I hope everyone had a Happy Halloween. This is the 18th day of the Robert's Snow Blogging for a Cure internet blizzard and I am so proud to be a part of it.
Tonight, us Aztec dancers and Latinos will be celebrating Dia de Los Muertos (see post below to find out where I'm dancing). Dia de los muertos is a very special day for us danzantes (the proper term for an Aztec dancer). On this night, we honor our ancestors, the people we loved who have died. We believe that they have moved on to another world and on this night, they come and visit the earth and the families they left behind. For danzantes, each dance is a prayer. The steps of the dance all tell stories and thank the Creator for what we have in this life.
Our costumes symbols show our family line of all who have come before us so we are literally dancing and praying with our ancestors. They are with us in the dance. The copal smoke that burns during the ceremony sends our prayers up to the sky. The night is filled with magic, we build altars of fruit and flowers, we make our departed ones favorites foods, sugar skulls are lovingly created and placed on altars along with the muertitos made of paper machier. I bake, like so many other women the traditional pan de muertos. Music and poetry and stories fills the air. I think that Victoria Jamieson's whimsical and beautiful snowflake Jerry Performs Carmen fits right in with el dia de los muertos as does this whole battle against the cancer that has taken so many of our loved ones to Mictlan - the land of the dead.
Victoria's snowflake shows an ice skating, ice dancing really pig performing Carmen. You all know we love pigs here at AmoXcalli and Cuentecitos. Carmen just happens to be one of my favorite operas. The fact that I'm featuring the night before Day of the Dead and Jerry is dancing on ice skates strikes me as uncannily coincidental. I think Jerry is dancing his own prayer for a cure.
I had the great pleasure of chatting with Victoria Jamieson via email and found out some really neat and interesting things about this very talented, gracious and lovely artist. I hope you find her snowflake as wonderful as I do.
Here's a little bit about Victoria.
I was born in Havertown, Pennsylvania, and my family moved to Tampa, Floria when I was twelve. After graduating from the Rhode Island School of
Design in 2000, I'm now settled in Brooklyn, New York, where I work as a
freelance illustrator, as well as a designer at Greenwillow Books. My first
published illustrations will be in bookstores in February, in "The Gollywhopper
Games", by Jody Feldman (Greenwillow Books).
It took me a little while after graduation to realize that I wanted to be a
children's book illustrator. I traveled around for a bit, working as a portrait
artist onboard a Carnival Cruise ship. If you want to practice drawing facial
expressions, drawing portraits for 8 hours a day is a good way to do it!
Later on, I went to Australia to study Museum Studies, but characters and story
ideas kept following me! Actually, a trip to a "Sheep Fashion Show" in Sydney
planted the seed for "Bea Rocks the Flock", to be published by Bloomsbury in 2009.
Now I am happily pursuing other stories that have been nesting in my brain over
the years. I absolutely love illustrating children's books. It's exciting for me
to develop characters and their environments in my head, and then to create a
tangible record of my imaginings in a painting.
Thank you so much for contacting me to be part of the Robert's Snow blog-a-thon!
It's such a beautiful project, and I'm honored to participate along with so many
of my heroes (ie, children's book illustrators!) Like many others, I'm sure, I
first heard about Robert's Snow through the Blue Rose Girls blog, and Grace Lin's
blog. I'm not a scientist or a doctor, so this was a good way to use the skills I
actually do have to help in the fight against cancer.
The inspiration for my snowflake mainly came from the fact that I L-O-V-E ice
skating, to a degree that sometimes seems at odds with my daily life. After years
of staring wistfully at the Olympic skaters on TV (not to mention such fine
cinematic events as "Ice Princess" and "The Cutting Edge), I took my first ice
skating lessons last winter. Like Jerry on my snowflake, I did not let my very
evident lack of skill interfere with my excitement for each class. I can relate
to someone like Jerry, who does not let something like "talent" stand in the way
of his passion! I am proud to report, after 12 weeks of lessons, I am now able to
spin & even do a little jump (although I think it is called, literally, the Bunny
My first self-authored children's book will be published by Bloomsbury in 2009.
It features a sheep, Bea, who is also not content with the hand life has dealt
her. I enjoy creating characters who I can relate to-- like Bea, I have had my
share of sometimes scary adventures, bad haircuts, and questionable fashion
advice. I look forward to creating many more characters throughout my career!
I don't know about you but I can't wait to read Bea Rocks the Flock!
To find out more about Victoria Jamieson, check out her website here.