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Natalia Anciso Wears Her Art on Her Sleeve

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Anciso

Natalia Anciso has a real eye for color. She has to—she’s an artist. But you don’t have to see her work—which prominently features the bright hues of near-neon flora— to see how Anciso has mastered the use of bold, vibrant colors.

When we meet at Royal Ground Coffee, she emerges through the glass double doors in a cobalt blue t-shirt, scarlet pleated skirt, and indigo glasses. Framing her face is a pair of wood-carved earrings, big red roses in full bloom. She’s impossible to miss.

Though the palate she wears is loud, Anciso herself is surprisingly soft-spoken. Anciso is an artist of inarguable renown; her work has been exhibited around the world, and she’s been featured in high- profile magazines like Elle and Latina. She even earned a shout-out from former Secretary of Education John King, Jr., who said, “How can we expect a student to become the next Kara Walker, Natalia Anciso, or Kehinde Wiley if she’s never analyzed a painting, or had the chance to deeply study American history?” Clearly, Anciso is kind of a big deal.

But you’d never know it from chatting with her over iced teas on a warm, clear day in Berkeley. She speaks gently, sketching out her ideas with thought and care. As she talks, she focuses on her experiences rather than her achievements. She radiates humility, and she says she has her roots to thank for that.

“Texas is home,” she says. “Texas is what shaped me and keeps me humble, especially the town I’m from.” That town is Mercedes, where Anciso grew up and discovered her artistry. A border town, Mercedes is populated by Chicano families who have lived there for generations. She calls it “a very small football town,” like “Friday Night Lights but all Mexican American people.”

Mercedes is also in one of the poorest counties in the United States, and tensions around class, ethnicity, and immigration status permeate the region. These are also the issues that directly and profoundly shape Anciso’s work as an artist.

“Art has been a constant in my life,” she says. “Since I was little, I’ve always been drawing. I started with coloring on walls, and then copying Disney characters, then that evolved to comic books. I was always drawing, drawing, drawing.”

As she got older, she used drawing to understand and work through the social, political, and economic forces that shaped her hometown, as well as the nation. “Drawing is a kind of meditation, almost. I got to reflect a lot in my studio,” she says. “My work deals with experiences of growing up on the border, not really feeling like I’m American enough but being super American to people in Mexico.”

She also draws a lot of inspiration from the connections between her own experiences and the state of our nation. She speaks euphemistically about the current immigration crisis, letting her art speak for her: “It’s hard to process the news, the images that come out . . . how much the people look like me and my family,” she says.

Anciso’s work especially reconciles her identity and her place in America. “One reason I’m always drawn to the border is because my grandma lived three miles from the border, and if we had been just three miles south, that could have been my family.”

Again, she speaks in fairly imprecise terms, especially when it comes to talking about the xenophobic politics that currently endanger countless immigrants. She means to say that her family, too, could have been forced by circumstance to swim across the Rio Grande or trek through the Mexican desert, could have been captured by Border Patrol or held captive in a Texan prison camp. But she makes this point incisively with her art; you know exactly what she meant just by looking “Migra” or “Cruzando,” two of the countless potent drawings she’s produced in the last decade.

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Anciso’s drawings have a striking simplicity to them. Her canvases vary—she draws on everything from paper to fabric, even pillowcases and handkerchiefs—but her drawing style is distinctive, unmistakable. She mostly draws people: students, mothers, fallen soldiers, weary migrants. She draws everyday people, suffering people, people who, she says, “look like me.”

Her central figures are sketched in detailed greyscale. Her technique alone is incredibly impressive. And then, there’s the flowers.

Anciso’s artistic signature is the stunning, delicate, and fully alive flowers that populate her drawings. Shaded with bright colors—pinks, blues, oranges—Anciso’s vibrant flora inject her images with life and love. These tender reminders of growth hover within most of her pieces. In some, they consecrate moments of human beauty: a mother breastfeeding her child, two elderly lovers on a park bench. In others, flowers bloom at the most unexpected, heartrending moments: they sprout from corpses or adorn a crying child.

And the flowers are not just an aesthetic addition—they have deep-seated significance for Anciso, both personally and culturally. “Flowers have always been a big thing in my life,” she says first. “Both my grandmas always had roses everywhere in the house.”

Then she thinks for a moment: “That, and I started researching huipil, those shirts that are embroidered, traditional.” Huipil are Mayan textiles worn by indigenous women throughout Latin America, with meaning woven into their designs. “I started researching [huipil]. I just knew that they were super colorful and bright and I liked them,” she says. “But the flowers that they embroider are specific to location, and that’s what inspires me.”

Anciso adapts this same purposeful artistry in her own floral work. “In my artwork, the flowers that I use are specific,” she says. “So in the work that I’m doing here in California, you’ll usually see the California poppy. When I was doing work based on the border, it was blue bonnets and native flowers [like] hibiscus.” In honor- ing and adapting cultural traditions born south of the border, Anciso has cultivated an original style and a deeply moving body of work. Her oeuvre is at once a clash, a tribute, and a radical act of resistance.

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Anciso’s work confronts you. It puts you face-to-face with the people sidelined by American history and culture; it’s as sociopolitically charged as it is beautiful. One could be surprised that such incisive work could come from a person as mild- mannered and amiable as Natalia Anciso. Or it just might make perfect sense.

“I’m a quiet person; I’m an introvert,” Anciso says. “I won’t be the kind of person who goes out and protests. I do that through my art.” Indeed, her work is her own unique form of protest, a kind that allows her to contribute the larger political conversation through her own special set of gifts.

Anciso’s work is undoubtedly protest art. But her art also has a tenderness, even an occasional whimsy, that makes it truly singular. In her artistic practice, she creates with a clear intention: starting important conversations. “Art is an access point,” she says. “Art plays a big role in getting issues out there and getting people to talk.”

This philosophy of art as an access point has also guided Anciso in other aspects of her life. Anciso isn’t just a full- time artist, but also a full-time teacher. She’s always loved working with kids, and she now teaches elementary school students in the East Bay. She got her MA in Education at UC Berkeley; she loves that Cal’s program emphasized social justice and equity, though she laments its lack of diversity.

She’s deeply and admirably invested in her students, a champion of arts education and a firm believer in the value of empowering young people. She was struck by the disconnect she saw in her students when she initially taught after-school programs. Dismayed to see kids excited about practicing art after school while hating their actual classes, Anciso felt she needed to be in the classroom. “It was really important to be a role model to kids that look like me and came from my same type of background,” she says. “I love working with kids, teaching them art, teaching them how to have a voice and use their voice.”

Somehow, Anciso manages to balance full-time careers as both an artist and a teacher. “A lot of the artists I look up to are also educators,” she says. But, still, wearing both hats has its challenges. “It’s been very difficult. Especially since I have my son.”

I must have forgotten to mention— when Natalia Anciso emerged through the glass double doors of Royal Ground Coffee in those bright colored clothes and those big floral earrings, she was also carrying her young son close to her chest. He has inquisitive eyes and smooth, shiny black hair like hers. On top of being a full-time artist and educator, Anciso is also a full-time mom.

At this point, it’s perfectly reasonable to wonder if she is superhuman. She clarifies that she’s not: “People say you’re this famous artist; I just feel like a regular person who is trying to survive the day and get my son potty trained.” Fair enough.

But Anciso is undeniably a “famous artist,” whether she necessarily likes that classification or not. “It wasn’t until a few years ago I felt comfortable saying I am an artist,” she admits. She points to the stigma that comes with “telling people you’re an artist.” Fortunately, now that she’s grown into her artistry, she’s able to inspire the next generation of artists in her own classroom. She admits, “It’s great to hear kids say, ‘I want to be an artist when I grow up.’”

I’m still looking to answer the question of How Natalia Anciso Does It All. She insists she’s a “regular person,” but she must have a secret to her artistic and professional success, perhaps even one she can pass on to other aspiring artists. “Find a community of creative people who are supportive and will help you,” she shares. “Being in the creative arts is very isolating sometimes, and I think it’s important that you have a community to support you.”

Anything else she can share with us struggling young creatives? “It sounds really cheesy, but never give up,” she says. “And just under- stand that it’s very hard. You’re going to feel at times that you’re failing, because sometimes I still feel that way.”

There’s Natalia Anciso the artist and educator and mother. But what about Natalia, the soft-spoken Texan who completes her colorful outfit with black Converse? I want to know her, too.

Turns out, Natalia is pretty cool. No surprise there. Her favorite movie is The Goonies (“I’m big on ‘80s movies”). Her biggest artistic influence is Favianna Rodriguez, for both her use of color and her activism. She thinks the blue bonnet is an “underrated flower” and is the most fun for her to draw.

Her favorite color is “that deep royal blue, kind of indigo.” “Kind of like your glasses,” I remark. She laughs and confirms my observation. Natalia doesn’t laugh easily, and when she does, it’s quiet but honeyed, and it’s always genuine. Making Natalia laugh, even just as an act of factual affirmation, easily becomes the best part of my day.

Anciso’s eye for color is evidenced by her self-fashioning: the bold hues of her outfit, the glasses in her very favorite shade of indigo (a very lovely shade, I might add). She may not wear her heart on her sleeve, but she certainly wears her art. If you’re looking for her heart, you’ll have to check out one of her exhibitions.

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Simplify Your Life With Easy-care Washable Carpets: The Ultimate Solution for Modern Living in Australia

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Washable Carpets

Introduction to the Concept of Washable Carpets in Australia

In recent years, the concept of washable carpets has gained popularity in Australia, offering a convenient and practical solution for modern living. With busy schedules and hectic lifestyles becoming the norm, it is essential to choose home decor options that are low maintenance and easy to clean. This is where washable carpets come into play, providing an ideal flooring solution for households with children and pets.

Benefits of Choosing Easy-care Washable Carpets for Busy Households

  • Stain-resistant: Washable carpets offer a range of benefits that make them the go-to choice for many homeowners in Australia. Firstly, these carpets are designed to be stain-resistant, making them perfect for busy households with young children who are prone to spills and accidents. Unlike traditional carpets that require professional cleaning services or expensive products for stain removal, washable carpets can simply be cleaned with water and mild detergents. This not only saves time but also reduces the cost of maintaining your carpet over time.
  • Durable: Moreover, washable carpets are also more durable compared to traditional carpets as they are made from high-quality materials that can withstand regular washing without losing their color or texture. This makes them an excellent option for homes with pets who may shed or track dirt onto the carpet frequently. Additionally, these carpets have anti-static properties which prevent pet hair from sticking onto the fibers, making it easier to vacuum and maintain a clean floor.
  • For Those Who Suffer From Allergies or Respiratory Issues: Furthermore, choosing washable carpets can also benefit those who suffer from allergies or respiratory issues as they trap dust particles instead of releasing them into the air like traditional carpet fibers do. Regular washing can effectively remove allergens from the carpet surface, promoting a healthier and cleaner living environment.

Washable carpets are a practical and convenient flooring solution for busy households in Australia. With their stain-resistant properties, durability, easy maintenance, and hygienic benefits, they offer the ultimate solution for modern living. So why not make your life easier by choosing washable carpets for your home today?

How Washable Carpets Are Better for Children and Pets

For families with young children who spend most of their time playing on the floor, hygiene is a top priority. Washable carpets provide peace of mind as they can be easily washed and sanitized regularly without any hassle. Unlike hard flooring surfaces like tiles or hardwood which may harbor bacteria and germs if not cleaned regularly, washable carpets offer a soft surface that can be thoroughly cleaned without damaging its quality.

Tips for Buy the Right Washable Carpet for Your Home

Australia is known for its laid-back lifestyle, beautiful landscapes, and sunny weather. However, with our busy schedules and fast-paced lives, it can be challenging to keep up with the maintenance of our homes. That’s where the practical washable rugs collection comes in – they offer a convenient solution for those looking to simplify their lives while still keeping their homes looking stylish.

With the popularity of washable carpets on the rise, there is now a plethora of options available in the market. But how do you choose the right one for your home? Here are some tips to help you make an informed decision when purchasing a practical washable rug in Australia.

  • Consider Your Needs: Before making a purchase, think about where you will be using your washable rug and what kind of traffic it will receive. For high-traffic areas like living rooms or hallways, opt for durable materials such as nylon or polyester that can withstand frequent use and cleaning.
  • Look For Easy-care Features: The whole point of buying a washable rug is to make your life easier. Therefore, look for features like stain resistance and machine washability when choosing a rug. This will save you time and effort in the long run.
  • Choose the Right Size: Measure the area where you want to place your washable rug before going shopping. It’s important to choose a size that fits well in your space without being too small or too large.
  • Think About Design: With so many options available, it’s important to consider the design of your washable rug as it can add an extra touch of style to your home decor. From solid colors to bold patterns, select one that complements your existing interior design.
  • Check Reviews and Ratings: Before finalizing your purchase, take some time to read customer reviews and ratings online. This will give you an idea about the quality and durability of the product from people who have already used it.
  • Understand the Care Instructions: While washable rugs are low-maintenance, it’s still important to follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer. This will ensure that your rug lasts for a longer time and maintains its quality.
  • Consider Your Budget: Practical washable rugs come in a range of prices, so it’s essential to have a budget in mind before you start shopping. Set a realistic budget and stick to it while selecting a rug that meets your needs.

Purchasing a practical washable rug for your home in Australia can simplify your life without compromising on style. By considering these tips, you can make an informed decision and find the perfect washable rug for your home that fits both your needs and budget.

Care and Maintenance Instructions for Washable Carpets

When it comes to easy washable rugs in Australia, there are a few important care and maintenance instructions to keep in mind. To ensure that your carpet stays looking its best for years to come, it is recommended to vacuum regularly to remove dirt and debris. For any spills or stains, be sure to blot the area immediately with a clean cloth and mild detergent. Avoid rubbing the stain as this can cause damage to the fibers. For deeper cleaning, consider using a carpet cleaner specifically designed for washable carpets. Additionally, rotating your carpet every few months can help prevent uneven wear and fading from sunlight exposure. By following these simple tips, you can enjoy your beautiful washable carpet for many years to come.

Conclusion 

In today’s fast-paced world, it is important to have solutions that simplify our lives and make things easier for us. The use of easy-care washable carpets in modern living spaces has become a popular trend in Australia, providing homeowners with convenience and peace of mind. With their low maintenance requirements and versatility in design and functionality, these carpets are the ultimate solution for modern living. So why not join the trend and simplify your life with easy-care washable carpets? Your home will thank you for it.

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Exploring the Culinary Versatility of Dried Tomato Powder

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Dried Tomato Powder

In the world of culinary innovation, dried tomato powder has emerged as a versatile and flavor-packed ingredient that adds depth and complexity to a wide range of dishes. Derived from ripe tomatoes that have been carefully dehydrated and ground into a fine powder, this pantry staple offers a convenient way to capture the rich umami flavor and vibrant color of fresh tomatoes in a concentrated form. In this blog, we delve into the culinary uses, nutritional benefits, and creative applications of dried tomato powder, uncovering its potential to elevate dishes to new heights of flavor and sophistication.

 

The Making of Dried Tomato Powder

The making of dried tomato powder involves dehydrating tomatoes and grinding them into a fine powder.

 

From Fresh to Dry

Dried tomato powder is crafted through a simple yet meticulous process that involves selecting ripe tomatoes, slicing them thinly, and dehydrating them until they are completely dried. The dehydrated tomatoes are then ground into a fine powder, resulting in a concentrated form of tomato flavor that can be easily incorporated into various recipes.

 

Culinary Uses and Applications

Dried tomato powder enhances flavor in dishes like soups, sauces, and marinades, adding depth and richness to recipes.

 

Flavor Enhancer

Dried tomato powder serves as a potent flavor enhancer, infusing dishes with the rich umami taste and aroma of fresh tomatoes. It can be added to sauces, soups, stews, and marinades to impart depth and complexity to the flavor profile.

 

Seasoning Blend

Dried tomato powder can be combined with herbs, spices, and other seasonings to create custom seasoning blends for meats, vegetables, and grains. It adds a savory dimension to rubs, marinades, and dry mixes, elevating the taste of grilled meats, roasted vegetables, and pasta dishes.

 

Ingredient in Baking

Dried tomato powder can also be used as a unique ingredient in baking, adding a subtle sweetness and savory undertones to bread, pizza dough, crackers, and savory pastries. It pairs particularly well with cheese-based recipes, enhancing the cheesy flavor and lending a vibrant color to the finished product.

 

Nutritional Benefits

Dried tomato powder is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, offering a concentrated source of nutrition for various diets.

 

Rich in Antioxidants

Dried tomato powder retains the nutritional benefits of fresh tomatoes, including being rich in antioxidants such as lycopene, vitamin C, and beta-carotene. These antioxidants help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, supporting overall health and well-being.

 

Low in Calories

Dried tomato powder is low in calories and fat, making it a healthy and flavorful option for adding depth and complexity to dishes without significantly increasing caloric intake. It is also cholesterol-free and contains no added sugars or preservatives, making it suitable for a variety of dietary preferences and restrictions.

 

Creative Applications

Dried tomato powder can be used creatively in homemade spice blends, salad dressings, and even as a natural food coloring.

Dip and Spread

Dried tomato powder can be mixed with Greek yogurt, sour cream, or mayonnaise to create flavorful dips and spreads for crackers, vegetables, and sandwiches. It adds a burst of tomato flavor and a vibrant color to party platters and appetizers.

Infused Oil

Dried tomato powder can be infused into olive oil or vegetable oil to create a richly flavored oil that can be drizzled over salads, pasta, pizza, and grilled vegetables. It adds depth and complexity to dressings, sauces, and marinades, enhancing the overall taste of the dish.

 

Conclusion: Elevating Culinary Creations

In conclusion, dried tomato powder is a versatile and flavorful ingredient that can enhance a wide range of dishes, from savory sauces and soups to baked goods and seasoning blends. Its concentrated tomato flavor, nutritional benefits, and culinary versatility make it a valuable addition to any kitchen pantry with other dehydrated food products. Whether used as a flavor enhancer, seasoning blend, or creative ingredient, dried tomato powder has the potential to elevate culinary creations to new heights of flavor and sophistication.

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Helping Kids Develop Healthy Online Relationships 

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Healthy Online Relationships 

In today’s digital age, children are more connected than ever, navigating online spaces as naturally as they do the real world. As they interact with peers, play games, and explore the internet, it’s crucial to guide them towards fostering healthy online relationships. Teaching them the values of respect, empathy, and digital etiquette can lay the foundation for positive online interactions that benefit their social and emotional development. This article delves into practical ways parents and educators can support kids in cultivating meaningful and safe online relationships.  

The Evolution of Online Communication 

The digital landscape has undergone significant changes over the years, offering diverse platforms and tools for communication. From the early days of chat rooms and emails to today’s social media platforms and multiplayer games, children have more avenues than ever to connect with others. While this connectivity presents opportunities for learning and socializing, it also introduces new challenges. 

Risks and Challenges Children Face Online 

As children explore the online world, they may encounter various risks, including exposure to inappropriate content, cyberbullying, and privacy breaches. Understanding these potential challenges is the first step in guiding them towards safe and responsible online interactions. Parents and educators must stay informed about the latest trends and issues to provide timely guidance and support.  

Setting Ground Rules for Online Interaction 

Establishing Clear Guidelines 

Creating a set of clear and understandable rules for online interaction is essential for guiding children’s behavior in the digital world. These rules can include guidelines on sharing personal information, interacting with strangers, and handling disagreements online. By setting boundaries, children can navigate online spaces with confidence, knowing what is expected of them.   

Encouraging Open Communication 

Open dialogue between children and adults is crucial for building trust and understanding in online interactions. Encourage children to share their online experiences, ask questions, and express concerns without fear of judgment. This communication can help identify potential issues early on and allow for constructive conversations about navigating challenges safely.  

Educating on Cyber Safety 

Identifying Trustworthy Sources 

Teaching children to distinguish between reliable and unreliable sources online is a vital skill for their digital literacy. Encourage them to verify information from multiple sources before accepting it as fact. By promoting critical thinking and research skills, you help them become discerning consumers of online content, reducing the risk of misinformation.   

Recognizing and Handling Cyberbullying 

Cyberbullying is a pervasive issue that can have serious emotional and psychological impacts on children. Educate them about what constitutes cyberbullying and how to respond appropriately if they encounter it. Teach them strategies such as blocking the bully, saving evidence, and seeking help from trusted adults. Empower them to stand up against online harassment and support their peers in similar situations.  

Role-playing and Real-life Examples 

Engage children in role-playing exercises and discuss real-life examples to illustrate the impact of their online actions. This hands-on approach allows them to experience different scenarios and understand the consequences of their behavior. Encourage them to reflect on their experiences and learn from both positive and negative interactions to develop better online habits. 

Engaging in Joint Online Activities 

Participating in Online Games and Projects 

Joining children in their online activities can be a fun and educational way to bond with them while monitoring their digital behavior. Participate in multiplayer games, educational apps, or collaborative projects that interest them. This shared experience allows you to observe their online interactions firsthand and provide immediate feedback on their behavior.  

Supervising Without Hovering 

While it’s essential to monitor children’s online activities, it’s equally important to give them some autonomy to explore and learn independently. Find a balance between supervision and allowing them to navigate online spaces on their own. Trusting them with responsibilities while being available for guidance when needed fosters confidence and self-reliance. 

Creating a Supportive Environment for Open Dialogue 

Listening Actively to Children’s Online Experiences 

Create a safe and non-judgmental space where children feel comfortable sharing their online experiences. Listen attentively to their stories, concerns, and questions about the digital world. By actively engaging in these conversations, you demonstrate empathy and understanding, building trust and openness in your relationship.  

Addressing Concerns and Challenges Together 

When children encounter challenges or face dilemmas online, approach these situations as teachable moments rather than punitive actions. Collaborate with them to find solutions, discuss strategies for handling similar situations in the future, and reinforce the importance of responsible online behavior. By working together, you empower children to make informed decisions and navigate the digital world confidently.  

Conclusion 

Navigating the digital world can be both exciting and challenging for children. By providing guidance, setting clear boundaries, and fostering open communication, parents and educators can help them develop healthy and positive online relationships. Remember, it’s not just about restricting access but empowering them with the knowledge and skills to make responsible choices. Together, we can create a safer and more enjoyable online environment for our children.   

FAQs 

What are the key risks children face online? 

Children may encounter risks such as exposure to inappropriate content, cyberbullying, and privacy breaches while navigating the digital world. 

How can I teach my child to identify trustworthy online sources? 

Encourage critical thinking and research skills by teaching them to verify information from multiple reliable sources. 

What should I do if my child experiences cyberbullying? 

Teach your child to block the bully, save evidence, and seek help from trusted adults, emphasizing the importance of not retaliating. 

How can I monitor my child’s online activities without invading their privacy? 

Find a balance between supervision and autonomy, trusting them with responsibilities while being available for guidance when needed. Also, you can use tools like parental control apps which have numerous benefits and uses to help you make internet safer for your child. 

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