This is “La Calavera Catrina” the last of the doll commissions requested last month. When I was asked to make this doll I thought “Catrina” was just a name. As I researched about this iconic figure in Mexican Culture I found out it was more than just an icon of the Mexican Dia de los Muertos [Day of the Dead]. What amazes me is how much I can learn from each commission. Anyway, “catrina” is a term used to describe an elegant female person. In this case it describes an elegant female skeleton– which was meant to portray a satirization of those Mexican natives who, the creator felt, were over embracing European traditions of the aristocracy in the pre-revolutionary era [taken from wikipedia].
I have to say that I barely finished on time. In fact, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make it because I don’t have a still hand to do all the face painting. Also I was going to need a different pattern than the one I had. The doll was due Saturday and I had to make some last-minute changes. First was the head because the first one I made didn’t look the way I want it. Then it was the dress, the first time I tried it on the doll fit but, after I added the lace on top it became too tight [I don’t know why]. Then the hair and so on and so on, at the end I didn’t go to bed until 5:00 a.m of Saturday.
It was quite a challenge to make this doll but it pushed me into learning more about making dolls. Now, that I’ve tried this new pattern I will make another cloth doll as practice. Before I forget I want to thank my sister for making that awesome hair piece. She made the flowers using felt. I knew it was the right decision to ask for her help. Although, she doesn’t admit it, she is really crafty. I was given a reference picture for the face painting which saved me the trouble to come up with a design of my own. Although the original “Catrina” design is wearing an European attire and a hat, the commissioner requested to be dressed wearing a Mexican outfit. I kept the outfit simple because I didn’t want to over do it and cross the line to stereotype.
I’m happy how it turned out and it makes me even happier that it was my first art doll.