Dias de los Muertos Sugar Skulls January 07 2014

There is something so intriguing and beguiling about the human skull. It conjures deep primal revulsion and yet one can not look away. In Mexico and other countries the skull and skeleton are central decorations to the celebration Dias de los Muertos, the Day of the the Dead. This three day celebration of family members and friends that have passed on is centuries old. It centers around the idea that the dead come back to visit us on November 1st so we might as well throw them a party.

During the three day celebration families will build ofrendas (offerings), or alters, at the gravesite and in the families’ homes. They are filled with the passed on person’s favorite candies as well as photos and memorabilia, candles, crosses, food and orange Mexican marigolds. The family will tell funny stories and share in the joy of knowing the person that is no longer with them. Graves will be cleaned and picnics had by it’s side. Dancing, drinking and storytelling will be enjoyed by all. The celebrations vary in tradition across Mexico, some wear shells so while they dance the noise will wake up the dead. Some leave out pillows and blankets so their loved ones can rest after their journey,

Sugar skulls are central to the Dias de los Muertos celebrations, much like Christmas trees are to the Holiday season. Figurines of full skeletons doing everyday tasks reminds us of our lost ones and what they did in life. It also hints at the idea that the dead are still active and enjoying earthly pleasures, a hope that we all have that the afterlife will be enjoyable.

Sugar skulls have become ubiquitous in cultures outside of Mexico and are steadily gaining popularity around the world. They have surpassed their traditional role in the Dias de los Muertos celebrations and can be found on all kinds of decorative items. People are drawn to them as they can be blank slates, telling stories the observer is giving them.




There is something so real and gritty and approachable about sugar skulls. They are playful but at their heart they remind of us of those we love who are no longer with us. They also hint at own mortality. With such a sad story to tell, they do it gently by reminding us that while life is brief, it is also fun.

My mosaic skulls have hopefully captured some of the joy of the celebration of Dias de los Muertos and I hope they bring as much joy to you as they did me while making them.

Mystery of the Wax Museum, Film, Magazine Cover, Mosaic December 18 2013

"Mystery of the Wax Museum" was released in 1933 and is one of Hollywood's great 'lost' films. Shot in a quickly defunct color process that only had red and green hues, the eerie atmosphere leaped off the screen to original audiences. It was never reissued and considered lost by 1936. Lionel Atwill was praised for his portrayal of the poor lost Ivan Igor, the proprietor of the ghastly wax museum. Also starring Fay Wray of King Kong fame, her famous screams add the proper tingles of terror.

 'House of Wax' starring Vincent Price released in 1955 was based on this classic film. Orson Welles also visited a similar plot for an episode of The Shadow in 1938.


Found in a vault in 1970 it was re-released in the summer of 1972 with a gala affair at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood. Fay Wray was the star once again as she surprised the appreciative crowd at midnight with tales of making the film.

Famous Monsters of Filmland issue #113 1975 recalled the eyewitness accounts of that night at Grauman's by the incomparable Forrest J. Ackerman (a blog post for another time that one) reviving 'Mystery of the Wax Museum' yet again to generations to come. His infectious enthusiasm for the film is a delight to read in the issue and is one of the many reasons that drew me to recreate this cover.

Please see my listing for Mystery of the Wax Museum" to see my stained glass interpretation of this classic horror magazine cover.

Welcome to! August 07 2013

After years on Etsy,, and other online marketplaces, I've decided to open the virtual doors on my very own store! Take a look around and peruse the mosaic pieces I have on hand, check out my page about custom projects, or drop me a line on the Contact page.


Thanks for stopping by—enjoy your visit!