Monday, January 9, 2012

naming of the construction... day of the dead part 3

as the day of the dead competition is near its end, 
i will try to regale you with why i named my entry:
"Twenty Flowers for Catrina".

mind you, i had no actual name picked until i was told that it was desired. 
it was essential to the rules of the contest. 
i had a pretty big show in boston that saturday, 
so i cobbled together some gibberish from WIKEPEDIA
and GOOGLE images 
to help me comply. 

i actually learned a fair amount just glossing over this info as well.
it is good to keep something fresh in the mental hopper...
if only to serve as future compost or to yell out at alex trebek
while enjoying JEOPARDY.

the day of the dead is celebrated in a lot of places.
it is commonly known by Americans
as a festival in Mexico where families honor their dead.
or more to the point, their ancestors.
in earlier, pre-Hispanic times, skulls were kept as trophies and
displayed during rituals to symbolize life and death.

there is a "day of the innocents" or "day of the angels"
celebrated on Nov. 1, which is the celebration of children.
the following day is the "day of the dead".
at this time people go to cemeteries to build altars to their relatives.
the hope is that they will entice their souls to visit the living.
this celebration is planned for over a year often
and many offerings are prepared for its occasion.

amongst the decorations on the grave sites are
Mexican Marigolds.
according to the info i acquired from Wikipedia:
the marigolds are also called cempasúchil
this comes from the  Nahuatl term for the flower zempoalxochitl,
 literally translated as "twenty flower".

i actually counted the flowers in my necklace, finding there to be
twenty two in use.
(i got a little loose with that interpretation, it was close though so i went with it.)
(and i was feeling a little lyrical with the whole process).
this is where i got the flowery part of my name from... 
since i had both used marigold flower colors,
 all orangey and yellow and reddened,
it seemed pleasing to cob that traditional component in the naming. 

it does bear a weird personal element as well. 
we cultivated loads and loads of marigolds in our gardens growing up,
 since they are very bright, stand up to whatever bad gardening skills i have, 
and smell pungent.
 organically, they are useful to ward off those pesky no-see-um bugs 
that always ferret me out of any pack for snacking on. 
dang my vitamin B scent. 
they were also my grandfather's favorite flower. 
this always figured largely in my mom planting them by the flats. 
it made her father happy.
it seemed a relatively easy progression to follow. 

back to the naming process...
about Catrina...
(this part is cut and pasted from the wikipedia info on catrina)
La Calavera Catrina 
('The Elegant Skull')
 is a 1910 zinc etching
by Mexican printmaker José Guadalupe Posada
The image has since become a staple of Mexican imagery,
 and often is incorporated into artistic manifestations of the dios del muertos. 

this Catrina is the skeleton of an upper class woman,
 and  remains one of the most popular figures of the Day of the Dead. 

so i put two components together;
the elegant Catrina with traditional pretty marigolds
 to come up with
"Twenty Flowers for Catrina"

i hope this helps clarify things.

time to hit the hay...


  1. Hi Wendy, I have been reading here for about a month...ever since I saw this piece in the Day of the Dead challenge!

    I just have to tell you that I love reading your blog...and I really loved learning more about this piece and the naming process!

    You have amazing talent and both your writing and your metalwork / beadwork jewelry designs...I love it! Thanks for being there at 4am every day!

  2. thanks tia... i have uh, night owliness...and before i try to go to sleep, i think of something to ramble on about. thank you for reading about stuff.
    it keeps me sane to know others are there in cyberspace.

  3. I want to buy that necklace!!!! Email me