Art Doll & Shrine for the Shrine to Hope Auction (click images to enlarge)
"I am delighted to be participating for the third time in the annual Cigar box Shrine Auction benefitting the Oaxaca Street Children Grassroots Organization. Please join in us in supporting this wonderful organization , the children and families they help, by bidding on this piece and/or any of the other shrines created by the artists who have donated a piece to this years auction."
~La Calavera Catrina & the Shrine to Saint Marcella~
My auction piece this year is titled "La Calavera Catrina & the Shrine to Saint Marcella". La Calavera Catrina is very much a part of modern day Mexican iconography and I thought it fitting to create one holding a shrine to Saint Marcella of Rome. Marcella (325-410 AD) was born into a wealthy aristocratic family. Widowed after only a few months of marriage, she dismissed society's pressures to remarry and chose to devote her life to God , living piously, in prayer and in the spirit of giving and charity. She converted her palace on Aventine Hill into a monastery where other noble women could study, worship and practice alms giving. She was known for her intellect and for not being afraid to question/debate matters of a spiritual nature. In 410 AD, the Visigoths invaded Rome and it was during this time that the elderly Marcella was violently beaten by those who wanted her to divulge where her great wealth was hidden. She succumbed to her injuries and died shortly thereafter but not before successfully pleading with her tormentors to not harm the other women in her company. They complied after learning that Marcella had in fact given all of her fortune away, "preferring to store her money in the stomachs of the needy rather than hide it in a purse."
Saint Marcella is said to have inspired many women to devote their lives to a higher calling, to live a life of simplicity and to help others in need in the spirit of kindness. Today, she is known as the Patron Saint of Noblewomen and her strength and humanity are the sources of inspiration for this shrine.
~Art Doll & Cigar Box Shrine Description~
This articulated La Calavera doll is approx 16" tall and 10" at the widest part her skirt She is made of polymer clay, gessoed and painted in layers of fine artist acrylics, and acid free ink. A light coat of antiquing stain has been applied to give her a slightly aged look. Her eyes and nose are coated with a layer of ultra fine black glitter.
The crown is made of sterling silver wire and I made each of the flowers out of watercolor paper. They are hand painted with acrylics,gouache, or watercolor and some are embellished with glass beads and ultra fine glitter. (The flowers on top of her shrine and on the back of her dress were created the same way). La Calavera Catrina's hair is upswept and is made of English black viscose. Her necklace is made of tiny glass beads and a sterling silver plated cross.The wire and findings connecting her arms and legs to her torso are sterling silver.
The dress is made of various silks~ black satin, black embroidered, gold and ivory duipioni and her veil is made of black silk chiffon (please note that this material frays a bit on the sides). The delicate sleeves and the lace over her skirt are both antique. At the base of her dress is a small string of papel picados that have been lightly coated in ultra fine glitter. Tiny rhinestones adorn the lace of her skirt and tiny glass beads and sequins have been hand sewn onto the neckline, sleeves, waist and skirt of her dress, all of which add a nice subtle glisten to her, especially in very low lighting :)
The ribbon/banner across her skirt reads in Spanish:
"Porque dando es como recibimos.. de La oración de San Francisco de Asís " ("For it is in giving that we receive.. from the prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi").
The vintage wooden cigar box with the label "Marcella" has been cut down from it's original size and reassembled into a new box ( approx. 2.75" x 3.5" when closed). It contains two glass domes, one with a small tree, symbolizing both hope and spiritual growth and a sacred heart (handmade along w/the tree) which symbolizes God's love for humanity. I painted a small banner that reads "Marcella, the Glory of the ladies of Rome". She was referred to as such by Saint Jerome who compared her to Mary Magdalene in her devotion to Christ. On each side of the doors are tiny ex votos (offerings), reminiscent of the ones I saw in churches while traveling in Mexico ."