I’m still on a Day of the Dead kick. In light of this, my husband and I took a class on day of the dead altars from Suzanne Martino at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft. It was amazingly insightful and delightful. Suzanne is a great mixed media artist, and it was a pleasure to learn from her. I was also able to add a lock and key to the piece, making it worthwhile for a Mixed Media Monday submission.

When considering a theme, I decided to honor my mother with an altar. It was a difficult choice. I considered one for my father as well, but I thought he would consider it “damned foolishness.”

So I went into the class with numerous photos of my mother and hopes to create something worthy of her. Suzanne provided a wonderful collection of embellishments and potential altar bases. She shared plans for an altar she wanted to create in honor of her father, and invited us to let the altar take shape as we sought fit.

As I dug through the images and charms, I found many that touched me, and as I began working on the altar, I would return to Suzanne’s box of treasures and find more that spoke to my feelings toward my mother. the altar included a frame with a mesh background, and to that I attached photos of my mother, flowers, a red bulldog (she went to New Albany High School — aka the bulldogs), a cross that I had given to her before she died to represent her faith, and butterflies to represent my hope of her life beyond this one.

But it wasn’t done. It needed more. So I added a wedding photo of my mother and father, and it suddenly became an altar honoring them both. I added keys and lock to represent how my parents still have a hold on my heart. I added animals to remember my father’s hunting and the varied pets he would bring to us from the woods. I added yellow ribbons to show that I will not forget them. I added yet another cross because I want to believe my parents are in a new life without pain. Without suffering. With joy.

So here is my altar to my parents.

Remembering Mom and Dad

Remembering Mom and Dad

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