Thursday, October 25, 2007
Help! Kitties are everywhere!
Every year around this time I make a slew of my black cat charm doll familiars in celebration of one of the most iconic images of Halloween and New Orleans Voodoo - the black cat. Indeed, the black cat is considered to be the most powerful animal in New Orleans Voodoo, bringing massive good luck in matters of money, gambling, and general financial success. It has not always been this way, however.
In Western history, black cats have often been looked upon as a symbol of evil omens: in other cultures, they are considered to be good omens. In New Orleans Voodoo, black cats have been the subject of controversial sacrifice in the past, particularly with regards to finding the one bone in the body that is all powerful.
The abuse of black cats for sacrificial and ritual reasons is no longer practiced nor encouraged in New Orleans. On the contrary, they are viewed as good luck in hoodoo, particularly regarding gambling matters, such as playing cards or the lottery.
These black cat Voodoo poppets are loaded with charms, beads, buttons, and what-nots to bring you the best of luck in all of your endeavors! They are stuffed with aromatic, magickal herbs to bring you the best of luck and happiness. Each cat comes with catnip to use as an offering, 7 removable whisker pins, and instructions for use as a focusing tool in meditation. To purchase, visit the Mystic Voodoo.
Posted by Denise Alvarado at 12:57 PM
Friday, October 19, 2007
Here are the latest Day of the Dead creations - Catrin and Catrina newlyweds. These two calaveras will be featured in a new book called Day of the Dead Crafts, that will soon be released by Cantata Books and Wiley Press.
Artwork Name: Catrin and Catrina Bride and Groom Calaveras
Description: This Day of the Dead Voodoo doll couple is made in honor of Catrin and Catrina, made popular by renowned author, journalist and political cartoonist Guadalupe Posada, (1852-1913). The names Catrin and Catrina mean "dapper," and they reflect the fashions of the times.
Materials used: Sticks, Spanish moss, acrylic paint, beads, fabric, lace, and polymer clay.
How it was crafted: This smart-looking couple were made combining the traditional styles of New Orleans Voodoo folk art and contemporary Mesoamerican decorative design.
Inspiration: I am inspired by the humor and whimsy associated with death that this art form portrays. I am inspired by the myth and archetype of Spanish and Indigenous cultures. Day of the Dead art takes death out of its shadow and into the beauty of spirit; it is a means of honoring our ancestors in a manner that is celebratory and lighthearted.
Your experience: As a New Orleans native and the daughter of two of the best artists in the world, I was exposed to a wide variety of art forms from the time I was old enough to be aware. My father was a formally trained medical illustrator (Donald Alvarado, he illustrated the Gray's Anatomy among other things) and my mother was largely a self taught painter of folk art, nature, and mystical imagery. I have held a paintbrush since I was old enough to walk, and have worked in a variety of mediums throughout my lifetime, including pen and ink, painting, mosaic, beaded jewelry, Voodoo art, and crafting art dolls.
What draws you to Day of the Dead art? Día de los Muertos is a holiday rooted in the ancient past of Mesoamerica, which has rich historical imagery. My ancestors were in awe of the eternal cycle of life and death and honored those who passed on with great feasts, sacrifice, ritual, dance, and sacred art that depicted their beliefs and customs. I come by this traditional art form honestly through my earliest traceable ancestors, Aztec King Xicotencotl of Tlaxcala and Pedro de Alvarado, the Spanish conquistador. When I create Day of the Dead art, I pay homage to my ancestors and to the many indigenous people who were killed by war and lost in the process of colonization. May the flame of life smile upon the darkness of death!
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Frida Kahlo was a Mexican artist whose paintings were influenced by the indigenous cultures of Mexico, as well as European influences. Her paintings were vibrant in color with vivid imagery and incorporated elements of realisim, surrealism and symbolism. Frida was married to world famous Mexican painter Diego Rivera. She has achieved great international popularity especially since the 1970s. Frida Kahlo is the subject of many Day of the Dead artists, who portray her in paintings, murals, and calaveras, the popular Day of the Dead dolls.
This Day of the Dead altar doll is my tribute to Frida Kahlo, the great "woman of women". She is created in my unique conjure art tradition, combining the tradition of the Aztec calavera with New Orleans Voodoo art. She measures approximately 8 inches including the feathers on her head. She is wearing vintage lace and ribbons, and adorned with flowers, feathers, and rhinestones. She comes signed for authenticity.
Here, she is shown with her husband, the world famous Diego Rivera.
Both Day of the Dead dolls are available from my website, The Mystic Voodoo.
Sunday, October 7, 2007
Vampires are said to be mythological or folkloric creatures that exist on the essence of humans and/or animals. This Vampire Voodoo doll is inspired by the mystical vampire archetype.
Typically, vampires are cadavers that have been reanimated and who feed by consuming the blood of living beings. In folklore, the term usually refers to the blood-drinking humans of Eastern European legends, and similar legendary creatures from other regions and cultures. Some cultures have stories of non-human vampires, including real animals such as bats, dogs, spiders, and mythical creatures such as the chupacabra of Mexican origin. While the characteristics of vampires vary widely among different cultures, it is commonly believed that one gains supernatural powers through the consumption of human blood.
This Vampire voodoo doll is created in what I have coined the New Orleans Voodoo Hoodoo conjure art tradition out of Spanish moss and sticks. He is a human/bat cross and measures approximately 7 x 2 inches. He is dressed in a black velvet robe, and his face is hand sculpted out of polymer clay and painted. He has an authentic Swarovski crystal on his forehead, which is one of my trademarks. He is self standing and comes signed by the artist for authenticity.
Now up for auction at ebay!