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Aztec Goddess Shrine

This project was on my mind all summer but I finally finished her! When I look at the finished piece, I can't believe I actually created it.

It started with an antique brass match holder from Sweden I found at a junk store. It took me a year (not kidding) to decide which side to use. They're both fantastic!

I had the head of a blinking doll that I had removed the hair from in my junk bin and one day I saw the two pieces together and had an a-ha moment.

I started researching Aztec gods and goddesses and discovered Chalchiuhtlicue. As I learned about her being the 'lady of the jade skirts,' I decided to eventually add some jade tones.

Playing around with other pieces from the junk bin, I settled on a skeletal torso and skeleton hands to crown the piece. I rusted them and dry brushed them in white, a golden yellow, and a lightened thalo green.

The piece cried out for colorful flowers so I colored Tim Holt's Heirloom Roses in alcohol ink shades of Wild Plum, Poppyfield, and Mermaid.

At first, I highlighted some of the piece in white but it seemed too clean. For the rays around her head, I dabbed on Distress Ink in Antique Linen to muddy the white.

I added straight thalo green over the lines of the crown and the smaller rays around her head but they were too vivid. I ended up rubbing burnt umber over the thalo and love the result.

The bottom of the piece was too blank and I knew exactly what to fill it with - slag glass. The river that runs through the town I grew up near is lousy with slag glass from the glass factory. Each canoe trip I bring home chunks - big and small - and keep them for display in glass jars or old brass cups.

I searched through my collection and found some lovely green/blue chunks and a worn piece of river glass. They perfectly represent her jade skirts. I've been going back and forth between gluing them in place and leaving them loose in case the person that lays claim to the shrine wants to put something else in it.


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