Dia de los Muertos altar exhibition at Art Works Downtown

The art center, Art Works Downtown is such a stimulating place to have a studio, especially one right down the hall from the gallery – you can see the “Ann Brooks” shingle just above my door on the right.

The communal altar above was created by students at San Rafael High School. Detail is below, left.

 This selection of Day of the Dead altars is from both groups, as in the case of the San Rafael High students and individual artists or general public who wish to honor departed friends and family members.

Several of the altars honor the people of San Rafael of the past as well as early settlers like Don Timeteo Murphy.

The exhibition was juried by Sharon Christovich, Folk Art Gallery owner, and Carol Durham, Art Works Downtown studio artist.

Above and right, an altar which invites the public to write their own wishes, prayers for people dear to them – see the detail below on the left.


The altar directly below by Petrina W. was given the Jurors’ Award. In it she pays homage to so many friends and relatives she has lost. She writes about them with such elegance that one ends up breathless over the losses she has suffered, yet wonders at her open, friendly personality!


To the left, Patrick Gavin Duffy has created an altar honoring one of San Rafael’s earliest founders, Don Timeteo Murphy, the legendary six foot, 300 pount, red-headed Irishman who was granted the “Rancho de las Gallinas” and most of the former mission lands by the Mexican Governor. This altar references items from the Rancho period when this western edge of the ‘world’ system was Spanish, not American.


Fine Arts Department student at College of Marin, Novato. Isabel Hayes’ altar “Home is Where We Rest Our Bones” is a memorial dedicated to the people of San Rafael, then and now. Isabel calls San Rafael her home.

Friday, November 11th Art Walk will be the closing reception for this very stimulating show.

All photos by Ann’s iPhone 4s with post production in Photoshop.


Above: detail from “Home is where we rest our bones” by Isabel Hayes. 

Creating jewelry to deal with grief

In the early 1990s a dear friend of the family’s passed away. He had been in college with my parents and had known me since I was born. When Bob died at a ripe old age, I was disconsolate!

I had recently given up weaving and, continuing to honor my love of the fiber arts, had just begun creating whimsical brooches, hand knitting hardware store wire!

In the middle of my grief, it occurred to me that it might be eased if I made a brooch to honor my grief and love for Bob.

So “Bob’s Gone Fishing” came into being with his blue eyes and big heart, the rancher in coveralls who loved fishing.

My creativity had eased my grief then and over time it had been forgotten. Yet finding this old photo inspired writing this post and in the doing, more than fifteen years later, I find my grief is not gone. Like picking a forgotten scab, it can still bleed.

. . . a reminder that bleeding and healing are part of life and loving.

[ Please click here to see the archive of my knit wire jewelry. ]

photo: Kate Cameron