Studying and celebrating Hispanic Heritage is always a focal point in my classroom during the month of October. It’s easy for my South Florida students to relate to this topic, and easy for me to strategically include Dia de los Muertos in the curriculum to satisfy our seasonal urge towards the spooky without overtly “celebrating” Halloween. Lately I’ve been working on taking what I do in my classroom out to the community at large, as with my Recycled Robot make-and-take last month at Art Sunny Side Up. It was a great success and so I’m gearing up to hit the craft show scene hard!
This month, I will be out and about at two different events with Latin American-inspired make-and-take projects. First, this Sunday is the Downtown Open Market in Boynton. The fabulous ladies of Stitch Rock are bringing their magic to a whole new level with monthly events in Boynton and Boca Raton. I’ll be showing artists and crafters of all ages (and even those naysayers who think they can’t be creative) two super-simple (and FREE!) crafts to celebrate Hispanic Heritage and decorate for Dia de Los Muertos! If you can’t make it out to Boynton this Sunday, fear not – the Crafty Chica will show you the way. Her tutorial for papel picado is, of course, on point. You can also wait it out and visit me at the next event!
Later on in the month, I am excited to be a part of the 2nd Annual Ft. Lauderdale Celebration of Day of the Dead, I’ll be in the Arts and Crafts Crypt two nights – October 29 and November 2 – with more papel picado and tissue paper flowers to make, and another in-depth make-and-take that will allow festival-goers to experience first hand one of the most important traditions of Dia de Los Muertos, the ofrenda. Again, I’m going to reference the Crafty Chica to explain the significance of the ofrenda:
Dia de los Muertos isn’t just about cute skeletons, gallery-worthy altars or fun crafts. It’s about respecting our ancestors and loved ones who have crossed over. It’s welcoming their spirits back with open hearts and arms. That’s why we create ofrendas at home or at gravesites with all the things that will make their senses tingle. Things that will make them feel alive on Earth again. If your Aunt Mary used to love bottled Coca Cola, imagine how big she will smile when she gets to taste it again! Make Dia de los Muertos be a personal experience for you, especially if you have recently lost someone you care deeply for.
Here’s my sample below. I hope you’ll come out and make an ofrenda with me on Dia de los Muertos, or some colorful papel picado and tissue paper flowers this weekend!