My 'Skellie' couple, Catrina and her beau, dangle beside Frida and a little tin ex-voto heart on my Day of the Dead branches.
For this project, I mixed and matched my Calico parts! I used sharp crafting scissors to snip a couple of mini skeletons styles 1 and 2, so that I could combine the different arm positions. I also wanted to fashion a cobweb into a stylish hat for Catrina. The front of a house shrine kit would provide a frame for my aristocratic couple.
Now it was time to play around with positioning my 'skellies'. The large skulls with the tiny bodies gave the caricature look I was seeking. What I love about the Mexican Day of the Dead shrines and ornaments is their wonderful characterisation. I wanted to make my couple unique and fun. The Calico skeletons are already expressive, but with a little playing, the addition of quirky detail and some hand-drawn eyes, I reckoned I could create something that evoked the exuberance and humour of Dia de Muertos. I really hope I did.
It's said that 'the eyes are the windows of the soul', so I used pigment pens and water-colour to give Catrina a sultry look and her beau a cheeky wink! For Catrina's torso, I chose a mini art doll body with some designer paper and a scrap of lace to add elegance. The front of the shrine has been gesso'd and stenciled with some 3D Gloss Gel.
I painted both sides of the eyes so that when my ornament turned in a draught, the back would be as interesting and expressive to look at as the front - that was my plan, anyway!
I wanted the reverse side of my 'skellie' couple to appear to be wearing masks, while the other side appeared to have eyes gleaming within.
And here's an early arrangement of them from the front. I had lots of fun playing with alternative placings before I finally decided on a pose!
Eventually, I came up with this! My couple were now glued into place; their faces doodled in pigment pen and their shrine frame painted and gilded with a tiny hole drilled in the top so that they could dangle. They just needed some final detail to make them come fully alive!
Catrina's regal beau with his golden crown definitely needed to be holding something! While Catrina herself looked as if she was reaching to pluck another red paper-clay rose to add to that one on her hat!
What a handsome couple! I hope you can see the tobacco pipe from the sheet of Mini MDF Steam Punk Motifs King Skellie holds against the purple background. It is more visible when he's dangling,,,
Here is a glimpse of the couple as they dance off into the moonlight together to the tune of Danse Macabre!
What I like about both Halloween and The Day of the Dead is that these holidays encourage us to dance in the shadows, to confront our fears or our sense of loss as summer slips into winter. This is a season when we can remember those who have gone before us with joy, thanks and humour before we look forward to Christmas festivities. I've had so much fun creating this ornament. It reminds me of the fun and laughter at the Halloween parties when our children were young. Soon I'll be listening out for the sound of giggles and rustlings at my front door as another troupe of tiny skeletons, werewolves and witches with Mums and Dads in tow come calling.
Calico Craft Parts used in this project
Skull MDF Wood Shape
Skeleton MDF Wood Shape Style 1
Skeleton MDF Wood Shape Style 2
Sheet of MDF Crowns Style 3
Plain MDF House Shrine Kit tall
Sheet of MDF mini feathers
Art Doll Kit small
Spider's web corner
Sheet of Steam Punk motifs Style 1