Ceramic Skulls – Inspired by the Calveras de Azucar of Mexico

These are made of buff stone clay and bisque fired in a kiln. They are then painted with acrylic paint as opposed to glazes. I find acrylic is a more direct method of painting – you do not have to wait to see the results. The colours and patterns are inspired by the sugar skulls of Mexico made for the Day of the Dead festivities.

Sugar skulls are an example of the indigenous religion of the Mayans and Aztec interacting with the Roman Catholicism brought by the Spanish Conquistadors. The indigenous people of Mexico still wanted to honour their ancestors after converting to Catholicism. The Catholic practice of creating images or statues to venerate saints lead to the creation of these small, decorated skulls to honour people who have died. Since the indigenous people did not have a bountiful supply of plaster, but did have a supply of sugar, they made the skulls out of sugar. That is the history of sugar skulls or in Spanish – calveras de azucar.

Most of these particular skulls were made for a silent auction for a local womens shelter. Two of them in particular were very popular and raised a lot of money for the cause. I also made clay skulls as favours for my wedding. And the cake toppers…

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