Sunday, October 12, 2008

Welcome to the Afterlife

Whew, I finally finished my latest Day of the Dead Shrine, it's title is "Welcome to the Afterlife". I started this puppy Sept. 1st, well to be accurate, I really started it back in the early spring. That's when I sketched out the original idea, decided on size & how it was going to be constructed. I cut my wood for the for the main body & the shelves. Aaand, wandered off onto something else.

I tried really hard to get an early start on this, as I do every year. I know there's going to be an annual, "Day of the Dead" show at the gallery and I like to have a piece for it. But for the life of me I can't seem to get something finished ahead of time. Apparently, gasp, I'm one of those people that need an impending deadline to get my ass in gear. Maybe next year.

Fortunately the gallery doesn't seem to mind when I bring something in, although it would have been much better to have it there for the opening, which was Oct 3. Better late than never!

For those of you who've wandered over from the assemblage group, the "You are Here" sign is at the base, (seen best in the last photo) I decided on "unencumbered" for the top space on the kiosk. I'm really happy with the way it came out, I had a last minute flash of inspiration when I opened my box full of rub on transfers. I bought around 20 sheets of various designs & alphabets about 15 or so years ago when one of the local art supply stores were clearing them out cheap. I guess they figured with the advent of computers they wouldn't be wanted. I kick myself that I didn't buy more but I wasn't sure what I'd do with them at the time. Just bought them on a hunch.

Anyway, they've come in very handy over the years & I used some to decorate my kiosk, I was going to just paint it like a concrete base but am much happier with it like this. I have to say that one of the things I've learned about myself is that it's important to take my time with the pieces I work on. It allows thoughts & ideas to simmer a bit before surfacing and usually results in a much richer composition than if I had rushed it. The other thing I learned is that one should always pick up those interesting bits that just might come in handy. The plastic columns were bought several years ago when I was wandering around the cake decorating department of a craft store. I thought they would be good for something. One of the details that pleases me most about this piece is the little fences I made from the bristles of a street sweeper. I've been picking these up for 20 years whenever I go for a walk or bike ride. They're 1/8" wide x 1/16" thick & vary in length from 7 to 12", steel, I think. Most have a nice worn metal patina. I cut them up & soldered them together, backed the top & bottom rails with thin pieces of wood to give them a bit more presence, sprayed painted them flat black & added some blacked wires at the joins for added texture. It was one of my 1st successful soldering experiences & I've got more ideas waiting in the wings.

This was a real "pita" to photograph so the quality is not as good as I'd like, I'm going to have to break down & buy some decent equipment. This last photo shows the side, which has skeletons embedded in modeling paste with a sand like texture, somewhat rough to give the suggestion of an old tombstone.

Well, okaay, enough about that! Time for lunch...


  1. I totally need a deadline to get myself in gear as well. Your shrine is fabulous!

  2. Absolutely wonderful Gretchen. It was well worth the wait. Kudos! :D

  3. Your Day of the Dead piece is really wonderful. I became a big fan of this art after spending time with Pueblo friends in NM and seeing the crossover in religions from one holy day to another.
    And your Queen Card is so appealing!