Skull and Pestle—November

“Skull and Pestle” paper mache, ceramic, paper clay, glitter, fabric scraps, November 2015

November’s Baba Yaga was directly inspired by Dia de los Muertos, the Mexican Festival of the Dead, which begins the month of November. A paper mache skull that is typically used on Muertos altars is the base for this piece. One of Baba Yaga’s prime characteristics is her travel via mortar and pestle. I envisioned the skull as the mortar, and hollowed it out, placing a figure with a pestle inside. The figure itself is another refashioned Muertos figure that I added clothes to. The pestle is made of paperclay.

The skull is, of course, another symbol commonly related to Baba Yaga, so this assemblage fits well into her general mythos. She is also typically seen as an agent of change, which the mortar and pestle can often symbolize, via its action on whatever is ground up within it. Baba Yaga is also linked with birth/death and again, the mortar and pestle encompasses these things through both its pulverizing action and the obvious sexual symbolism of the pestle and mortar itself.




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