Saturday, July 24, 2010

My Presentation At the 2010 Sloan-C Conference In San Jose, California

Hello colleagues, students, and friends! I just returned from the Sloan-C/MERLOT, "Emerging Technologies in Online Learning Symposium" (July 20-23) in San Jose, Ca., where I presented a poster "Using A Web Log To Engage Students & Enhance Learning". In addition to my "onsite" presentation, I uploaded the poster to the Sloan-C Virtual Conference site for "virtual attendees", many from different parts of the world.

I enjoyed meeting and networking with other online educators, some who author their own blogs and others who are interested in supplementing their online courses with a faculty blog. My presentation focused on how I integrated my faculty blog "Where in the World Is Professor Kulik?" with my online course, Global Social Change, during the Summer of 2009 in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. To learn more about the Sloan Consortium, click on this link. To learn more about MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching, click on this link.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Cajas para Casa! Boxes for Bambinos!

On Saturday, July 24, 2010, our academic service-learning partner, Casa de los Angeles, will be holding a fundraiser -- a silent auction and fiesta. Beautiful hand-crafted boxes created by local artists will be auctioned to raise funds for the non-profit daycare center. The event will be held at the Fabrica La Aurora from 6-8 p.m. and will include entertainment, music and botanas.

My friend, writer and artist, Lynda Schor, designed a box (Pajaros en Caja - Birds in a Box) to be auctioned at the fundraiser. See photo above.

Before it became an art and design center in 1991, the Fabrica La Aurora was a leading textile factory in Mexico (Negociacion Fabril de la Aurora) for over 90 years.

Fabrica La Aurora (above) is now an art and design center. The Fabrica
is home
to over forty galleries, studios, shops, and restaurants

Above: The Fabrica during its heydey as a leading textile manufacturer

History of the Fabrica La Aurora


"Negociacion Fabril de la Aurora known as La Aurora was a leading textile factory for over 90 years. Its location below “Las Colonias” Dam was strategic for generating the electricity needed for the textile plant. The construction of the factory was completed in 1902 and is typical of textile plants designed by an English company in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Its fa├žade with twelve stone-carved arches and the impressive wrought iron gates that open onto a gracious patio offer a sharp contrast to the functional design of the interior spaces. The original structure remains intact except for the minor renovations undertaken to accommodate the present studios, galleries, shops, and restaurants."

Above: The pipe that brought water from the resevoir to power the hydrolic turbines of the factory.

"As a working factory, La Aurora was equipped with cylinders, spindles, and looms to process the bales of raw cotton that arrived to the plant from the cotton-producing areas of La Laguna in the center part of Mexico and from the states of Sinaloa and Sonora. The process of cleaning, ginning, carding, and spinning the raw fiber into a yarn or thread was all done on the premises."

"The final product, manta or unbleached muslin, woven from the thread was sold throughout Mexico. The Aurora manta was of high quality and used to make indigenous clothing and home linens. Some special grades of thread were spun specifically for use in the making of “rebozos”. By the 1970’s, production included heavy canvas used in making tennis shoes."

"The first looms and spindles were imported from England in the early 20th century. By the mid-l950’s, most of the English machinery was replaced with later models from Germany and Switzerland. Being able to maintain this imported machinery was essential to production. La Aurora had an on-site forge, a mechanics shop, and a carpentry shop. In addition, there were storage spaces filled from floor to ceiling with replacement parts. Some of the most interesting structural features can be seen in the spaces that were formerly maintenance areas."

Above: Entrance to La Fabrica La Aurora

"Generations of San Miguelenses worked in the factory owned by the Garay family since 1932. At the time of its closing, La Aurora was the largest employer in San Miguel with a work force of over 300, and it had become an integral part of the daily lives of its workers and the San Miguel community. Sports, music, and participation in local celebrations were all a part of the Aurora trademark. For many years, San Miguel families would arrive to the factory grounds on Sunday with their picnic lunches to listen to the Aurora band that was set up under a kiosk in the garden. The Aurora also sponsored a soccer team and a baseball team. In addition, there were many observances of San Miguel traditions such as the Mass on December 12 to honor the Virgin of Guadalupe. An altar was arranged inside the factory, and a local priest came to deliver the Mass."

Above: The Garay family, owners of the factory.

"La Aurora also set tradition. The “Alborada” which celebrates the patron saint of San Miguel was instituted by the factory workers. On the designated September weekend, a special band of musicians contracted by the workers arrived by train. A cannon made in the factory forge especially for this event was loaded onto a wagon and prepared to fire. Then, in the predawn hours, the procession of workers and their families carrying the image of the patron saint was accompanied by the musicians and the Aurora cannon from La Colonia Aurora to the Parroquia. The “Alborada” has changed in many aspects today, but the procession marking the beginning of the feast day celebration still departs from the oldest neighborhood in the city, La Colonia Aurora.

Free trade agreements brought many changes to the Mexican textile industry and La Aurora was not an exception. Cotton imports began flooding the market and domestic production was greatly affected. As a result, the steam generated whistle which signaled the start and finish of each shift and was a notable sound in San Miguel for almost 90 years blew for the last time on March 11, l991." (History of La Aurora from:

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Mexican Sarapes of the 19th & 20th Centuries

Last night I attended an exhibition of exquisite vintage Mexican sarapes (also spelled serape or zarape) curated by collector Mayer Shacter of Galeria Atotonilco. In August, the sarapes will be permanently housed at the Museum of the Sarape in Saltillo, Mexico.

What is a sarape?

According to the The Textile Museum, "Sarapes were an essential item for the vaqueros, or cowboys, of the ranches of northern Mexico in the 18th and 19th centuries, serving as cloak, sleeping blanket and saddle padding as needed. During the Mexican War of Independence from Spain from 1810 to 1821, the vaquero was idealized into a national hero and his sarape became an icon of the new Mexican national identity. The finest sarapes, such as this classic example, were extremely expensive and were probably worn by hacienda owners and other gentlemen as part of their riding costume, along with elaborately wrought silver spurs and embroidered chaps" (The Textile Museum).

Enjoy the following slide show of my photos of the exhibition.