Alter

Michael Ely
Submitted by Michael Ely March 22nd, 2011
Certifikitsch Winner
This is my alter. The alter cabinet was built by an artist friend (Lane Patterson) out old old barn and fence wood that he picked up while traveling thru farm country in Illinois. From the top spiral to the bottom, it is 3 and 1/2 feet tall and 1 foot, 22 inches across. It contains four selves.
This is with the alter door open. The little pieces of white paper hanging in the center are fortune cookie fortunes I have received over the years eating in Chinese restaurants.
I am not a religious person at all, but I am fascinated by religious symbols (I also have a Hindu alter). The flowers are Mexican paper flowers and the candles are gardenia scented.
This is a vintage nun doll.
The nun doll’s head appears to be made out of paper-mache and the body is made of cloth.
These are Day of the Dead figures (very popular here in Tucson), and the snow-globe contains red glitter, the little red skull is a vintage Cracker Jack charm, and I won the hanging devil’s head with the rhinestone eye at a carnival booth at the old Long Beach Pike back in the 70’s, and if you look in the far right corner, you will see two of my wisdom teeth. Yes, that’s two of my very own wisdom teeth pulled back in the late 80’s. I figured because they contain my wisdom, I better keep them somewhere! I ain’t too smart without ’em!
The “Mystic Seer” is a replica of a fortune teller machine featured in an episode of “The Twilight Zone” staring a young William Shatner. It is one of my favorite episodes.
Here are a  couple of little saint statues (designed to sit on atop a car dashboard) that I bought at the beautiful San Xavier Mission (also known as the White Dove Mission) here in Tucson, along with some old Mexican coins, a bottle cap from my favorite beer, and a vial of patchouli oil given to me by my partner when we first met nearly 40 years ago. You can’t see her very good in this photo, but there is also a nun squeak toy. The red AIDS ribbon is in memory of all the dear friends we have lost over the years.Last, but not least, here is a very, very old holy water bottle. Also a holy metal I received when I was baptized as a little boy.

9 Responses to “Alter”

  1. Allee Willis

    Allee Willis

    Love the fortune cookie fortunes touch. They work excellent as fringe. Also nice that your wisdom teeth have made an appearance. They deserve a place on your altar. I love how much care you take of your altar and how much each item means you personally. And the altar itself is beautiful, not to mention each and every item and your excellent descriptions. And, of course, love that Mystic Seer has made an appearance.

  2. Michael Ely

    Michael Ely

    btw, Looking at this alter, you might guess I was raised Catholic, but I was not. I was raised Lutheran (which is one step removed from Catholicism). However, my Jewish friends tell me that I am really Jewish at heart.

  3. shirlie williams

    shirlie williams

    Oh Michael I just love this…I have the Infant of Prague ,top shelf and dropped him, I need to glue his hand back on. The teeth ,brilliant, I have some of my daughters in a bag !!
    This just ticks all my boxes and is just full of gorgeousness.

  4. BRBill

    BRBill

    Very nice, detailed and elaborate Michael. I like this a lot. I’ve had many candles over the years and must search for more soon.

    • Michael Ely

      Michael Ely

      OMG, Doug, that fortune teller / napkin holder is sooooo cool! Even more cool that it still contained the fortunes! Seems I’ve missed a lot of cool stuff here. One day I’m going to go back and look at everything I’ve missed. You in particular have shared so many awesome things. I still can’t get over your collection of vintage noisemakers.