These last few days of October are probably my favourite time of the year. The leaves are on the ground, the weather's getting crisp, and there's a delicious sense of fun in the air, hovering alongside a feeling of the macabre. I didn't always used to feel this way. No, October was for Halloween, and Halloween was for silly costumes and eating sugar until you're sick with it. My feelings changed right around the time I wrote one of my final research papers in college.
The paper (which, come to think of it, you can read here if you like) was about José Guadalupe Posada, a Mexican printmaker who died in the early 20th Century. You're probably familiar with his work, although you may not know it. He loved to use skeletons (calaveras) in his illustrations and was a major influence on the Mexican Muralist movement (see Diego Rivera's Sueño de una Tarde Dominical en la Alameda, for example). His use of calaveras can be attributed to several things, but the most obvious connection is with the Mexican Day of the Dead festivities. When I got to that point in my research, I quite simply fell in love. Call me morbid if you will (you wouldn't be the first), but I adore the Day of the Dead and all of its related traditions and crafts. Check out a few inspired objects I found:
LAMA in white or black and I would totally sell my left arm for one. LAMA's owner Christine Martinez inadvertently inspired this post when she blogged about making sugar skulls. I wish I'd known where to find the skull molds earlier--it looks like so much fun!
If you're in the area and are interested in celebrating Dia de Los Muertos, here's a list of festivities in DC. If you know of any others, please let me know!