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Orange and black cloths drape the tables and shelves at the Denver Halloween Trunk Show. One cabinet, almost bursting with items, contains the gamut of Halloween characters: black cats with candy-covered bellies, bats with wire wings, and skeletons wearing hats and tuxedos.
For nearly a decade, Denver artist Johanna Parker (pictured, left; read more about her here) has been making these one-of-a-kind folk-art figurines. The statuettes’ vintage appearance comes from Parker’s adoration of antiques and Art Deco style. These are delicate, whimsical characters with wide grins, round eyes, and rosy cheeks. The pieces range from $100 to $1,000, and they each require hours of meticulous carving and painting.
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Parker crafts the figurines 12 at a time. She sometimes starts with a free-hand sketch before sculpting the critters out of papier-mâché and painting them. This laborious process infuses each piece with unique character and charm, that embody the imaginative spirit of Halloween.
Check it out: See Johanna Parker’s collection—and maybe snag a decoration or two—at the 7th Annual Halloween Trunk Show. September 29, noon-6 p.m., Leo’s Garage, 1563 S. Pearl St.
Did you know?: Halloween has always been a favorite holiday for Parker, whose birthday falls on the same day. Growing up, her mother always made the day special with birthday cakes decorated like black cats or paper jack-o’-lanterns and spider webs hung in the windows. Together they made party favors for Parker’s friends by wrapping tissue paper around lollipops to make tiny (edible) ghosts.
—Images courtesy of Johanna Parker