Growing up in the Southwestern part of the U.S.
and living on the U.S./Mexico border and being of Mexican decent,
I was surrounded with Mexican iconic images, language, and other cultural symbols.
It seemed so natural for me to create something that is so familiar,
so much part of who I am.
I completely enjoyed making my shrine of one of my favorite religious paragons,
La Virgen de Guadalupe,
or Lupita as she is referred to by so many of her devotees.
Around here, she is a rock star!!
I had no clue as to how I was going to begin this project,
but then, that's how I usually work...
first the words, then the idea, and finally,
the design and materials that I will be used to complete the piece.
I signed up for this wonderful project,
said the word "shrine," then, Lupita popped into my mind, but the materials came a bit later.
I was at Hobby Lobby soon after that and was asked by a very nice Croatian couple to help them out.
They didn't speak very good English but I spoke no Croatian, so they had it over me!!
As I showed them the unfinished wooden boxes,
there it was, a little box with glass panes...the "idea" was born!!
After helping them out,
the designs began percolating in my head,
clay, metal, tiny artificial flowers, paint...lots of paint...folk art (of course).
I couldn't wait to get home to begin my shrine.
I have to say,
I'm now hooked on shrines and since this project,
I have purchased more of these little glass boxes.
I decided to keep Lupita terra cotta because when I was a child,
my grandmother brought me back a small
terra cotta Lupita from Oaxaca (happy coincidence)
and I loved that raw, earthy little statue
till one day my brother decided I didn't need it anymore...typical little brother too!!
She brought back memories of not just the statue,
but my grandparents and how much they loved their Mexico
and attempted with their too "pocho" grandchildren,
to pass on that love, which happily, they succeeded.
I digress, but if you know me, you'd understand!!
So I sculpted the little Virgen
out of polymer clay and surrounded her with silver and copper foil.
Also, I took this little shrine to my mother's parish priest,
where he blessed it for me or rather, the new owner.