Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Dia De Muertos- Candy Skulls (Inspiration pt 2)

So everyone knows what a candy or sugar skull is, and if they don’t when you show him or her or even your furry little pet a picture they will have seen one before. Candy skulls are at the height of popularity at the moment, they are being used on everything from furniture, to wallpaper and even to body art.

This is good news for me as I absolutely love candy skulls, I’m not sure why I am so attracted to them…I think it’s the edginess of a skull print but with a mix of bright colours and cute patterns which seems to get me every time. So there was no doubt in my mind that when it comes to inspiration for prints I always look to candy skulls and try to use them anyway I can.

So lets start at the beginning what are the origins of the candy skull? This motif comes from the Day of the Dead festival or Dia de Muertos, which is held in Mexico every year.  This festival is all about celebrating with family and friends and remembering loved ones who have passed on. This festival dates back to the Aztec celebrations that would celebrated for an entire month in worship to the goddess known as Lady of the Dead.

So where does candy skulls enter into all of this and how does it fit in with the festival. Well candy skulls entered the celebrations much later and started with candy art, which was introduced by the Italian missionaries in the 17th Century. The Italian missionaries would make candy lambs and angels for the church.

Mexico was of course stockpiled with sugar and it’s production, soon inhabitants learnt that as they couldn’t afford the expensive European decorations they would create their own.  Candy skulls were created from clay molded sugar, they are said to represent a departed soul. The persons name would be written on the forehead of the skull and placed outside the home or on the gravestone to honour the return of a spirit.

As we know candy skull art has grown and reflects a folk art style, normally with smiles, colourful icing and lots of sparkles and glitter (two of my favorite things).

Now I know I have derailed a bit from where the print comes from, but I felt it was important that I shared the history. As mentioned before the market is full of different prints of candy skulls, my favourite is a the Alexander Henry designs  they are always beautiful, quirky and unique…which I love!

Above are some designs that I have found, I can’t take credit for any of them as they are all other people’s fantastic work. It's amazing how this once print can be used in all different formats!

Lots of love,
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