New stuff is in the works.
I made a delightful excursion to one of my favorite places for supplies yesterday with one of my favorite artist pals. It’s in Logan Square. A little place called Botanica Obatala.
Now, some makers of things are all trade secret-y. Won’t let you photograph their stuff, won’t tell you how they make it or what they use. And that’s their choice and that’s fine. Not how I roll, though. Personally? It’s the age of the internet y’all. The information is out there, and they can cut and paste anything you put up on line. So I figure why get sweaty about it. Also, my teachers philosophy (and mine too, since it seems a practical one to me) was always to go ahead and give people the information they wanted. Why? Two reasons. One, crafts, like languages, die. And they die when nobody knows how to do them anymore. So share what you know to honor your craft and keep it alive. And two, 99% of the people asking for your knowledge aren’t going to use it. Those that do, won’t use it as well as you do. And if they do? More power to ’em. This business is for love, not riches. If someone is as crazy as you are, welcome them to the fold. As for stealing my ideas? Eh, whatever. If they do it better than me, then either I should step up my game or do something else. So I don’t waste my time getting agitated about it. Which is why I share my super secret shopping spots and what kind of glue I use. I ain’t scairt.
Lookit all those saint cards! It’s going to be another nicho factory up in heah. You can find saint cards online for a little less than at a botanica (Spanish for Wonderful and Creepy Little Voodoo Shop Type Thing), but then you don’t get the unadulterated joy of shopping in a botanica. They’re packed to the gills with mysterious powders, potions, candles, oils, statues of various sorts, bones, horns, saints in plaster, resin, paper and clay, secretos (which are like ready made spells or prayers all stapled and glued together), beads, charms, milagros, and the proprietor/es, who is usually a wealth of information. Not all botanicas are friendly places. The one across from my favorite Lebanese place charged me gringo prices last time I went there, which, hey, not a gringo, so not cool, and also, my best friends are gringos so discrimination, also not cool. But Botanica Obatala isn’t like that. Their prices are great and the lady who runs it and all her disciples that I’ve met are super nice.
Cultural Factoid: Botanicas are run by a priest/ess of the religion (whatever derivative of the original African religion it may be) and their disciples. Usually. I’ve never personally seen any other model, but there are probably some others out there.
In any case, the art supplies are not to be beat if, like me, you’re into making folk art.
I also found him…
That’s Eleggua, Yoruban trickster and god of crossroads and paths. I have a couple of his syncretized saints in mini nichos, but wanted one that had the shell face. I picked this one because he looks like he’s smiling at you. He’s on every altar, because, like Ganesh, he’s prayed to at the beginning of all rituals and works to remove obstacles and ensure a smooth journey.
In other news, the glitter skulls are coming along…
The two smaller ones will definitely be ready for Magi Market in Pilsen. Which, if you’re in Chicago, you should go to. All the cool kids will be there.