Cattle skulls have long been a staple of cowboy-kitsch decor, but south of the border these sun-bleached relics are elevated to colorful art pieces by the intricate handiwork of Huichol artisans. Also known as the Wixáritari, this indigenous group from the Sierra Madre Occidental range in the Mexican states of Jalisco, Nayarit, Zacatecas, and Durango is renowned for yarn paintings made using an elaborate process that involves pressing strands of yarn into beeswax. While this technique is traditionally applied to flat boards, designer Brittney Borjeson employs Huichol artists to decorate both ceramic and real dried skulls, which she sells at her Evoke the Spirit boutiques in the boho surf town of Sayulita and the artsy colonial village of San Miguel de Allende.
“There are many valuable things on this planet, but, for me, the most valuable thing is time, because you can never get enough of it,” says Borjeson, a New York transplant. “What I offer [with the skulls] is many hours of my own life and the lives of those committed to this vision.” The skulls strike an artful balance between creation and destruction. Notably, the process begins with a ritualistic blessing that can take three days to complete. “With the skulls,” says Borjeson, “I aim to give someone a beautiful memory—a token of an experience from [the Wixáritari], whose love and time go into each piece.” evokethespirit.com