Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Day of the Dead Shadowbox

Inspired by the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead, this year my students made nichos or shadowboxes with clay skeletons.  This was done in a two day workshop.  I show students lots of examples of day of the dead folk art and we discuss the events of the holiday.  On the first day, we made our clay bones, all of the parts are hand built separately except for the spine and ribs which are scratched-to-attached together.  Some students added hats to their skulls and some added guitars or dresses to add to the festive skeletons.We also painted the box on the first day with acrylic paints.  I used cardboard boxes but you can use any interesting box or container you find.  Cigar boxes, wood packing boxes or even small drawers will work great.  Once the bones have been fired in the kiln and the paint on the box is dry, you are ready to decorate.  Each student will need a good tacky glue to use to glue the bones in position to the back of the box.  They other elements can be added using found objects or other materials.  I used glitter paper, rickrack ribbon, cut copper foil, beads, found plastic pieces & cut fabrics.  You could also use sharpie markers to decorate on top of the painted box or right on the clay bones.  Wall paper or wrapping papers with festive colors or flowers would be a great addition too.  As students finished their nichos I punched two holes in the top of the box and pulled a ribbon though tying knots on the ends so that they could hang their shadowboxes on the wall for decoration.  There are so many colorful and creative options for this project, so enjoy and B CR8IV!!

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