Thursday, December 13, 2012

Would you believe? Ana found a mola store!

Frequent visitors to Ana Darcy's blog know of Ana's love of the folk arts and textile arts of Earth. She visits every exhibit she can find of folk toys, dia de los muertos artifacts, paintings, arpilleras (textile sculptures), and molas from Panama (essentially folk paintings with fabric). We have covered many of these here.

One post, on the mola, elicited a comment from a woman in Panama who sells molas online. is a lovely website with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of molas on sale, plus information about the art form, the women who create them, and more.

We couldn't help it: we had to order some. They measure about 10 x 15 inches (25 x 40 cm) and are pictured below, front and back. At the same time very simple yet extremely intricate, they are immensely creative and colorful: totally unique, lovely art.

They could be framed, made into cushions, handbags, or added to clothing to stunning effect. They weren't expensive: only about $10 each. They mail all over the world. Mail to the United States takes three to six weeks.

We wouldn't be surprised if Ana Darcy accumulates quite a collection--but she'll do it under an alias, of course!

(Click for a full-size slide show.)

A frog

Two birds

Birds and...a bat?

(See the first paragraph above for links to other posts to Ana's favorite folk art.)

Do you know Ana Darcy, our Distant Cousin

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Is this an arpillera or not?

Those familiar with Ana Darcy's blog will know her fascination with folk arts and folk toys. Apparently there are similar features among the people of her own planet, Thomo--similar, but different, of course, given the variations of human cultures.

We have shown many examples of the lovely textile sculptures of the Americas, called arpilleras in Spanish. Here is yet another one...we think. Maybe. The arpilleras shown on other pages of this blog maintained for the extraterrestrial Ana are all entire compositions, pictures, as it were, usually with a theme of some kind, often moral.

The example above is not like that. It's a collection of 32 handmade fabric dolls which in other contexts could be members of a classic arpillera. Whether it's an arpillera or not, we can agree that it's a striking piece of art. (It was created in Honduras.)

To better show the three-dimensional character of this bag, here's a photo from one side:

Both photos are generously sized to show details. Merely click either one for a much better look. The X in the top right corner will bring you back to Ana's blog.

There is much more of Ana's favorite art in the column to the right, under the photo of the blue-eyed kitty, including molas, murals, clothing, dia de los muertos figurines, and folk toys to name just a few!

NOTE: There is a great deal of art, poetry, music, architecture and the like on Ana's blog, yet the Distant Cousin stories do not dwell on these. They tell the tale of the first human to return to Earth. The fact that that human loves our art, music, and so forth is celebrated here, but to enjoy Ana herself and learn to know her well, you should try one of her books!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Guess who's reading Distant Cousin?

You might be surprised to know who's been reading Distant Cousin lately!

Hint: He's a voracious reader.

Hint: He knew Dean Martin, Ernest Borgnine, Johnny Carson, Nat King Cole, Sammy Davis Junior, and a thousand other Hollywood stars.

Hint: He shared billing with the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show, one of his 40 appearances there.

Hint: He was awarded the Soldier's Medal for bravery in WWII.

Hint: He was a regular for years on Hollywood Squares.

Hint: His standard greeting is "Hello dere!"

Hint: He's a sweet, friendly, intelligent man.

Hint: Here's a recent photo. (He's on the left.)

Answer: He's comedy legend Marty Allen!

Learn more about this funny, wonderful man at his website, and also Wikipedia.

Learn more about the entertaining book he's reading here.

Learn more about the extraterrestrial woman in that book here!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ana can't stay away from the Folk Toys of the World exhibit

Unless you're a first-time visitor to this blog of our dear extraterrestrial Ana Darcy, you already know that her ancestors, when they were delivered to the planet Thomo some 3000 years ago, died in droves.

The ultimate survival of our distant cousins was due partly to luck, partly to the aid provided them by whoever or whatever it was that took them there, but mostly by their own determination and cooperation, especially in the matter of the nurturing of families and raising of children.

Like most all Thomans, then, Ana retains a love of children, and because of that, a recent exhibition in a local art gallery of folk toys of the world, made by parents and others for their children, often from the most humble of materials but with abundant and obvious love and imagination, captivated Ana completely. She has returned to it over a half dozen times.

In an earlier post we have shown some photos of various displays from this exhibit. Now we shall concentrate on closer views of selected items. What child would not love these toys?

(These photos are generously sized. Click on any photo to begin a slide show.)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Why would anyone read Distant Cousin on a cell phone??

Most readers who have an e-reader like the Kindle or the Nook love the convenience of a great story that unrolls seamlessly in the mind, a story you can get lost in, that you can wallow in. So why, we wonder, would anyone want to read an absorbing novel on the teensy screen of a cell phone? Well, we heard from one reader who has an answer. Here's what she wrote:


I started Distant Cousin…on my iPhone. Now the pitiful Cowboys are playing and they’re not acting as pitiful as usual so I’m reading your book and watching the ‘Boys off and on. Hubby’s on the sofa and I’m in my comfy chair behind him and he hears me occasionally laughing. He finally asks me what I’m laughing about and I tell him about how I don’t care for anything except stories about normal people and you assured me your book was very normal and that I’d like it so I'm reading it.

Now it’s getting about supper time and we’re hungry. When we do takeout our usual MO is I do the ordering, I drive, and my husband goes in and gets the food. Meanwhile, my phone battery is starting to run down so while my husband goes in to get our dinner I am sitting in the car with the engine running, phone plugged in and I’m STILL READING YOUR BOOK!

I love Darcy. I can’t wait to see what happens next. It is indeed a page turner, a cute and funny book with lots of laugh-out-loud parts. You were right. I like it! I just thought I’d let you know that it’s been a fun read and I am thoroughly enjoying it.


Now it makes sense. There really are times when reading a novel on a cell phone is a good idea!

It also makes sense that the Distant Cousin stories are available (and budget priced) for most all e-reading apps: smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices, including Apple, Android, Windows Phone 7 and WebOS, among others.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Still MORE Dia de los Muertos, Molas!

The items below were a part of the Folk Toys of the World (more here) exhibit which thrilled Ana Darcy so much. Her own people, on the planet Thomo, are not so exuberant nor whimsical in their art--except in their children's toys. Now that Ana has her own children and has worked and played with children around the world, she has found her soul opening to embrace the sheer, public joy of these creations. She's glad to share them!

These photos are generously sized to show details. Click any to start a slide show!

A detail from the above. These musicians are tiny!

Molas, as mentioned elsewhere on Ana's blog, are created from layers of material, intricately cut and stitched to make textile "paintings." They are made by the Kuna Indians, living on islands off the coast of Panama. Here we have birds, one with a broom and one with a fish! Amazing!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Ana's delight: folk toys from around the world (ours, not hers)

Ana was utterly charmed by an art gallery show of folk toys from around the world. She said some resemble toys people make for their children on her own planet. (Thomans do not have a gigantic toy industry like we do.) It took her three separate visits to look closely at all the toys. A couple of the dolls (the Family of Man, above) were so close to several she remembered as a child as to bring tears to her eyes.

Below you will see examples of animal toys, vehicles, airplanes, and more. Toys from the Mexican Dia de los Muertos and the molas from the Kuna Indians of Panama will be posted soon. Click any for a full-size slide show!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The variety of Ana's blog: food, art, education, & more!

First, why not take a peek at Distant Cousin? It won't hurt and you might love it, and her!

Matt, husband of the extraterrestrial Ana Darcy, models a Dia de los Muertos t-shirt. The legend says "Beautiful Mexico," and  "Man proposes, God disposes, and along comes Death and everything decomposes." (Matt and Ana love to bicycle down their country road.)

Ana loves the foods of Earth. Here she's arranged a fruit plate according to the color spectrum! See many of her recipes in the column on the right, under the photo of cranberry-apple pie!

Ana is a huge believer in early education, and especially in reading and math. Here are two young practitioners! 

More on early education: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8

Ana loves the arts of the people of Earth, especially the Hispanic peoples (since she lives among them). Here's a mola and a painting of Don Quixote (oil on pine):

More of Ana's favorite art: molas   arpilleras clothing paintings  music

Language fun with Ana: Dichos   Mas dichos   Aun MAS dichos

"I have started reading Distant Cousin and I am charmed. It's been a breath of fresh air."

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Two poems about children tug Ana's heartstrings

If you know anything at all about Ana Darcy you know that she's devoted to children, all children. She treasures both of these two heartfelt poems about children, and if you too love children you are sure to love the poems as well.

We cannot reproduce copyrighted works here, but we can provide links to them. The poems are "Gravity," by Kim Addonizio and "Majority," by Dana Gioia. [NOTE: both pages have been taken down. To find the poems elsewhere please see the workaround.]

Ana would have the poets know they have touched her soul.

There is a great deal of Ana's poetry to be found in the column on the right under the photo of the LOVE sculpture, including

See some of Ana's favorite recipes and art also on the right!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Time for some Mexican folk masks!

Everyone loves a good mask. We learn in childhood that a mask ignites our imagination. A mask allows us to pretend, to experiment with different identities, to become something other than we are. Adults use masks too, for disguise or to perform or entertain.

Ana Darcy Méndez, hailing from the planet Thomo but now living on Earth, in New Mexico (as detailed in Distant Cousin), remembers masks from her childhood. Some of those masks demonstrate the Thoman people's cultural memories of animals on Earth, still recognizable after several thousand years of separation. Others are devoted to animals from the planet Thomo. Both types retain considerable totemic power.

This may explain why Ana is so fascinated with the imagination and creativity seen in Mexican folk masks. She has a small number hanging in her house, but she has friends and acquaintances who actually collect them. Fortunately for us, those friends have allowed us to present a representative sampling here. You may come to realize why someone from another planet would find them fascinating! Click any to enlarge.