Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sweet Halloween Folk Art


Louise Ferrari, owner and the Sweet Lollipop Shop is so fond of Halloween folk art that she's created a line of tasty lollipops that are perfectly suited to the season.

Here's what this folk artist has to say about her folk art confections:

I've always had a love of Halloween and a passion for handmade, so what better combination than applying both in the creation of sweet crystal barley hard candy lollipops, themed perfectly for this spooky time of year. I have a tendency to go with the flow when it comes to deciding what shapes and flavors I want to introduce and I'm very visual in nature so for me tasting good simply isn't good enough, they have to look fabulous. With this in mind I especially enjoyed making the wicked witch lollipops this year, adding just that little bit of extra green to give her that evil feel of Dorothy's nemesis in the Wizard Of Oz. The large size adds to her appeal as do her wickedly chiseled features that include the hooked nose and pointy chin and just for that added realism, water really will make her melt!

Of course there are lots of fun shapes this year, the haunted house with it's intricate detailing is particularly interesting and more unusual than the more regular choices of ghosts and skulls. Of course there is nothing wrong with a regular choice, the opaque ivory skulls in delicious vanilla bean flavoring have a great look to them that is more unique due to the fact that it doesn't have the translucent look of the regular lollipops, a look a little more difficult to create but definitely worth it.

As a big fan of haunted houses, horror movies and anything Halloween related, creating scary lollipops is one of my favorite things to do. Quality and flavor is also very important, everyone has different tastes and I enjoy to be able to cater to as many varied ones as possible. I never use any preservatives and can custom make any order with entirely natural ingredients. With over 50 available flavors, more than 20 being introduced that are entirely natural including my most popular flavor strawberry and more than 20 Halloween shapes currently in stock, there are at least 1000 possible choices you can make for a deliciously sweet Halloween.

Be sure to stop by her cyperspace sweet shop to check out the variety of lollipops - there is something for every holiday season and reason!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cherokee Fall Folklore

Weather has long been a popular folklore topic. Weather Lore (folk explanations about the seasons) explores the beliefs a group of people have about the weather conditions they experience. Why seasons exist and what that means are common questions that weather lore addresses. As you will see by this Cherokee explanation of fall, the explanations can make seasonal differences more understandable:

Back in the early days, when plants and animals were first made, they were told to fast and stay awake for seven days to gain spirit power. All were anxious to gain power so they tried to do as instructed and most were able to stay awake through the first night. The next night some started to fall asleep, and by the third night many of them were asleep. By the seventh night, only a few of the animals were awake. The panther, the owl and one or two others managed to stay awake and as their reward they were given the power to see and go about in the dark. Many of the plants also fell asleep and of the trees, only the cedar, the spruce, the pine, the holly, and the laurel were able to stay awake. As their reward, these were allowed to be always green, while the others must lose their leaves in the fall.

Recorded by Anthropologist James Mooney in History, Myths, and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokee,this explanation addresses beliefs about why certain animals and plants are able to survive the darker, colder times of year.

Weather lore reflects creative and purposeful interpretations of the world in which we live. In some cases it is believed that human beings are closely connected to their environment and in other cases they are not. Regardless of that, all cultures and communities have reasons and explanations for the weather.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Calaveras (skulls) made of sugar are among the more colorful folk art staples of El Dia de Los Muertos which occurs November 1 (or Los Dios de los Muertos for those who recognize both November 1 and 2 as days of remembrance). The tradition dates back to the indigenous Aztecans and Mayans of several thousand years ago who celebrated the death of ancestors with rituals that included displaying skulls during ceremonies to symbolize death and rebirth.

Today’s Calaveras are made of molded sugar and are often placed on community and home altars alongside marigolds, candles, photographs, and a sampling of the deceased favorite foods. Ornately decorated with festive papers and foils, glitter, and brightly colored icings, they also carry a special message for the departed or are inscribed with that person’s name.

Years ago a sugar artist made one for me to honor the loss of my younger sister, Fortunee. During the year the skull is preserved in the freezer until Dia de los Muertos. I then place it alongside the skeleton figures I have collected over the years. These include the bride and groom of death, a skeleton riding a horse and a few hand painted Catrinas (Catrina is the Lady of Death who is the modern day version of the original celebration’s goddess Michtecacihuatl)

Calaveras generally are not gruesome or scary. They are most often pleasing to the eye which is fitting as they are intended to welcome the traveling spirits of the dead.

This folk art can be a fun family project. To find out more, here are a few recipe links:
Mexican Sugar Skulls
Sugar Skull Making

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

'Tis Scarecrow Season

This October the Atlanta Botanical Garden in Georgia is having a month-long scarecrow celebration. In keeping with its mission to develop and maintain plant collections for display as well as enjoyment, the garden has set aside the woodlands of its Southern Seasons Garden for scarecrows.

Once an old-world emblem and tool for entire farming communities, today’s scarecrow stands against a backdrop of asphalt roads, concrete sidewalks, and eight-lane freeways that have reshaped America’s landscape, as a more personal crop-tending method with roots that span centuries and continents.

The Atlanta tradition which runs from Oct. 1 through October 31 features wild and wacky scarecrows created by individuals, designers, organizations and businesses in Atlanta.

Fun family activities, including “pumpkin bowling’ and scarecrow crafts will be available from 10-4 on the weekends. Free with garden admission.