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Noche de Rabanos - night of the radishes

Last month I carved some radishes for a special event at Meijer Gardens. The goal was to represent various Christmas celebrations around the world. A not very known celebration in Mexico is “La Noche de Rábanos” in Oaxaca. I admit that I have never heard of this celebration before, and the fact that I lived in Oaxaca for a year makes it even more embarrassing for me. My initial reaction was, yeah I can carve some radishes, but after watching a video of the celebration I freaked out a little: look it up if you have the chance, it's mind blowing. We don’t even have radishes that big in Michigan!

I went to the farmer's market and found French breakfast radishes and tried carving something out of them. My first try wasn't great but not terrible either. That was in November, by December 15 French breakfast radishes were no longer in season. At that point I was ready to give up, we had the wrong radishes all along and I had never done this kind of work, but I went for it. The people at Meijer Gardens and I decided on Ninja radishes and hoped for the best.

The Ninja radishes were beautiful, but only the ones at the top of the case were big, the rest were the size of red potatoes. I had to join them together to make them bigger, but then the shapes were all weird. I was frustrated and ready to give up. I took a deep breath and holding one radish in my hand I let its shape guide the form, this resulted in a bunch of strange alebrije-like animals that were more interesting than what I originally planned.

A reminder that an obstacle is only an obstacle as we remove it, but it becomes a lead to discovery when we walk around it.

These are some of the figures that came out. The first picture was my very first attempt.

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