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The high school volunteering I do isn't actually in a high school, it's at a special program for kids who have to amass a fair number of credits in a short period of time in order to graduate, and it's on the third floor of a downtown building. It shares space with a program for adults who never got their high school diploma, who are catching up on education and passing a high school equivalency test.

The program director had these little scenes hanging on her wall. She told me they're portales--representations of storefronts doorways (but a lot are storefronts; those are the ones I especially liked)--which are a folk craft. Hers come from Puerto Rico and Ecuador.

Here are some of them up close. If you can turn yourself small, you can go into them, and you'll find yourself in the actual place. I think. I mean, it stands to reason, right?

I said it would be fun to make those for storefronts here, and she said, "Wouldn't it! And our students would love it; they're so creative. I can't tell you how many times I've written grants for arts-related things, but we never win them."


( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 15th, 2017 09:30 pm (UTC)

They'd make a great children's fantasy book, too: a Puerto Rican girl, bored on a rainy afternoon, walks through one of the portales hanging on the wall, and thus begins her adventure... It would be an exciting new twist on portal fantasy.
Mar. 15th, 2017 09:56 pm (UTC)
Aren't they?

Yeah: and maybe there's an underground tradition of people giving each other portales so they can get to one another quickly/secretly/without huge expense. Like, if you move to mainland USA, but you have a portale for the family home in Puerto Rico, you can get back there.
Mar. 15th, 2017 10:07 pm (UTC)
YES! Maybe the main character and her favorite cousin exchanged portales, and they like to visit each other - but of course eventually things go round somehow, as they always do in stories - one of the portales is broken, or something, with one of the cousins trapped inside, and the other has to mount a rescue mission...

Gosh, this would be super cool. I don't know enough about the cultures involved to write it, but I would read it so hard.
Mar. 16th, 2017 09:21 am (UTC)
lifeinroseland commented below that they also make them in Venezuela--I'm thinking if they're that widespread, someone **has** to have written a story. Tell me Latin American writers wouldn't go to town with them! And if I find one, I intend to launch the full force of my rudimentary Spanish at it.
Mar. 15th, 2017 09:56 pm (UTC)
Those are so awesome! Oh, if I were rich, that would be exactly the kind of thing I'd underwrite. (That and rescuing animals and kids.)
Mar. 16th, 2017 09:05 am (UTC)
Me too!
Mar. 15th, 2017 10:13 pm (UTC)
What are they made out of?
Mar. 16th, 2017 09:09 am (UTC)
Wood, mostly, but with details made of other things. The glasses in the last one are little tiny plastic glasses, and the items on display in the one before that I think are made out of clay.
Mar. 15th, 2017 11:04 pm (UTC)
a folk craft. Hers come from Puerto Rico and Ecuador.

They are wonderful. I would love if your students could make them.
Mar. 15th, 2017 11:21 pm (UTC)
Those are awesome!
Mar. 16th, 2017 09:11 am (UTC)
I've been waiting for a chance to post them--I've been so busy, but last night I got a minute.
Mar. 15th, 2017 11:44 pm (UTC)
They're made in Venezuela, too, where I'm from originally. I wanted one sooo badly. My mama spoils me & she got me two a couple of years ago.
Mar. 16th, 2017 09:14 am (UTC)
Ohh!! Can you post pictures? Adding you as a friend (didn't realize I hadn't ... apologies!) so I can be sure not to miss, if you do.

What treasures they are.

Do you know any stories that feature portales in them? They seem so perfect for a fantasy story.
Mar. 16th, 2017 01:41 pm (UTC)

The other one is just the rest of the set.

I kind of wanted something more along the lines of what you posted, but I have very neutral taste & my mom didn't want to take a risk. Also she doesn't like them. But a lot of people do have them in their houses.

I know next to nothing about Latinamerican literature, so no, I don't know of any stories.

You know there's also a toy, I think it's called "the fairy door" that little girls put on their wall. I remember saving a link cuz I thought it'd be such a cool gift.
Mar. 16th, 2017 02:48 pm (UTC)
Wow, yours is an interesting contrast--goes to show how very different they can be.

Whoever thought of the fairy door as a toy for children has a great instinct. These views into other worlds are so fun--scenes in Easter eggs are like that, too:

Mar. 16th, 2017 09:57 am (UTC)
They are wonderful! Bet you couldn't stop looking at them :)
Mar. 16th, 2017 02:49 pm (UTC)
You're right! I love them.
Mar. 16th, 2017 11:50 am (UTC)
I love those portals.
Mar. 16th, 2017 02:49 pm (UTC)
Yay! I'm glad.
Mar. 16th, 2017 11:14 pm (UTC)
They remind me of Mr. Rogers setting aside an empty tiny rocking chair for the viewer. The portales have a welcoming atmosphere.
Mar. 18th, 2017 06:16 pm (UTC)
Don't they? What a great way to see the world.
Mar. 18th, 2017 06:19 am (UTC)
I spent part of my childhood near Portales, NM. Didn't even have to shrink...or did I!!!???? :P
Mar. 18th, 2017 06:16 pm (UTC)
OMG imagine your actual size!!
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )

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