The rattle wands that don't rattle.
I started over, gathering suitable twigs from under my neighbor's gigantic copper beech tree. I see this tree every day from my northern windows, towering over the neighborhood. We 4th Avenue residents all curse the tree a little bit in the spring when it's fuzzy little blossoms are blowing around, sticking to everything… and at this time of year, while it sheds it's two tons of leaves and (some years) prickly seed pods across at least three of our backyards, but it's magestic presence is worth it! This Grand Dame has donated her discarded branches to more than a few of my projects and I can always count on finding just the right piece to serve as a doll's spine or limbs.
These sugar skulls are polymer clay sculpted over bases of tightly wadded aluminum foil with wire embedded into the center, which was then wrapped around the wooden twig wands. They were then painted in a fairly common Day of the Dead motif… with joyful flowers in eye sockets, hearts and crosses. I love how this tradition teaches us to embrace our departed ancestors in festive celebration, with color, flowers and sweets. My calavera (Spanish for skull) wands are standing in a small tin bucket of red stones and ready for display at Guardino Gallery's 2013 Day of the Dead show, running through November 24th. Be sure to go see the show at 2939 NE Alberta St in Portland!