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Meet the Artist

Behind the Sugar Skull Skillet: Meet Lourdes Villagómez

By: Lodge Cast Iron / August 19, 2022

In honor of Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, we partnered with Mexico City-based artist Lourdes Villagómez to create a special edition Sugar Skull Skillet and Xolo Dog Griddle. Lourdes makes work that is bright, bold, and full of references to her favorite cultural traditions. Whether you celebrate the holiday or simply want to learn more, follow along as Lourdes shares more about her art and her love of Day of the Dead festivities.

Lourdes Villagómez
Lourdes Villagómez Logo

Lourdes Villagómez is a contemporary artist known for her bright use of color, bold acrylic paintings, and beautifully decorated skulls. She has shown her work in New York, Italy, and across Mexico City and was highlighted as one of Mexico’s most promising new artists in 2016. 

Last year, we partnered with Lourdes to create a collectible skillet that commemorates the history, story, and traditions associated with Day of the Dead across Mexico. And this year, we’ve added a Xolo Dog Griddle to the collection. Lourdes shares that her goal with both pieces was to bring the traditions of the holiday to people everywhere, highlighting it in a new way to represent a part of her culture that many never see.

Lourdes Villagómez Process Work
Lourdes Villagómez Process Work

“What I really want to communicate is the roots of my country. We have amazing food, traditions, and celebrations,” she says. “[Day of the Dead] is my favorite celebration in Mexico and it’s a very important one for all Mexicans.”

Each year, Day of the Dead is celebrated across Mexico on November 1 and 2. During this special time of year, people remember family and friends who have died by making their favorite foods, exchanging edible sugar skulls, decorating with marigolds, and sharing memories of their lives. 

“We Mexicans believe that for two days, our dead are able to come back to us,” Lourdes says. “We work for days—this time is wonderful. We create offerings and shrines to our loved ones who have passed away. We leave them food or drinks that they used to enjoy while they were alive. And for those two days, we have them with us—enjoying their memory, talking about them, laughing about our experiences with them.”

“Mexico is a country full of tradition and roots and it’s worth it to know about these stories...”

“Mexico is a country full of tradition and roots and it’s worth it to know about these stories,” Lourdes says. “Before Mexico was Mexico, Day of the Dead was celebrated in different areas and parts of Central and South America, and each group celebrated in different ways. Every kind of culture had a specific kind of celebration, and it’s really interesting to know about, to learn about this history.”

Lourdes loves the colorful sugar skulls exchanged at the holiday and wanted to create a piece of art honoring the tradition. The sugar skull illustration on the skillet captures the edible gifts that many people decorate and exchange for Day of the Dead. Rather than being a reminder of loss, the skulls bring color, fun, and sweetness to a celebration of those we have known and loved. “The skull has different meanings for me. One is remembering the Day of the Dead,” says Lourdes. “But whenever I am [painting] a skull, I also think about the fact that what we all have in common is that we are going to die eventually. And we have to appreciate life while we have it. I need to make the best of my days here, while I can. We all do.”

Traditionally, marigolds are used to guide the dead back to their families and friends, and are hung over shrines, archways, and tombs, so Lourdes included them in her illustration, as well. Finally, the skull design is surrounded by a ceramic pattern made famous in Puebla, Mexico, a city where Day of the Dead is a big celebration.

This Sugar Skull Skillet is a reminder to celebrate the richness of life and to hold onto stories from the past. “It’s not about crying,” Lourdes says. “We are sad, of course, but during these two days we are able to have a connection with our loved ones and we celebrate that. [On Day of the Dead], we can remember someone that we’ve lost with love and happiness, and we can celebrate that we had the chance to know them.”

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Contributed By: Lodge Cast Iron

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