Sugar Skull designs have actually become somewhat popular in American culture, often as clothing designs, artistic renderings, or even tattoo designs. I am drawn to them personally for their juxtoposition of beauty with the seemingly macabre. But sugar skulls are more than just a pretty knick-knacks to culturally reappropriate for cool tattoos and t-shirt. They are part of the traditional Mexican holiday celebration for Dia de [los] Muerta, (many cultures around the world have similar holidays to remember and honor the dead) and are part of a longstanding and wide spread celebration and remebrance of the dead. Far from being a sad or somber day, Dia de Muerta is a festive occasion, and sugar skulls are created with specific deceased relatives or friends in mind, often even inscribed with their names, and then placed on the gravestone in the hopes that it might encourage the deceased to appear.
The other day a friend of my posted a picture on FB of some pretty sugar skull cat figurines and I thought, I must have those. So I followed a link and found them on Etsy. And then I saw how much they cost, presumably because they were hand-painted, and I thought, well, shit, I can do that. So I rehabbed my gramma’s old siamese cat salt and pepper shakers. Additionally, I decided to make one of them specifically in honor of my departed Neeners. (Neeners has been a bit of a hot topic around here this week. My daughter saw a photo of Neeners on the refrigerator the other day and told me she “wanted Neeners,” and I had to explain to her that Neeners had already died quite a while ago, when Darling Daughter was still a baby. The news did not go over well, and to tell you the truth, by the time I was done trying to comfort her, I was practically ready to cry myself…)
Anyway, the original shakers had a bit of gloss to them, so the acrylic paint I used kept wanting to peel off if I touched it the wrong way, but hopefully the coats of spray finish I put on it help with that. They aren’t quite as detailed as the ones I saw on my friend’s post, but I’m pretty proud of them for my first go around. I think I’ll be on the lookout for all sorts of flea market cast-off to rehab now!