The artist Niki de Saint Phalle, was a french painter, sculptor, and film maker. Today would have been her 81st birthday. Much of her work is naive in style, and has a playful, whimsical quality. The Tarot Garden in Italy is a perfect example of this, with its large scale sculptures covered in brightly coloured mosaics. So is the Stravinsky Fountain in Paris, filled with water-spraying sculptures made by Niki and her husband Jean Tinguely.
Of course it’s all much too happy looking for Halloween, but as luck would have it, she happened to create a unique looking assemblage called Portail de La Mort providing the perfect inspiration for this unusual, quirky little Halloween project. Trust me to sniff out one of the few colourless pieces she created! Joyeuse Anniversaire Niki.
- cardboard box lid
- small Halloween decorations e.g. skulls, spiders, bones, webbing
- found objects: eg. items you have lying around the house like beads, screws, pompoms, stones, shells…pretty much anything to provide texture and help fill up the space
- Plaster of Paris cut into small strips
- bowl with water
- glue gun
- white cobwebs
- white acrylic paint
- soft paintbrush
1. In this craft, you’ll be gathering Halloween items and found objects to create a spooky Halloween assemblage, like in Niki de Saint Phalle’s Portail de La Mort (see below). A shallow lid from a cardboard box will provide a perfect container for this craft. Remember, the colours of the items you use don’t matter since everything will be painted white in the end, to create an eerie feel for Halloween.
2. Arrange these items in the lid, making sure to cover the bottom well, and glue them down once you’re happy with the layout. Glue guns are great for immediately holding things in place. Try adding a bit of texture by dipping small strips of Plaster of Paris in water, and draping them around the objects. If you are using cobwebs, add them after everything has been painted.
3. Use white acrylic paint and a soft paintbrush to cover everything in white. Make sure you look at every angle so you don’t miss any areas. I recently tried an inexpensive liquid acrylic paint from Dollerama, and it worked perfectly for this purpose. So save the good stuff for when you really need it. Allow to dry, add cobwebs, and enjoy your strange little assemblage decoration for Halloween.