Last weekend I gathered with fellow creatives to spend the afternoon making mini-altars for Day of the Dead. Those of you who know me--even just a little--know that Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is one of my favorite "holidays" full of creative art and personal expression, passion, and celebration of life and loved ones.
In between taking plenty of pictures and eating yummy pan dulce, chips, guacamole I managed to make two nichos. I was inspired by everyone's personal altars honoring loved ones who have passed, even a beautiful pet altar was on display for a sweet reminder of all the beings in our lives that bring us love and happiness.
Day of the Dead occurs every Nov. 1 and 2. Traditionally, the first day celebrates children, now our "los angelitos" or little angels. The second honors adults who have passed. This is also when families will go to the cemetary and spend the night and day mourning, playing music, eating, celebrating with loved ones at their graves. Day of the Dead is not meant to scare people, it is simply and honestly a day of remembering our dead, it is their day to be honored and we honor them by celebrating their lives and life through altars, offerings of their favorite foods and items, smiling with their memories, and engaging their happiness through fiestas and love.
Nichos, retablos, altars....can be simple or extravagant. Traditionally, these expressions were made from old boxes, cigar boxes, cans or small tin boxes--anything put together or that could be used to create a niche for placing objects that honor someone you love, who has passed. It's a great way to incorporate recycled materals into your art!
Below are photos showing the found materials for my nichos, specifically a found car ashtray and a found metal scrap round, also I used a toy plastic scorpion which I "transformed" just by using fine black glitter. I attached a bone skull bead to a feather butterfly and added more black glitter to the body. Glitter, sequin, bright paints and color are simple and very effective Day of the Dead elements to make your nicho or altar sparkle with celebration :)
Grab a photo, jewelry, notes, a small box, paint or other artsy accents and create your own memory box (altar!) in honor of someone you miss and love. Bring it out once a year for Dia de los Muertos or keep it close to you in a special place. Express yourself in this way and you are are sure to feel the magic of those you love.
Would you like to see more of my Day of the Dead? Click my set on Flickr!