Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Our Day of the Dead Halloween Altar!

We started work on this back in August. 
 We were thinking about Fall and Halloween, my favorite season, absolutely! My partner said "let's make a Day of the Dead" altar. A brilliant idea! So I started envisioning it. First I thought I would have to build shelves. Well, in an example of "ask and you shall receive", I found this bookcase by the side of the road a few days later. 
It was PERFECT! 
 I planned to cut designs into the sides and paint the outside red and the inside orange. So the project began. 
Both Halloween and Day of the Dead are heavy with skulls and skeletons, so we made papier mache skulls. We blew up small balloons, draped the flour/water-dipped newspaper onto them and slowly shaped the heads. 

 I sat them out in the sun to make sure they dried all the way through. Then I popped the balloons and, voila, the 3D hollow skulls were ready to paint. 
We kept in mind what the traditional sugar skulls look like and painted silly/odd/scary likenesses - complete with glitter! When finished I covered them with a coat of polyurethane to make them less appetizing to our neighborhood nighttime critters.
  Well, as you can imagine, I was just dying at that point to put this puppy together out front. But I held back until the first day of Fall because that was as long as my patience would hold out. I put it in place beside the front door and began decorating it. 

 First, I put mirror squares on the shelf bottoms so they would reflect the lights. Then I placed found objects like feathers and a deer spinal column on it, along with dried flowers and fake flowers stuck in blue bottles. There is even a raven on one shelf, bringing his black feathered magic. And then I put the skulls in place. 
 My partner cut out the little tissue paper "flags" that are traditional to these altars. They hang above it here. 

 This piece is meant to be fun and kitschy while also expressing our version of Day of the Dead. We, and the neighborhood, are especially enjoying it in the evenings when it is lit up.
 Day of the Dead, Halloween Altar
8' tall x 4' wide x 2' deep

No comments: