¡Oye! A LAtina perspective on food, fashion, familia and art.

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Hiromi Paper

by Laura E. Alvarez


Where am I? Hogwarts? Japan? No, I have entered yet another portal in Santa Monica. A little jem of a place bursting, yes, bursting with papers. My three favorite kinds of shops to get lost in are the following:

1) Book stores.

2) Art supply stores.

3) Stationary shops.

What do these three stores all have in common?




Hiromi Paper has been going since 1988 on the west side of Los Angeles. Their reach is international. You can find them at paper conferences all over the world. You can find the papers they have collected in art books, prints, installations… and more – all over the world. They actually know the people who make these papers. Washi. The “wa” means Japanese. The “shi” means paper. Hiromi Paper. You can order their products online. Yes! I follow their facebook page. They also have a lovely blog here. It’s a whole world of Washi.


This represents my Martha Stewart obsession for organization that accompanied my first pregnancy. Good times. I’m not like that anymore, but this little shelf of stationary cubbies does make my heart sing a little.


It’s a slice of cedar tree. That you can write on. I’m not making this up.20140721-234924-85764866.jpg

A sheet of blood oranges to make a grocery list on. See what I mean? It’s another world.20140721-234924-85764100.jpg

Pop, pop, pop. There’s a little secret notebook. And pencil.20140721-234923-85763351.jpg

Okay, now. Here’s the story. My boy decided he would make a book. So he chose the above paper in the middle for the cover. Handmade in Nepal. You can’t go wrong. He loved this photo so much that it is his home screen on his ipad mini.20140721-234930-85770320.jpg

Next, he chose the above paper for the pages of his book. It’s pretty thick, kinda green, Chu Tsharsho, naturally dyed from Bhutan.              20140721-234927-85767955.jpg

Joanna and Yuki are part of the Hiromi Paper team. They are super nice, knowledgeable and helpful. They told my boy he could try drawing on a sample of the Chu Tsharsho, naturally dyed from Bhutan. 20140721-234927-85767198.jpg

The drawing on the sample worked out.20140721-234928-85768798.jpg

It’s all wrapped up so pretty. Stay tuned for Hiromi Paper, Part Two where you see how the book gets made!

Also, check out photos here from when I actually got to teach a printmaking workshop at Hiromi Paper. That was SO fun.


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by Laura E. Alvarez


Oye! I got to meet with my favorite Chicana poet, Gloria Enedina Alvarez this week.  We collaborated on a California Artist Residency TWENTY YEARS AGO.  I know.  What? Was I 12 or something?  No, but I was kinda fresh outta college, and I had to learn to drive just to do the residency.  Yes, I learned to drive going from Santa Monica to East L.A. in the most stolen car of that year – a 1983 Oldsmobile Delta 88, leather top.  People liked to turn them into low riders.  It was in mint condition, and random old guys were always trying to buy it off me.  But I digress…

Gloria!  She is as youthful, funny, and life-enjoying as the last time I saw her so many years ago.  Here, we pose in front of a French revolution mural in Atwater.  So funny, us being revolutionary Chicana artists and trying to be as French as possible as we get older.  (Yes, that is a marc by Marc Jacobs lace blouse I am wearing.)

God, cars and clothes.  I digress again.

Here is a sprinkling of Gloria Enedina Alvarez mind blowing granules of gold from yesterday:

1)  Her identity is poet.  

That, alone is enough.  I mean, come on.  In my next life my identity will be poet just because it’s so… solid, yet mysterious.  I will reside in a Scottish castle and write poetry.  I will wear electric blue hand knit ponchos, sip Earl Grey, and write about the mist and mi corazòn.

2)  She WANTS to reside in a Scottish castle and write poetry.

That’s where I got the idea.  Duh.

3)  The Repatriation Thingy

In 1932 her dad was just a three year old in Cheyenne, Wyoming (where he was BORN) and his whole family was rounded up and sent “back” to Mexico.  Gloria’s grandfather walked his cattle from Wyoming all the way back to where his family lived in Mexico.  (Can you see my tear stains blotting out these words?  Where’s the app for that?) When Gloria’s dad came back to the U.S. as an adult the government gave him a hard time for being a “draft dodger”. Seriously. This story came out of a collaboration with artist, Christina Fernandez.  Read more about Repatriation here.

4)  Writing Circles About Food

Lately, she gets together with other women and they write poetry about food.  She wants to make an anthology about it.  This sounds so cool. I want to go to one, and I can’t wait to read it.  I’m already hungry.  For now you can check out her work in books such as this.

5)  Ceremonia heals.

Sweat lodges. Herbs.  It’s all true.  I thought you had to go all the way to Taos to do that stuff, but apparently they have sweat lodges here, too.  I’m not going to get into it, but that story blew my mind.

6)  She made some mention of a play or opera she wrote… Paris?

Oh my goodness.  It just gets better.  Peter Sellars directed a couple.  Esa Pekka conducted one.  Los Angeles Philharmonic.  Etc., etc.  Read the full deal here.  Impressive.

7)  Nopales growing guerilla gardening poets like Ari Robles are the kind of magical people that populate her life.

Enough said. I am hooked on all things Gloria.

8)  Eyes are on her last conquest in her goal towards total optimum health domination… SLEEP.

Gotan Project, and Nova Lima… It’s kind of their fault she doesn’t get enough sleep, really. They “call” her from afar and beg her to come dance to their South American rythms. That and something about just loving the night. Artists don’t own cows. I’ve never heard of one, at least.

9)  Spanglish is king.

We didn’t talk about this, but since our get-together I appreciate how much she appreciates this. The beautiful mix of words that can’t be really translated in one language or the other is splendarious (a word made up by one of my favorite poets who inspired the Rey part of Simone Rey). Really. This is just natch for her writing and mine and even more so for the way Gloria talks. I LOVE IT.

10) Here’s what I’m talking about…


An offering

of starbursts

releases us

to receive each other

for ourselves

to know

it is the spirit

which draws us near

the Embrace of the infinite

that pulls and pulses

in each of us

The Flame

an endless flight

Una ofrenda

de nebula

nos libera

a recibirnos

para nosotros


el espiritu


el Abrazo del infinito

tira y pulsa

en cada quien

La Llama

un vuelo sin fin

by Gloria Enedina Alvarez