Friday, October 2, 2009

Remembering Ruby

Earlier this Summer while strolling down Alberta, I stumbled upon this new little shop called FANTASMA: an Altar space. I got all tingly as I stepped in and felt like I had found the golden key that would unlock the door that would send me forth on my chosen path. Could there be anywhere more perfect than this magical little shop of Mexican handicrafts, steeped in Day of the Dead Folk Art? We were meant for each other. I introduced myself to the owner and described the Calaveras I have been making. She liked my work and booked me! And here I am, the featured Artist and Altar builder for the entire month of October. Viva la BoneWerx!

This is the first altar that I have ever assembled. As a flower child, I grew up around various forms of altars to different gods, cats, poets, artists, relatives and friends. My parents, grandma and aunt have all been altar builders, it has been a family tradition. . . and now it is my turn. I consulted my aunt Zoe, an artist and educator in the Bay Area. She is the authority on Mexican Folk Art and gave me the traditional guidelines that I needed to begin with. In the end, I branched out with where my heart led me.

The altar I have created is an 'Ofrenda' to Ruby. It has been 2 years since Ruby was taken from this world and it has taken me this long to get to the place where I could do a piece about her. In the aftermath of the horrific event that stole her away, I knew I had to make something, but it felt too painful then. It has been nagging at me ever since yearning to come out in some way, but not knowing how. It feels very important for me to honor Ruby in this way; to remind the world that she was here - touched our lives - and we miss her.

Bright bud
Glowing Firecracker
Racing bug
Spunky Dream Catcher
Wild wildflower. . .
on the wind
blowing through my mind
blowing up my heart
scattering fire seeds
softly glowing

I hope you will take the opportunity to visit the altar and celebrate the spirit of Ruby.

FANTASMA is at 2314 B NE Alberta Street


  1. Excellent altar to our Ruby...Thanks for doing it and sharing with us all!

  2. I just showed Maggie this post and she was so happy to see Tink there.

  3. It's a beautiful way to honour Ruby.
    My husband and I knew her and didn't know that anyone else in Portland did too. A friend told me about the altar last night and we stopped by this morning. It's a lovely and moving piece - it's got me thinking about her bright little self again.
    Thanks for creating it.

  4. Alea... thank you for your tribute to Ruby. My wife (Susanna) and I stood before your creation and silently wept for our little friend. Similar to yourself, it is only recently that I've been able to allow myself to mourn her loss. Your expression has helped me heal this deep wound. Maybe someday we can meet. Bless you.