DSC_0013DSC_0017DSC_0016This little altar is my first and one of my favorites.  I hand built this altar using slabs of stoneware clay then fired it in a gas kiln. Between the wall of the altar and the outer back is a space wide enough to hold three small candles or tea lights. I like the tea lights as they do not heat the altar. This space is accessed by removing the three doors on the back wall as seen in picture (3.)  The altar does not go to the ceiling so the light glows over the altar and through the mica covered window over the altar. The side walls each have two window with hanging milagros.   I cut out small round openings on the top and side walls to allow light to escape. The altar measures 6″ tall, 11″ wide and 6″ deep.

I used acrylic paints to achieve the shades and texture I needed. I used high temperature wire to hang the milagros.  The door latches are made of wood.

I often refer to this altar as, “My little altar”, because it is so dear to me. Relaxed alone and in a quiet room I light my little altar and go to my inner self. For me this is important and necessary, it is how I stay grounded and know who I am. This time brings clarity to my life, my work, and provides peace and purpose to my true self. This special time strengthens my inner voice that I need to keep me positive and aware of what is important.

Thank you for stopping by, if I can answer any questions or if you would like to leave a comment, I invite you to do so.   I hope you will come back.

Thank you,



Altar To Honor My Grandfather


In my back yard under a giant shade tree I brought together items that I felt spoke of my dear maternal grandfather.  He was a loving family man of faith, high morals and respected for his honesty and convictions. The cross represents his faith, the fruit represents his great ability to provide for his family, the stone pillars represent his strength, the flowers represent his tenderness and love of beauty.  The photograph reminds us of the handsome man we had the honor of calling, Papa Nino.

I knew my grandfather Alberto, not by his presence but by the loving words and treasured memories spoken by my dear mother, grandmother and all who had known him.  A loving husband, doting father and a pillar of his beloved, Chinipas. Chinipas is a small town nestled in the Sierra Madres of Chihuahua, Mexico.  After my mother passed, my father, several cousins and I had the pleasure of walking its cobblestone streets, hearing the bells of Santa Ines and strolling around the plazita that my mother and father strolled while courting.  Grandfather, known as, Papa Nino by his many grandchildren, raised ten children, established a large store, always helped the poor.  Sixty-five years after his death I still think of him with love and honor the great humanity he gave to those in need. Papa Nino treated the rich and poor with equal respect, he taught his children to do the same.  My mother often repeated his words, “Just because some one has a few more beans to eat does not make them better”.  At this altar we pray that Papa Nino is in a wonderful place with my Mama Nina, my dear mother and all his loved ones.  We thank God for the many treasured memories, his loving deeds and his love of family.

I built this altar anticipating the visit of several cousins from Sonora Mexico.  This was an unexpected and pleasant surprise for them and it presented a time to gather and talk about Papa Nino and all we knew of him.  I started with my favorite story. I was three when he passed but I was told many times of how Papa Nino would lift me on to the store counter and I would dance and sing for him.  The stories went on and on, it was delightful.  This great afternoon brought closeness to our already close family, it was also a great reflection of strength through commitment, values and love.  Those are the treasures our Papa Nino gave his family and it continues to this day.

Thank you for your visit.  If I can answer any questions or if you would like to leave a message, I invite you to do so, I would love to hear from you.  I hope you’ll stop by again.

Thank you,    Brenda


Padre Nuestro Nicho

DSC_0056 2I seem to always begin by saying, “This is one of my favorite pieces”. Each piece seems to have something that qualifies its placement into this category.

I hand built this nicho altar and the figure of Jesus out of stoneware clay.  On the doors I pressed in the, Our Father prayer, in Spanish using pasta letters. The pasta, of course burns away in the kiln.  I stained both with iron oxide stains then fired them in a gas kiln.  Mama Nina taught me this prayer with so much love and patience, I can still hear her sweet soft voice that always made me feel loved and safe.
In the picture below I used candles to aluminate and cast a soft glow with slight movement creating a spiritual calm.
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The picture below shows the window cut-outs in the side walls.  I placed  candles on the outside behind the doors to cast an indirect more diffused  light.  Virgin Mary is bathed in a soft light, only the metal folds of her dress reflects light with more intensity.


Below I replaced the candles with stones to support Jesus.  I like the  versatility of this incho that gives me the option to change the content to fit my needs.  The dimensions are 12 1/2 tall, 14 1/2 wide, 4 1/2 deep.

Thank you for your visit, I hope you will stop by again soon.  If you have any questions or comments please feel free to do, I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you,     Brenda




  1. I built this altar in memory of my father and all the village hunters that were depended on to provide meat for their family.  At the age of ten, living in the Sierra Madre of Mexico, my father was handed a rifle a bullet and his mothers blessings.  The family prayed at thier alter for his safe return and a successful hunt.  They lit candles, set out baskets with beans and rice and antlers from previous animals.  I loved to hear my father tell us stories of his childhood filled with challenges, adventures and dreams.  I find much joy sharing these memories.DSC_0004

Miners Altar

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The dangers of mining were ever present for my great-grandparents as they endeavored to carve out a life in the Sierra Madres of Chihuahua, Mexico. Families built simple altars in their homes where they prayed for their safety and success. I hand built this sculpture of my great-grandfather holding an oil lamp to guide his steps. Clay allows me the freedom to express my personal truths that I hold dear. The freedom to tell my story as I see and feel it. This altar is dedicated to Charles Edwin, my great-grandfather, a man of vision, strength and extraordinary courage.

Remembering Mama Nina, my grandmother

DSC_0059I created this home altar to honor my Mama Nina. A sweet face with a kind smile and a heart filled with enough love for everyone, that was Mama Nina, my grandmother.  She always had her rosary and a prayer book in her hands praying for all of us and praising God.  Mama Nina taught me to pray, to have faith and to love our God.    Mama Nina has long passed but her memory and her words live in my heart.