Maybe it was Oingo Boingo or Tim Burton that first made me aware of Calaveras or Day of the Dead Skeletons.
I really am not sure.
I have never been to southern California or New Mexico or been anyplace that these gaily dressed skeletons were on display.
I have seen them on Flickr and in books and I am in love with the images.
The sugar skulls are showing up in fabric and is being used to make clothing and accessories.
It really must be due to Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas that I first fell in love with his King of Halloween- Jack Skellington. It is being released again, soon, in 3D!!!! Now, Jack has been used on products ranging from back-packs to beach balls to shoes and toys. I have a coffee cup, wine glasses,t-shirts, toys, figures, pins, a night-light and patches. He is Bone Daddy. He is cool. Still, after all these years. He has become an icon. With Halloween approaching I have been trying to get some merchandise of my own made for the Etsy Shop. My fingers itch to get out the paper mache and paper clay and create some calaveras of my own. I have never made sugar skulls but found molds and how-to here. I book marked articles about Jose Guadalupe Posada to learn more about his satiric drawings and prints. I love his female Catrinas depicted with large hats and a few ostrich feathers. We all die- rich or poor he seemed to say. In the Mexican Culture they celebrate the Day of the Dead and make alters in their homes and decorate them with colorful tissue paper banners and sugar skulls with names of loved ones written on them.
I believe in different things but I can accept that other cultures have their own beliefs and I am interested in learning about those beliefs. (It doesn't affect my own spiritual beliefs.)
This is more about Family and remembering your loved ones that have passed away. Celebrating their lives. If they were bakers then their calaveras would be depicted with chef hat and I think the comical nature of skellies doing things that the living do, is very funny. Maybe I have a strange sense of humor but I am not afraid of death and I think that its healthy to take the fear out of it by injecting some humor.We live. We all die.
One of my dearly loved Uncles- actually a cousin to my Mom died night before last, at midnight. His name was Uncle Larry and he gave me my first pieces of doll furniture. Larger scale and antique, even then. He was a true southern gentleman. Well educated and a nappy dresser. I loved him. He sold antiques for years and his calaveras would be easy to make.
America has always been a land of mixed cultures and the melting pot of diversity. Halloween is a pagan holiday that has been commercialized and now morphed into a night to go trick-or-treating at the mall because your never know what freakishness your neighbors might put in your kids bag. Sad. When I was young it was about watching The Great Pumpkin, Charley Brown and running through the streets with a paper sack and a plastic mask and dumping all the candy out on the bed and seeing what loot we had gotten. Now I like to decorate with Nicol Sayre paper mache figures and Dept 56. Halloween has become more elegant and not at all gorey in my decor. If I lived out west where it would be easy to purchase calaveras from road stands and markets I would certainly decorate with them.
My friend Amanda makes the most beautiful skelly dolls- all year long and can't keep them in her Etsy shop.
She embroiders their faces and gives them charming names that hint at their cause of death.
Their dresses are trimmed in lace and they are so sweet and appealing in their stylish fashions. Images of Spanish Moss hanging from trees and sultry southern climates come to mind.
I have ridden my bike for the past few days, feeling like Pee Wee Herman but looking like Miss Gulch, I am sure. Queen's song about bicycles and fat bottom girls running through my mind. Trying not to get hit by cars. Pushing my legs farther. Trying to become stronger. Looking at the blue sky and all those fluffy clouds. Breathing fresh air. Thinking about Things.
The things I want to do before I die.
Its all around us.
Babies are born every moment.
I always think dying will be like sleeping.
A beautiful dream that you immerse yourself in and never wake up.
Colors and images so surreal and blissful.
Safe in the arms of God.