Handmade Day of the Dead Art before Dia de los Muertos

The leaves are turning in Minnesota, the yellow mums and purple asters are blooming, the weather is getting cooler, and the wind is whisking in a new season. In Mexico the month of October is a time to begin preparations to entice the departed spirits to return for a brief visit during Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. It’s a time to start thinking about the home altar, made by many Mexican families, to honor and remember the dead. It’s a time to start preparing the special foods, making the sugar skulls, conceiving of and creating the marigold decorations for the gravesite and the ofrenda, and for the candlemakers to make the gorgeous candles that will decorate the cemetery and the home. It’s both a private time and a public time.

Someone once likened Dia de los Muertos to a combination of Memorial Day and Thanksgiving. November 1 and 2 are a public acknowledgement of the important people in our lives who have passed on much like what we do for Memorial Day. And it’s similar to Thanksgiving in that families prepare traditional foods and follow familiar rituals like so many American families do for Thanksgiving. The traditional colors of yellow and purple are always associated with Muertos in Mexico and the smells of the flowers and the burning copal cannot be mistaken for any other time of the year.  It’s a very spiritual time–derived from the ancient rituals of the Aztec mixed with some of the teachings of the Catholic church–a time when people express their love for those who’ve died through storytelling and building ofrendas or altars.

So, what about the folk art? Lots of skeletons, large and small, made of a variety of media, skulls made of everything including sugar and lots of embellishments like papel picado, candles, and flowers. The folk art is used to decorate the ofrendas and to remind everyone that death is part of life. It also can provide a little humor. We are thrilled to  have a lovely rotating ofrenda in the front window created by a local artist, Liz Pangerl of Casa Valencia, LLC which incorporates many of the traditional Day of the Dead motifs and items. Stop in!

25" Clay Catrina from Capula

Paper Mache Chefs for Day of the Dead

Paper Mache maracas for Day of the Dead

Lucano Ceramic Vase, Signed

Paper Mache Matador Skeleton

Mexican Skull Beads

Some of these things are in the online shop and some are not. Click on the photo to take you to the online shop.

Let me know if you’re interested in a price or purchasing something via this handy form….Happy Dia de los Muertos!

Advertisements

2 Comments on “Handmade Day of the Dead Art before Dia de los Muertos”

  1. ed jordan says:

    i have way to much mexican folk art but am delighted to view your store collection each time your email arrives. amazing taste in the selection of your merchandise. my deepest hurrahs to you.

    here in austin, tx, we have numerous collections which infuse our spirit with pleasure and delight, plus most are great fun to see and the collectors to know.

    ed jordan

    • Ed, Thanks so much for your nice comments. It’s especially nice to hear from someone who collects and knows so much about Mexican folk art. I appreciate it and I’m glad you enjoy the posts! Best, Anne