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Día de los Muertos - Mexify Your World

3rd November, 2011
Jenny Butler
Thursday 3rd November 2011

After getting her Mex on yesterday, today Madeleine Stamer gets her craft on! Today Maddi shows us step by step how to create some simple and effective decorations to add some Mexicana at home, as well as giving us an insight into the celebrations of the Melbourne Mexican community. - Jenny x

Back in 2002 I had my first Day Of The Dead hands-on experience. I volunteered to assist members of the Melbourne Mexican community as they set up for the Day of the Dead celebrations. They installed a gargantuan altar inside the spectacular Spiegeltent during Melbourne’s Arts Festival. Two years had passed since my dad passed away, they welcomed me with open arms and invited me to add a photo of dad on their communal shrine. It was the most spiritually liberating experience I have ever had. The decorations, scent of marigolds, dance, music, feasting and fun with relative strangers was a sensory delight. I documented the day with my clunky digital camera that required a floppy disk. Funnily enough it was cutting edge technology at the time. I am grateful for a few decent shots and fabulous memories.

Mexican decorations are the epitome of joyous beauty. Traditional Papel Picado banners (Punched Paper) are a definite festive must have. I’ve compiled a few simple decorative showstopper alternatives that can be made with basic stationary supplies and modified to your hearts content with a touch of recycling and minimal elbow grease. All you need is the Mariachi band!

Paper Rosettes are super easy to make, construction is similar to basic paper fan making 101. Colourful Kinder square sheets are a good choice for small rosettes but why not get a little adventurous and try going large scale?! Adhere 2 folded symmetrical pieces together and trim edges as desired. For a green alternative use recycled sheets of newspaper. Once you’ve created a decent stockpile have a crack at stringing them together to make a garland or suspend them from the ceiling in a grouped cluster at varying heights. Welcome to show stopper central!

Upcycle old candles with a simple hand cut paper stencil. Glue under and above with slightly watered down PVA glue, wipe back excess glue off wax. Let dry, then light!

For further visual inspiration check out my stack of favourite reference books above.

More happy reading.

-Madeleine xo

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

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