It’s that time of year, fall is here and time to think about the coming of El Dia de los Muertos. I’m already in that mode, since I just finished a shrine for my grandfather, which will be in the show at the Indianapolis Art Center.

This book, Day of the Dead Crafts, includes a number of jewelry projects, many of them polymer clay, so it’s relevant here!

The book starts with a history of El Dia de los Muertos, which is great, since you want to understand the meaning behind the day before making anything.

The chapters include: Offrendas (alters), Calaveras (skeletons with personality), Masks and Skulls, Jewelry and Home Decor.

Some of the jewelry projects are a little folksy, which is entirely appropriate, since it’s a folk-type holiday, but it’s hard to see a jewelry person doing them without sophisticat-ing things up a bit.

For me, I find the rest of the book more helpful and inspiring, and I’m more likely to do the other projects. If I did do the jewelry projects, I would take them as inspiration and do them a bit differently.

I do think the step by step instructions for the polymer clay projects are clear and helpful. They include forming a skull and forming a skeleton.

Overall I give the book a thumbs up. If you’re interested in doing something with Day of the Dead, but aren’t sure where to start, this book is perfect for you.

The chapters on printmaking and papel picado are also very good. The projects on papel picado show you how to cut them using an Exacto knife. If you’re looking for projects that can be done with scissors, the book, Mexican Papercutting: Simple Techniques for Creating Colorful Cut-Paper Projects has that covered.

If you’re in the Chicago area, be sure to visit the National Museum of Mexican Art’s Largest Annual Day of the Dead Exhibition in the Nation, details here: http://www.nationalmuseumofmexicanart.org.

Be sure to come back tomorrow to see Day of the Dead in metal clay!

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