Wednesday, March 14, 2018


Hi All,
No, it's not a new rock group. It's what I call my new "Day of the Dead" sugar skull busts. I made two of them at the same time, so they share some of the same fabrics & materials.

The Dead Sisters:

I've been making "Day of the Dead" dolls for quite a few years now, but recently a friend asked why I wasn't making the faces like the painted sugar skulls -- the way most people make up their faces when celebrating "Dias de los Muertos".

Up to that point, I had been making "dead dolls" to look like a "Catrina" or a basic skull.

For a long time, the sugar skulls were a separate thing from the "Catrina's" dolls that people made. But more recently, I've noticed that the sugar skull (calaveras de azucar) image has become more popular in representing the festival of the dead.

Here's a little background on "sugar skulls": Historically, people made skulls of sugar by pressing sugar and starch into a mold and decorated them with cake icing, foil, & beads. These decorated skulls are displayed on tombstones or use as offerings on alters (offrendas). These offerings celebrate the lives of loved ones who have passed on. Decorating the skulls made them look more festive and less scary.

People would also paint skulls made of paper-mache or ceramic:

Very quickly, the sugar skull became a graphic image in print, on fabric, embroidered, and even tattoos:

So, instead of making "Day of the Dead" dolls that looked like other "dead dolls", I'm making dolls that look like people made up to look like sugar skulls.

Have fun!


Romona King said...

Thanks for the history of the sugar skulls, did not know all that. Love the look you created and love love love the bright colours.

Arley said...

Hey Romona - thanks for letting me know that! I never know if I'm writing stuff people already know. Thanks!