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Comments for Colors and Miracles

ColourColors and Miracles: 04/27/06

For the last week I've been reading Colour by Victoria Finlay about the history, economics and culture behind various hues. I'm currently in the chapter about the color red. In it, she discusses the history of carmine (now mostly used as Red Dye #1) and it's harvest from the cochineal insect in the Americas (including Mexico). The bulk of the Mexican harvest was in the cactus ranges in the center of the nation (roughly Mexico city to Oaxaca). Some daring entrepreneurs risked life and limb to smuggle the bugs out of the country (rarely with any success). They would have to take the bugs on the leaves of the cactus plant, wrapped up in thick cloth to hide the evidence from customs agents and police.

I didn't think much of this information while reading the book beyond the interest in bug guts being used for such a lovely shade of red. Then while asleep I made another connection to the info: the miracle of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Her image was found painted on the tilma (cactus cloth) of a local native in the place where cochineal flourishes and at the time that Spain was trying to control the export of the dye from Mexico. If you look at the virgin's basic shape, it's rather like that of a prickly pear leaf. Couldn't this miracle have been this man's way out of a sticky smuggling situation?

I am not trying to lessen the importance of the Virgin of Guadalupe to Mexican culture. She is the heart and soul of the country and as important a visual icon as the Statue of Liberty is here in the States. But can't a miracle have humble and earthly beginnings?

With a New School, Comes a New Cold:

Sean is home today with a cold that he caught at his new preschool. I bet he's really bummed about being sent home: he really loves his new school. Ian is taking this round of staying home with Sean which I appreciate. I have a project I'm working on with a tight deadline. Going home today would not have been an easy thing to do.

Building a Blog

I've been having fun today building a set of working prototypes for a blog we're designing for a client at work. My current job doesn't have much opportunity to build pages from wire-frames (whereas it was a near daily event at Oracle). It's been a nice addition to today's tasks.

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