Día de Muertos: Clay Sculpting Workshop Series | Desert Botanical Garden


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Día de Muertos: Clay Sculpting Workshop Series

DATE: Oct. 20 - 23
TIME: Oct. 20 - 21: 5 - 9 p.m. | Oct. 22 - 23: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
PRICE: Members: $160 | General Public: $200


Join internationally-acclaimed Oaxacan artist Rufina Ruiz Lopez for an immersive clay sculpting workshop experience that celebrates the vibrant art history of Día de Muertos. Discover how to incorporate your own life story into the craft of molding natural clay that is culturally significant to the region of Atzompa in Oaxaca, Mexico. This series will be taught by Lopez in Spanish with an interpreter translating class instruction into English.

Over the course of four days, learn about traditional techniques that incorporate connection with nature and family history into the design and creation of an original clay sculpture. Participants will be able to choose a design option that best fits their comfort and skill level.

  • Beginners will be given the option of choosing to create a culturally symbolic design, such as a cross with flowers or a desert plant inspired sculpture.
  • For an intermediate or advanced design, you will be able to create a traditional skull, or calavera, a popular Día de Muertos symbol of life and death.

Don’t miss a special appearance from Kathy Cano-Murillo of Crafty Chica! On the final day of the series, Murillo will present a short crafting demonstration that highlights how the cultural tradition of clay making has evolved and adapted by the Mexicana DIY crafting movement. The class will cover the following schedule:

  • Day 1:
    Conceptualization, connection, and design of clay piece
  • Day 2:
    Kneading of clay and molding of the piece
  • Day 3:
    Polishing and drying
  • Day 4:
    Final design touches and conclusion. Pieces transported for kiln firing.


Sculptures will be transported to be fired at a kiln at the end of the workshop series and will be available for pick-up two weeks after the class at a designated space at the Garden. Pieces will be stored for up to 30 days after pieces are completed. Attendees will be notified via email with instructions.



Yoga at the Garden

April 18, 25 | May 2, 5, 9, 12, 19, 26

Unwind and connect with nature during this memorable Sunset Yoga session, led by local studio Metta Yoga. Together, in a Sonoran desert oasis, we will breathe, stretch and embrace the beauty of the setting sun whilst enjoying the Garden view

Cactus Clubhouse

Oct. 1 - May 12 | Thursday - Sunday | 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Cactus Clubhouse has relocated as the Garden is growing and under construction. Please visit us in our new location in the Weisz Academic Bulding. In this temporary space, kids encounter several activity areas designed to spark independent play, while encouraging physical, cognitive and behavioral growth.

Majestic Mariposas

March 13 - May 12

Don’t miss this living exhibit that features more than a thousand free-flying Southwestern butterflies.

Become a member and get unlimited access all year!


April 17-19 Center for Desert Living Trail will be closed due to construction.
April 20 The Garden will close at 12 p.m., last admission 10:30 a.m.
April 20 Cactus Clubhouse will be closed.