Archives for the month of: July, 2014

(While Making My First Trenza)

My First Folklorico Trenza

I made this folklorico trenza to match my Jalisco ranchera.

I have never made a trenza before and have never learned to make one. Since I am going to Viva Fest on July 25, 2014 and I am planning to wear my new ranchera as I perform at the Viva Fest concert, I decided it was time to teach myself how to make a trenza. I am excited to tell you that I survived my first trenza making experience and am proud of how it turned out. Along the way, I discovered some tricks that helped me make my first trenza and felt the need to share them.

Side view of my trenza.

Side view of my trenza.

My trenza showing off its profile.

My trenza showing off its profile.

Trick #1: Use a chair to create the ponytail- When I first started making the trenza, I was unsure how to turn a ball of yarn into a braid. Luckily, my good friend and CEO of MiiCamisa Folk/Urban Wear, Chalome Gonzalez created a YouTube video called, “How to Make a Braid Extension for Folklorico” which helped me get started. In the video, Chalome wrapped the yarn around a chair to create the ponytail. The chair helps turn a ball of yarn into a ponytail easily and quickly. Thanks Chalome for the trick!

This chair became my biggest asset when I was turning a ball of yarn into a yarn ponytail.

This chair became my biggest asset when I was turning a ball of yarn into a yarn ponytail.

Trick #2: Tie the ribbon and the yarn ponytail together- I made a beginner mistake by tying the ribbon around the ponytail. I wish I used a string of yarn to tie the ponytail and ribbon together before making the braid.

Beginner Mistake

Notice how I tied the ribbon around the ponytail on the left hand side of the photo. I do not recommend attaching the ribbon this way.

Better way to attach ribbon to yarn ponytail

Attach the ribbon to the ponytail as demonstrated in this photo.

Trick #3: Braid stubs are easier to wrap with ribbon when turning a single braid into a circle braid- Make sure the braid stub ends are short and even in length. It is easier to wrap ribbon around braid stubs when making a circular braid.

Just in case you do not know what a braid stub looks like.

Just in case you do not know what a braid stub looks like.

Trick #4: Use your cellphone as a measuring tool- I did not want to look for a ruler so I used my cellphone to measure the ribbon for my bows. For the type of bows I wanted to make, I wrapped the ribbon around my phone to make sure each bow was equal in length.

My cellphone makes a great measuring tool

My cellphone makes a great measuring tool.

My perfect bow thanks to my cellphone

My bow looks perfect thanks to my cellphone.

Trick #5: E6000 glue is way better than a hot glue gun- I first discovered this glue when I began to rhinestone my corkboard and my folklorico inspired graduation cap. This glue is an industrial strength adhesive that works well on most surfaces. When using this glue, I recommend placing the tube on a piece of paper since it drips and using a toothpick to place the glue on a small surface (like the ribbon). It is sticky if it gets on your hands and I don’t recommend this glue for children. You can buy E6000 glue online or at any craft store. If you want more tips on using this glue, check out this YouTube video by Susan Street and its comments section.

This glue is amazing.

This glue is amazing.

There are many ways to make trenzas for Jalisco and every region in Mexíco. The tricks I learned in my first trenza making experience are not the only tricks in the trenza making world. I am not an experienced trenza maker and will continue to discover new tricks as I continue creating more trenzas. However, I would love to hear everyone’s tips and tricks on trenza making whether you are experienced or new. Feel free to write a comment with your tips and tricks below. In the meantime, happy trenza making folklóristas!

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Miicamisa Folk-Urban Wear is leading the way in providing urban yet cultural folklorico wear for folklóristas. With a modest beginning in David and Irene Gonzalez’s garage three years ago, Miicamisa has grown from providing folklórico wear to the Central Valley in California to fulfilling orders across the country. Its owner and head designer, Chalome Gonzalez is a young, down to earth folklórista who also teaches at a high school and community college part-time. I had the opportunity to interview Chalome to learn more about Miicamisa and her inspiration behind her designs.

chalome individual

It’s All About Folklórico: How did Miicamisa begin?

Chalome Gonzalez: My mother was a director of El Sol Dance Company, a folklórico troupe in Fresno, CA. I grew up surrounded by folklórico and dance. I remember running around the dance studio and using skirts as blankets for nap time. As a teen, I was always drawing, doodling, and creating, and I always wanted to wear my art. I painted on t-shirts, shoes, pants…anything to represent myself and wear my own art. At 22, I began teaching myself to screen print. It was very difficult; I even wanted to quit a few times. I kept working at it and I took over my parent’s garage with equipment, paints, and t-shirts. I began making shirts for some local churches and businesses in Fresno. After printing shirts for others, I began to create my own designs again; this time inspired by folklórico. I thought, “If ballet dancers, hip hop dancers, and jazz dancers have t-shirts to show their love for dance, why can’t folklórico dancers?” So I wore my first design to practice, and everyone in the group loved it and wanted to buy one. I was in shock that people really liked my designs and were willing to pay for them. I began making more designs inspired by folklórico and word spread to each of the folklórico groups in town. People from LA and the Bay Area saw the shirts I posted on my Facebook and wanted to buy them as well but we didn’t know how to create a website since it was very expensive to have one made. Luckily our family friend, Alfredo Ponce, who just happened to dance folklórico with El Sol, knew how to create websites and got us online. This is our 3rd year in business as Miicamisa and it’s been so great. Now we can ship all over the U.S. and folklórico dancers everywhere can wear their pride on their chest!

It’s All About Folklórico: Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

Chalome Gonzalez: Everywhere! I look at t-shirts online or at the mall and see what’s popular or what I would wear. Then I would add a folklórico twist or my own ideas. I try to think, if I wear this shirt, what statement am I making? I want Miicamisa to be positive and showcase Latinos in a strong way. I hate when I see shirts that say negative things about our culture. For example, if you look up Mexican or Latino shirts online, you see ‘Borracho, Im your Papi, etc;” sayings that are just negative. So I want to kind of change that. Even if its just a t-shirt, I want people to wear it and feel proud, like “Yes, I dance folklórico, I love my culture, I’m in college, I’m a role model!”

It’s All About Folklórico: I am a huge fan of your social media, in particular Instagram! How do you guys come up with ideas for the posts you create?

Chalome Gonzalez: Well again I see what others are doing and then try to flip it! I saw a lot about #flashbackfriday so I thought I’ll post old pictures of me dancing folklórico and call it #folkloricofriday . Then I asked others to do it and people really caught on to it. Again why can we not have our own hashtag day. Now every Friday, I try to create a meme to go with Folklórico Friday. Sometimes its hard; some I don’t get as many “likes.” I try to figure out what people like but its just about putting it out there and seeing the response. Over all social media has allowed us to expand and get to know our customers. We have some people who as soon as they purchase from our store, they keep coming back. We get to have conversations with people online, make connections, and get immediate feedback on ideas. A lot of times they are helping me create the designs. It’s been really great using social media and seeing our customers post about their shirt! We also try to do contests online through Facebook and Instagram and people love that as well!

Miicamisa team

It’s All About Folklórico: What advice would you give to a young folklórista who hopes to start a business one day?

Chalome Gonzalez: Definitely go for it, but I think you have to be different. If you can find one thing about your business that is different from others, you will stand out. I could have kept making t-shirts with no theme, no reason, like all the screen printers in the central valley, but I saw a lack in folklórico inspired wear and tapped into that. So my advice is to find something that isn’t out there on the market or try to make your business a little different from all of the other businesses like it. If you like doing it, keep doing it! To me, designing and creating shirts is not work because I love it. I can spend all day doing it and I’m happy.

Thank you Chalome for agreeing to be interviewed. I hope everyone checks out Miicamisa Folk-Urban Wear’s website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to purchase some of the latest folklórico fashion.

Photos courtesy of MiiCamisa Folk-Urban Wear.

I am super excited to be attending ¡Viva Fest! 2014 on July 25 – August 1 in San Jose, California. For those who don’t know, ¡Viva Fest! is San Jose’s annual Mexican Heritage and Mariachi Festival hosted by the Mexican Heritage Corporation.  This event features quality music and dance workshops that educate its attendees about the Mexican culture. This event has a lot in store for participants attending the 23rd annual event. Listed below is the top 5 reasons why folklóristas should attend ¡Viva Fest! 2014.

5. Networking with the folklórico community – Meeting people is very beneficial for one’s personal and professional life. I love networking with the folklórico community because we all share a common bond and passion. I am always amazed by the number of folklóristas I meet at the festivals/conferences and learning our six degrees of separation. Wherever you go, I feel a folklórista can find a folklórista to visit. I will be seeing my Nor Cal folklórista friends when I am at ¡Viva Fest!.

4. The Location – San Jose is about an hour away from San Francisco and is a great place to visit for all ages.  There are many events happening in Downtown San Jose throughout the month of July.  I plan to see The Tech Museum of Innovation and to explore the nightlife in Downtown San Jose.  I also want to make a pit stop at Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.

The Tech Museum of Innovation Pier 39 San Francisco

3. The Price – According to the ¡Viva Fest! website, the registration fee for the dance workshops is $85 from July 1- July 20.  After July 20, the registration fee is $150.  If you do the math, it will cost about $12 to $13 a day for the classes.  I paid about $150 dollars for round-trip airfare from LAX/SNA to San Jose Airport.  I am hoping to pay $80-$90 per night on a hotel room and if multiple people share a room, it becomes cheaper.

Low Price

2. Quality Folklórico Instruction – Maria Luisa Colmenarez and Jose Tena are very influential maestros within the folklórico community.  They have done their own research on the different Mexican folk dance regions and have developed innovative choreographies. They both co-choreographed the Unofficial Guinness World Record for the Largest Mexican Folk Dance at Danzantes Unidos.  As maestros, they teach the steps and the cultural significance behind them.

My folklórico family jose tena

(I also heard that Rudy García will be guest teaching as well.)

1. An opportunity to perform with Mariachi Sol de Mexíco and Symphony Silicon Valley – I grew up listening to Mariachi Sol de Mexíco in my grandma’s car which makes this opportunity a dream come true for me.  All workshop participants will perform at the ¡Viva Fest! concert at San Jose State University on August 1.  I am positive every folklórista loves the opportunity to perform on a big stage with a live mariachi.  Do not forget your rancheras and your charros!

Mariachi-Sol-De-Mexico-De-Jose-Hernandez_583x336 Symphony Silicon Valley

If networking with the folklórico community, San Jose, a low price, quality folklórico instruction and an opportunity to perform with Mariachi Sol de Mexíco and Symphony Silicon Valley sounds appealing to you, you should attend ¡Viva Fest! .  As a folklórista blogger, it is my duty to inform you of quality workshops that will teach you about the Mexican culture and benefit you as a dancer.

For more information about ¡Viva Fest!, visit vivafest.org.