Día de los Muertos is almost here, and the Calaveras have arrived.
Calaveras (skulls) are icons featuring Muertos-inspired aesthetics and decoration. They’re everywhere this time of year — as food, as packaging, in our media, on our clothing, in our art, and in our stores. At its roots though, Día de los Muertos is a quintessentially Mexican religious phenomenon when the living not only remember the dead, but prepare offerings to them — including favorite foods, beverages, gifts, flower arrangements, and other ephemera.
The great Octavio Paz best summed it up: “To the people of New York, Paris, or London, ‘death’ is a word that is never pronounced because it burns the lips. The Mexican, however, frequents it, jokes about it, caresses it, sleeps with it, celebrates it; it is one of his favorite toys and most steadfast love.”
Día de los Muertos starts October 31st and ends November 2nd. It’s one of my favorite times of the year, and to celebrate, presented here are thirteen Calaveras, as the holidays approach.
CRANIA ANATOMICA FILIGRE by Josh Harker
Witness the wonder of 3D printing. These remarkable plastic sculptures are available in three sizes. Even if your living room isn’t rocking a Día de los Muertos altar, these are so gorgeously cool.
KIKKERLAND DAY OF THE DEAD CORKSCREW
Created by Ariel Rojo and Stephanie Suarez as part of Kikkerland’s Mexico Design Challenge — I love the design here. Sangria-making just became even more fun.
CALAVERAS PLAYING CARD UNCUT SHEETS by Chris Ovdiyenko
His popular Calaveras playing cards sold out, but his shop still carries reasonably-priced 22″ x 26.5″ uncut sheets. Check out his Calaveras shirts and woodcut prints too.
THE RISE AND FALL SUGAR SKULL PILLOW
Sugar skulls or ‘calaveras de azúcar’ are festive treats made from sugar and icing, offered as gifts to both the living and the dead during Día de los Muertos. Even if your home decor isn’t a holy shrine for ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’, these pillows are pretty fabulous.
BLACK MILK ‘DAY OF THE DEAD’ LEGGINGS
Black Milk says they’ve discontinued these, but they’re still available via select vendors.
LIMITED-EDITION JOSE CUERVO TRADICIONAL TEQUILA
These fabulous thermochromic packaging designs feature skeletons that come to life in full-color when chilled to at least 42 degrees. This color reveal designates that the tequila has reached optimal temperature. How great is that? The campaign originated in 2011, so these bottles may be hard to find, but some vendors may still have remaining stock.
And if you can’t find those 2011 edition bottles of Cuervo — check out another tequila’s terrific packaging design. Inspired by legendary artist Jose Guadalupe Posada, Steven Noble’s illustrated labels for Espolon pay tribute to “the Mexican artists who inspired the world with true portrayals of the country’s rich history and complex everyday life.”
SKULL PAPER SNOWFLAKE
Sharpen your scissors — the award for “Coolest Muertos Party Decoration for Low Budgets” goes to Crafty Lady Abby with this ingenious tutorial for how to make your very own Skull Paper Snowflake.
FOLKLORICO CARTAS DAY OF THE DEAD LOTERIA-STYLE FABRIC
You won’t find this unique cotton fabric anywhere other than The Crafty Tree. Now you know what to gift that Loteria-playing, stamp collector in your life.
SKULL CANDLE HOLDERS
Made by a family near San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, these clay candle-holder sculptures are ready for custom decoration. 3″ tall x 3″ wide” x 3-1/2″ deep. (Candle not included.)
WORLD MARKET MUERTOS PLATES (Set of 4)
I would eat off these year-round, not just for Día de los Muertos and Halloween.
GATO DE LOS MUERTOS T-SHIRT by Cayetano
South Texas artist Cayetano ‘Cat’ Garza is an Ignatz Award winner for his Year of the Rat comics work. I love his ‘Gato de los Muertos’ icon and if your wardrobe closet is full, you can rock his Gato as an iPhone case, tote bag, throw pillow, shower curtain or art print.
‘LA CALAVERA’ LOTERIA POSTER by John Picacio
Online ordering for this closes Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 at 8pm CST. Get these while you can, folks. 🙂 No more online orders for them from my shop after that date.
‘La Calavera’ features art from my Loteria series — an 11″ x 18″ signed, limited-run poster on heavy cardstock. My ‘La Luna’ and ‘El Corazon’ posters are also available online until this Wednesday. Stock up while you can!