Friday, October 30, 2015

Day of The Dead

Inspired by La Catrina and Dia de los Muertos

Contributed By Denise of LoveStoneArts. Denise is a member of the Jetteam.

People who especially love Day of the Dead would not want you to lump it in with Halloween.  It is its own revered holiday and not considered spooky, rather a joyous celebration on November 1st and 2nd dedicated to honoring the memory of departed souls.

The observance of Day of the Dead, Dia de los Muertos goes back at least 3000 years to pre-Columbian Aztec culture in Mexico.  The Aztecs believed that our earthly life was but a dream and that death marked the beginning of a rich afterlife.  After the arrival of Spaniards and Catholicism in the new world, the celebration was moved to coincide with All Saints Day.  The symbols of Dia de los Muertos are hearts, skulls, monarch butterflies, marigold blooms, masks representing the deceased and altars decorated with special offerings and mementos of these loved ones.

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries a number of writers and artists saw that the native culture and traditions of Mexico were falling out of favor.  European customs and attire were considered superior to that of the villagers.  A very famous etching of La Calavera Catrina by José Guadalupe Posada circa 1910-1914, satirizes the pretensions of Mexicans wearing elaborate Victorian clothing and aspiring to adopt European aristocratic traditions. The image shown at lower right quickly became associated with Dia de los Muertos.  The central mural, Alameda Park by Diego Rivera in 1947, shows La Catrina, Frida Kahlo and the village dignitaries in their European finery.  Some contemporary images include my pottery figurine of La Catrina clothed in monarch butterflies. 

I’ve been making a new series of necklaces and hair ornaments inspired by this holiday.  I start with a color scheme in mind then select sizes and textures of beads to make everything cheerful, whimsical and festive.  I take up all of the available workspace as I lay out plenty of options. To me, these are the fiesta colors of Mexico~

These interpretations are less literal.  My hair comb features a color scheme that is very Southwest.  The little altar necklace I created in ivory, red, pink and green is influenced by orthodox religious icons.  See the tiny crowns?  What a fusion!

I have a special appreciation of this custom and it is my pleasure to share it with you.



SendingLoveGallery said...
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SendingLoveGallery said...

I'll try this again :)
-love Dia de los Muertos also, Denise. It's such part of the fabric of life here in Arizona, too. I've so enjoyed seeing the wonderful creativity of your jewelry expressing the holiday!

Cheri said...

I love this Spooky Halloween jewelry! Very creative and fun!
Thanks for sharing this!

Beadsme said...

Love the jewelry. I would love to take pics at one of these festivals.

Unknown said...

You have the patience of a saint! LOVE your designs and you model them so well!! Fabulous post!

Unknown said...

WoWzers Denise! Your work is so intricate and detailed, you can tell you put so much of yourself into these pieces!!! I'd have a huge problem selling something this AWESOME!!
Thanks for sharing such beauty with us!!

Brooke said...

Thanks Denise! I enjoyed learning more about the customs behind the adornments. Your combs and necklaces are stunning!