The Juju Box (1999)

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Prying back the hands of the cosmic clock a bit, this whole thing really began nearly a dozen years ago. My first foray into making calacas was the result of making a birthday present for my then-girlfriend, Jynx; I don’t think that I could convince anybody of my carpentry skills with a straight face, but I was stricken by this randomly weirdo concept of creating a box-style nicho.

I’m honestly STILL not sure how the hell I managed to put this thing together. I expected it to collapse or to crack around the edges within a month or two; however, eleven years later, it’s still sitting pretty on a shelf in our living room. It wasn’t until some time after I’d built it that I realized that there ISN’T a sub-genre of calaca that actually uses this type of diorama, which is odd, because I have a difficult time giving myself credit in coming up with something entirely unique, at least in terms of concept.

The box itself is painted with a Burton-esque checker pattern on the interior (The use of tessellated patterns is one of those “awhellihavenocluewhatI’mgoingtodowiththisbase”-type saves that never fails to look good, with this type of subject matter), and a lacquered purple and black zig-zag stripe on the outside. In what can only be termed another totally random decision, I opted to place a hinged hatch in the top of the box itself:

And as an amusing aside about just how damn sweet my actual hands-on skills were at this point, it can be noted that the figures are seated… due to the fact that I couldn’t figure out how to sculpt them in a standing position. Seriously. The armatures consisted of bent paper clips, which weren’t even braided; thank goodness I went with a basic, non-polymer clay, or I would have wound up gluing the individual bits and bobs together in some Frankenstein-ian fashion.

Of course, I gave Jynx some line about how the sitting pose was intentional, so that our skeletal proxies would be staring into each others’ eyes for all eternity… which I don’t think she bought, but which also didn’t stop her from marrying me.

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