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Art Show: Repurposed: Art from Recycled Materials

la Senora de Maravillas

by Melissa Saint

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Art: la Senora de Maravillas by Artist Melissa Saint
In Mexico, skulls and skeletons are a symbol of life, regeneration, and the hope for a happy afterlife.

Calacas are special skull masks used during the Dia de los Muertos, the festival in which families and individuals honour their deceased loved ones. Many such skulls are ornamented with bright colours and flowers, and sometimes a cross, to symbolize the Holy Dead. During this festival, families care for grave sites and have festive picnics there. Ofrendas, special altars, are also constructed, generally at home, and covered with photographs, favourite foods of the deceased, candles, fresh water, marigolds, religious items, and playful skull and skeleton art.


This mask is a one-of-a-kind art piece. I love making beautiful things completely from scraps and "trash"!

La Senora was constructed entirely by hand, from a unique paper pulp clay that I make by tearing old newspaper into shreds and then soaking it in a small amount of salt water, regularly mixing and kneading it. The result, when dry, is surprisingly strong.

Her face has lots of texture, and the concave shapes of her teeth particularly add interest to the piece. She was then decorated with paint left over from another project, and ornamented with traditional orange flowers-- artificial cast-offs that became separated from their stems and ended up loose on the floor....a local craft store was going to throw away a big box of them, but when I asked if I could have a few, they gave me the entire box for free!

She was gently sealed with a Matte finish, to preserve her Folk Art look.


la Senora has sold, and now lives with a charming lady in Mountain View, California.

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Detail Images

Detail Image for art la Senora de Maravillas

Detail Image for art la Senora de Maravillas

Detail Image for art la Senora de Maravillas


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