Effigy Boxes

The dark corners of my imagination (that dream up theses things) are a mystery to even me. I have no idea how or why they come to me, but I love it. I no longer question what I create... I embrace it. I just finished designing these Effigy Boxes.

 I love the beauty of funerary art and was inspired by pictures of beautiful effigy sculptures adorning the tops of burial sarcophagi. 

John Hotham Tomb - South Dalton

I thought I would try to make my own versions in miniature. The photos here are the prototypes in which I experimented and figured out what does and doesn't work. I am quite pleased with how they turned out and plan to make more. These are available in my Etsy shop.

I am having trouble getting photographs that show how they actually look. I thank they are much better in person, but these are the best I can do.The last two were done with my scanner which gives them a wonderful creepy effect.

The boxes and skeletons came from the local Dollar Tree store. This last year, while designing my Dead Faeries, I ran out and so I really stocked up this time! Because I have so many ideas for using skeletons, I special ordered a case of 48 garlands that have four 5” skeletons each. Including what I already had, I now have over 140 of the little creatures to play with.

I bent the skeletons about a bit to give them more character. I figured it was alright if something broke because it would still work with this process.

I used Celluclay paper clay to cover the lids and build up to make the skeletons appear to be part of the stonework. 

I mixed up a small amount (using a sour cream container) of homemade gesso using plaster of Paris to give it a gritty stone texture. Instead of painting, I tinted the gesso a grey color. I applied 2 coats, applying torn pieces of tissue paper between coats 1 and 2 to give the appearance of shrouding (or flesh if you like).

After they dried for a couple days, I sprayed my miniature effigies with a few coats of clear gloss paint. It was at this point I realized I should have applied antiquing before this step because the gloss paint prevented it from adhering. I had to use black oil base paint this time and spray again. All part of the design process.

To make the interiors a little classy, I lined them with dark red velvet. As it turns out, they go well with my Dead Faeries!