Saturday, October 10, 2015

La Calavera Catrinas -- Progress!

I just checked my notes, and I started on the new La Calavera Catrinas on Sept. 30.  I'm almost finished with the first of these three WIPs.  When I made the one in September, it was fairly quick work, and I wasn't really happy with the result, but Fee and Amelia liked her best of all the September finishes.  Hmm, since Amelia wanted one, I knew I could do a better job if I tried again.  Decided to make one for Amelia and one for Erin.

And I have been working on them, but it has taken forever.  Ended up making 3 heads, which  didn't take but two or three days--sculpting, drying, painting, drying.  

But the heads were too large for the new body pattern I came up with--
Which is when I started getting into all kinds of difficulties.  :)  
(Yes, Mary M., re-solving old problems and creating new ones!)

After some alterations to the new pattern, things were better; 
but then I wanted an armature.  Had to figure that out. 
I've made all kinds of armatures in the past,
but never have been particularly happy with any of them.
Thank you, Pinterest for a variety of ideas! 
Skillful, huh?
Well, the next one will be better,
and this one worked.

The skeleton print makes it look as if she is wearing tights. 

Gessoed the  body, sanded, gessoed, painted black, sanded, etc.  Auditioned some fabrics for bodice and sleeves, but decided to "make" some fabric using Sulky Solvy and tiny scraps of Halloween fabric, threads, yarn, and other leftover bits I save.  

A jar sitting by my sewing machine keeps 
colorful threads and bits of embroidery floss. 

 I save tiny bits from squaring up fabric 
and from cutting out pieces of a pattern.  
Eventually, they will be recycled in some way
--as fabric beads, tiny bits of applique,
 or as in this case, a new piece of scrap fabric.

As each new dilemma presents itself  
(whether it is figuring something out or just choosing a fabric or technique), 
I abandon ship and work on something else. 


Reading some of my favorite blogs, 
making sachets from Day of the Dead fabric,
glittering leaves left over from some project a year or more ago, 
cleaning up one of the messes that I've made, 
checking Pinterest for tutorials on making armatures
organizing a drawer where I've stuffed things to get them out of the way, 
reading another chapter in a novel, 
embroidering aimlessly for meditative purposes.  

Endless ways to remove myself from a dilemma until something gives, 
and I get a lot of exercise going up and down the stairs.
I've finished all the little fabric flowers (!)
 to decorate the Catrinas heads and applied them.  
They don't look so bare now!

The one that is almost finished 
needs only to have her boots painted
and a final attachment to a stand.

Have another body and armature
ready to dress.
Don't know which head will go with the body,
but I'm able to see the light 
at the end of the tunnel now.  :)

Listening to Deva Premal's version of the Gayatri mantra

 Most often, silence works best for me,
but listening to the lovely voices of Deva Premal
 or Snatam Kaur endlessly repeating mantras is soothing.

Yesterday's high was 93,
today is much cooler!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!


  1. Well, I do think they are looking good, even if there was a lot of thinking and rethinking, working and reworking, to be done.

    1. I so rarely do anything twice, that making a series of Catrinas is actually beneficial. As I figure something out something, I can make a difference in the next one. :)

  2. OMGosh I love them. I just might give a try to making fabrics using solvy. I'm going to start saving my ORTS!!
    xx, Carol

    1. Oh, I'd forgotten the term Orts! Yes, making the fabric with Solvy is a great way to use them--and then the fabric is always one-of-a kind. :)

  3. Have to start with 93!!! Yikes - way too warm for this time of the year. I love these dolls. I loved them when they were just heads. A wonderful tribute to a fun Halloween holiday - but perfect to leave out all year long.

    1. The high today is predicted at 88, but tomorrow, back to 93. And yet, after our summer, this feels so much better! I'm learning a lot by making several of one kind of figure--and having fun with theses Catrinas. Thanks, Penny!

  4. I enjoy reading about your process of creating. It's funny how putting a project aside and doing something else works almost all the time. Glad you have cooler weather-we have not had a frost here-yet! :)

    1. :) Stepping away often works better than continuing to struggle with a problem. I don't do a lot of pre-planning, so problems and solutions develop continually. I'm trying to pay more attention to solutions this time because every successful solution speeds progress on the next one.

      Frost? Since our days are still so warm, I haven't even thought about frost. Maybe in November...

  5. Cute, cute, cute Catrinas. I love the "sugar" skulls so much. On Kundalini Yoga, I actually took a nine-month class on this at the local community college some years back and worked at raising my Kundalini. One night it happened. It was like my body was a freight train and I zoomed out-of-body. It was very intense (and very cool). I saw the silver cord. I was surprised I didn't wake my husband as the bed was shaking like in the movie Exorcist...but it was only my sense of it, he never woke up. So spin those chakras every chance you get!

    1. Thanks, Rian! I'm pleased with the Catrinas I finished for the girls.

      When I was working on my 200 hr. certificate in Austin, I went to several Kundalini classes, but my course was in hatha yoga with an emphasis on Krishnamacharya. What I loved most about the Kundalini classes was the gong that sent vibrations that were felt physically. Never experienced the energy awakening, but then I could only take the Kundalini classes at night a couple of times a week. From 8-5, I was in teacher training, and I always had homework!


Good to hear from you!