The Art of Darkness


February 17th, 2009 by Cobwebs

CalaverasCalavera is the Spanish word for “skull,” and is frequently used to describe various traditions associated with the Mexican Day of the Dead celebration.

I like calaveras because you can come over all skull-having and just claim an interest in a perfectly mainstream cultural phenomenon.

There are the traditional figures, which make wonderful little desk accessories, wedding cake toppers, and decorative accents (a bunch of different ones massed on a shelf or side table make an interesting conversation piece). You can find them engaged in virtually every profession and activity imaginable, so they make a cute personalized gift for a hairdresser, new mother, cat lover, or anybody else you can dream up.

There are also sugar skulls, which are fun to decorate and make an unusual party favor (or place card, if you frost each person’s name on the skull). They’re a fun group craft, too: A supply of blank sugar skulls, tubes of icing, and decorative stuff like colorful candies and edible glitter will keep kids or adults entertained. You can use the same molds to cast plaster skulls, then paint or glue on jewels for permanent decorations.

Crafters can make soft-sculpture calaveras like the ones above, and can also find fabric, embroidery patterns, and lots more.

There are also higher-quality (and higher-priced) calaveras like these statuettes, which would be a lovely and elegant addition to a room’s decor. These calavera-themed voodoo dolls are kind of interesting too.

Finally, a Dia de los Muertos theme might let you darken up a wedding ceremony without unnerving your mundane relatives. The Ask Ginka site has some ideas to get you started.

If you’re looking for a way to subtly introduce a few more skulls to your life, just dig up (so to speak) a calavera or two.

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