contemplate what it is that really inspires us as well as what weighs us down. The three women all had a lot in common but most of all they all talked about growing up on a ranch in Mexico and the beauty as well as the difficulties of being a woman when you grow up on a ranch. At this point we did start to hit some emotional turf as one of the ladies described the unfairness, bias and macho mentality her grandfather (who owned the ranch) portrayed as she grew up there. The two other ladies came in and out of conversation sharing their similarities in the story. Although all this was personal to them, nothing was taken to a sour place. Everything was talked about in a conversation tone and we ended up losing track of time.

Class 2: Our second class wasn’t as productive as unfortunately just one of the women was able to make it. I spoke to Hector and asked if he could check in with the other two. Sadly we had to cancel class for the day since the other women were not able to attend.

Class 3: Focused on: “Self” We had one of the original participants come in (Yolanda) with her young daughter Crystal as well as a new lady (Teresa)… I had copies made of the words they came up with at the 1st session describing what “Self, Home, Community and City/World” meant to them. I gave Teresa and Crystal a little back-ground of what the projects concept is. They started to cut out pictures from magazines that reflected “Self” and likes, hopes, or interests. We then took turns to describe what each cut-out meant to us and why we chose it. Crystal was a little apprehensive at first to speak, but once we started the conversation circle, she felt comfortable enough to share. It was interesting to see both mother and daughter describe their likes and aspirations for a garden. They had both picked out images with grass and flowers on them. I then had the ladies select postcards from our art resources that most sparked their interests or reminded them of a child hood experience. My helper Laura picked out a cactus postcard and described her road trips to Mexico when she was younger. Teresa said she too could relate to that. We then took our magazine cut-outs and I showed them how to do the packing tape transfer technique. They thought it was very cool.

 Class 4: Focused on: “Home” Today I had participants bring in pictures from home. I showed them how to do the gel medium transfer and my helper Laura showed them how to make their magazine cut-outs into plastic like form also using the gel medium. I introduced them to some of the textiles from our resources and had them choose a couple to incorporate to their boxes that reflected elements in their home. Also, Angelica from class #1 made it in and we got her up to speed. I’m happy I finally remembered to take some photos.

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