Monday, September 3, 2012

Día de los Muertos

Probably the coolest holiday around is Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. At least it is for someone like me. I know a few people who would think the whole thing is weird and maybe evil. In reality it is a time where family and friends come together to pray for and remember family members who have passed on. In Mexico it is a national holiday and if you were born there it would be part of your culture and you wouldn't think it was weird at all. While I could make a lengthy post about the holiday and traditions I just want to get to one part in particular. The Sugar Skull.

I've always liked these skulls. I mean, come on, it's a skull, it's already awesome. We all have one and carry it around with us everywhere we go. We already decorate it with all types of colors, jewels and hair. The Sugar Skull is one of the main symbols seen during the Day of the Dead festivities. The reason they are called sugar skulls is they were originally made from clay molded sugar. The name of a departed soul would be placed on the forehead of the skull. It would then be placed on the grave of that person with hopes the soul would return on the Day of the Dead. These skulls are often decorated with flowers, sequins and other symbols.

Which brings me to this guy. 

Michaels Craft store was selling this lovely fella. All I knew was I had to have him. He is made out of plaster or pottery clay, I'm really not  exactly sure what it is. If you have ever painted ceramics it's just like what ceramics are like before being fired for the first time in a kiln. He is rather soft, chips easily and leaves white powder all over everything. Still, I had to have him. 

My first thought was SUGAR SKULL, but I also like the tattoo style painting I've seen done on similar skulls. I think what I did was a combination of the two. He isn't really in the traditional shape of a sugar sull, but I figured that would be o.k. 

I started out first drawing my designs on with pencil. While it erased very easily if I pressed too hard I actually ended up carving the lines into him with the pencil. 

After I was satisfied with my sketching I went ahead and traced all my lines with a black sharpie. This worked alright, but the dust from the plaster kept building up on my marker and I had to wipe it off several times. 

Next I simply painted what I drew. I used acrylic paint, repainted my black lines so they were crisp and then covered the entire thing in several coats of Mod Podge. The Mod Podge helped to not only make him nice and shiny but sealed the plaster so it's not dusting all over. I also painted the inside black and podge it. He has a place cut out on the bottom where you can add a cord with a light. While he looks kinda cool lit up I think I will display him as is. A colored bulb or color changing light would probably look cool in him.

The finished product. All colorful and flowery.  


I ended up painting the teeth and it looks even cooler now! I thought about re-doing my above collage picture, but instead I will just post a picture with the painted teeth. I'm pretty sure I'm going to keep him on display always, not just for Halloween. 

Do I have something in my teeth?

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