Dia de los Muertos: Gallery, Alter, New Jewelry


This year’s El Dia de los Muertos day and alter is about change.  There is a lot going on and we’re moving very soon.  So, it is particularly timely, purging old pics and momentos; embracing but moving on.  My goal is to simplify in the year to come, literally and figuratively; I want to toss 1/2 of all I own.  For those of you close by, we’re having a garage sale this Saturday. 😉

The alter is very simple this year too.

New jewelry inspired by the colors, smells (copal!), and tastes of the day will be posted in my Etsy shop: Physalia Designs.  I had a trunk sale here last week- so am adding inventory now.  Check back for Fall & holiday sales.

New pieces feature Gaea’s special Dia de los Muertos pendants, Anne Choi 2-sided sugar skull charms, sterling and brass with Czech crystals.

Andrew Thornton original bronze  skull charms in a tasty matte gold finish, with crystals.

These are all from one of my favorite year-round Mexican folk art gallerias for all things  and Dia de Los Muertos.  Alamo Fiesta in San Antonio, Texas~

Dia De Los Muertos Celebration- Making Papel Picado

Celebrate making colorful papel picado for the holiday Dia de Los Muertos with this fun tutorial by etsy artist Yreina with Aymujer!.

I love October and Fall overall, for the feelings of change and transition.  Lots of that happening now…

I especially enjoy celebrating the Latin holiday Dia de los Muertos- Day of the Dead-  both as an personal day and as a community celebration.  Bay wide, our museums offer special community alter exhibits. There are concerts everywhere and parades through most cities.

To me, Dia de Los Muertos is a time to honor change- what we see and what we don’t.  It is also the time of year to honor our connection to loved ones who have blessed our lives with theirs.  I love the heightened colors and festivities of this holiday: bright abundant alters are built in homes and in galleries; marigolds bloom from stoops & gardens; people prepare special food & drink enjoyed by loved ones; and there are lots of parades and concerts.

One ritual I enjoy almost every year is going to any one of the special Mexican stores or markets to buy fresh sugar skulls, papel picado, and usually one new calaveras figurine (skeleton figure) for my alter.  These figures humorously depict a smiling skeleton hard at work or play, reminding me not to take things so seriously.  Underlying all the impermanence is the message to celebrate life at every turn.

This is also the time of year to make sugar skulls, masks, breads, and crafts.

For crafts, check out this wonderful tutorial from fellow Etsy artisan Yreina on how to make papel picado- colorful tissue banners that typically decorate alters and storefronts for nearly all festivities including this day.  I love how Yreina has designed a particular papel inspired by something her Grandpa used to say.

This is just the black and white template (useable for your own project). Check out her wonderful story and technique for making papel picado here.

As well as her Etsy store Aymujer- here.

I’ll be posting pics of my alter this week, and jewelry inspired by the playful sugar skulls and treats featured all week long.  So check back!

New Etsy Shop~ “Physalia Designs Jewelry by Tara Linda”

New Etsy Store! Physalia Designs by Tara Linda~ unique jewelry.

Some of you may have noticed my new Jewelry Gallery page growing on this blog, and new Etsy banner on the sidebar.  For years, I’ve made jewelry- mostly for gifts.  But in recent years, I’ve focused on jewelry as talisman- making pieces with qualities that I want to carry with me when performing; stones and colors that evoke, enrich, protect, draw, & celebrate.  Since getting more requests to make pieces for others- I decided to make extra for this store.  Of course, the same Muses that inspire my music and lyrics/poetry inspire my baubles too 😉

So my new online store is called Physalia Designs jewelry by TaraLinda. I will post later about the shop name and inspiration for the the banner. I’ve been active with the on-line Etsy site since early Summer discovering the giant community of artists, especially those making pendants and ribbon- things I can incorporate into my work.  I really love supporting small businesses and independent artists in this economy, and Etsy is a great place to find gifts.

My designs change, but so far, pieces are colorful & chunky.  Because of my own skin sensitivities, I use mostly sterling silver & gold vermeil. Also shibuichi and copper.  Each piece is unique. I’ll be posting more adjustable lariats, chokers, & finer wire-wrapped pearl chains soon.

From my recent Siren Series on Etsy – inspired by the ocean Muses:

and coming soon, more Dia de Los Muertos:

Dia de Los Muertos alter

This year’s alter is about Joy; for all those who have been in my life, and who are now in my life- I have something here celebrate them.  I celebrate my current relationships- with fun things that symbolize the things my friends love to do (ride bikes, sing & play music).   I always have the full band represented 😉

I also keep things here (a journal) that can be cleansed, refreshed by the smoke of the burning copal resin, a special  incense used during this time.

My alter marks a place where souls come to rest after a long journey and to feel appreciated. Thus the flowers, beer bottles, sugar skulls, and bread treats. 😉

October Celebrations

October is my favorite month; it’s my birthday month; it yields the most colorful change of seasons; it’s Halloween; it’s my purging time of year, and it’s the month I prepare my Dia de los Muertos alter.  To me, October is the most potent season of the year because it’s a time of renewal, which for me, makes it more of a New Year’s than any other month of the year.

Because I won’t be home much of Oct. or Nov with my performing schedule, I feel like I have to race to enjoy all of the things October represents; I started purging last month; I’m making more jewelry that feels like Fall, and Dia de los Muertos, and I’ll be setting up my alter earlier and enjoying it later ;).

Not only is Dia de los Muertos the traditional time of year to honor our ancestors (no matter our ancestry)- family and loved ones passed from this life- for me, it is also a time to celebrate everything we’ve gained and lost in the year.

I first started honoring the Days (Nov. 1 is a day for children, Nov. 2nd for adults) this way when I was in college in Austin.  A friend’s altar was her creative corner of the house with handmade offerings, bright traditional sugar skulls, calaveras figurines, pictures of relatives & friends who’d passed, and bouquets of marigolds.  But she also had lots of personal mementos from the year that marked anything she had lost, was grieving, or just trying to work out.  Big stuff and little stuff. She told me something that really stayed with me; during this time of year, in addition to the spirits that normally guide you through the year, you now have those whom you’ve known and loved from the past who are suddenly  close when the ‘veil between the worlds’ is extra thin.  This of course ties in Pagan beliefs of Halloween, and All Souls Day.  My friend said that because they will come close to give you guidance, counsel, and company-  you must generously prepare the treasured food and drink they love, and have pretty things for them to admire (like things you make).

Here are a couple of things I hope they will like. 😉  The hand painted ceramic pendant is from Gaea. I used pink opals and green howlite to bring out the pendant’s colors, a bronze charm from ashes to beauty and seed beads.  I’ll be posting more creations inspired by Gaea’s Day of the Dead collection very  soon.

And a very Fall cherry quartz necklace with copper.