Tuesday, February 24, 2009

African and Mexican Adventures, Blogging Discoveries/Tips

"The universe is made of stories, not atoms." Muriel Rukeyser

African Adventures
Another trip to African Mama's shop this week where I enjoyed using my digital camera again and then playing with photoshop with the images. I love the intense colors, the designs, the craftsmanship, and the masks are fascinating. They all hold a story, a mythology of the people who created them.
And here is a quick African mask drawing I did in my Art-A-Day journal that I started last November. So far, so good, one art drawing or collage done for every day...

I was thinking again of my French cousins who recently made a soulful trip into the now unstable and dangerous Congo and came back with two adopted children. Quite frankly, an adventure that was quite hair-raising (rebel fights with machetes in front of their hotel, interrogations about trafficing children, and more). A story of courage, patience and perseverance with great reward at the end and a return to their home. Their compelling story and wonderful pictures can be found here. The most heartwrenching pictures are those of all the children in the orphanage looking out at you... It is all in French, but after all, I have provided some translators if you wish to read.
Mexican Adventures
I'm beginning to think about getting ready for Artfest 2009 in April where I will be taking another workshop from talented assemblage artist Michael DeMeng. The found object assemblage ("doll" if you will) above I made last year in a class with him. Looking at his blog I read about his adventure at the Island of Dolls in Mexico City (great photos, story and videos). Recently I'd seen a documentary on the travel channel about that very place and thought it looked/sounded creepy, but the story behind it is haunting and quite beautiful in a strange way. I once saw a local museum exhibit where in a very large empty room, 100 vintage, broken, used dolls had been installed all standing (feet glued to the floor) staring straight ahead about 2 feet apart throughout the room, all speechless but communicating. Dolls, like masks, embody the stories of the maker, the owner and the place and time where they were brought to life among the people.

Blogging Discoveries/Tips
Some quick blogging notes on changes I made I thought might be helpful, Im no expert, but....

I discovered a much better version of the Google Translator which was improved thanks to Joel Robinson, and replaced my previous one. Now if you click on a flag it translates to the language indicated right here on this page and so eliminates the step of having to navigate away from my blog and then having to insert url or text. In addition, I've added the Dictionary translator which does navigate away but is handy for sidebars which don't translate with the Google Translator. You can add either gadget to your own by clicking on them and going to that site.

In Case of a Crash
I finally saved a version of my blog template in the dashboard which Blogger advises to do. But even better than that my programmer husband taught me this great easy thing to do that I will also pass on to you. Go to the current page of your blog, then go to the web toolbar, click on view, then source. The window opened up will show all of the codes which make up your blog. Now highlight, copy, and paste it into a word processing document such as Word or Wordperfect and save and date it. Occasionally, you may want to update that with your latest version. Now if your blog disappears (as I've heard some do) or some other blog mishap then you will have a better possibility of reinstating what you had. Additionally, the source codes appears to include ALL the postings that you have set your blog to show when opened.


Anonymous said...

I added your blog to my Blog Reader and am enjoying your posts.

Anonymous said...

I looked through your blog and added it to our favorites. It is cool - looks great.

HeartFire said...

Thank you readers who spur me on to keep writing and posting...

beenebag said...

Very cool. Who knew your blog could disappear. Tell your husband thanks for the tip. Now I'm all backed up:)

see you at artfest:)

HeartFire said...

You're welcome and I'll let him know, it will make him smile! See you at AF!!