noelle o designs

creativity + sewing + upcycling inspiration

family, travel

calaveras, bone chapel in Hallstatt Austria

bone chapel Hallstatt Austria
The Bone Chapel in Hallstatt Austria is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. The Hallstatt Austria cemetery is short on space. So, after about 100 years in the ground you get dug up, your family paints your skull, and your skull and other bones that remain go into the bone chapel.

The kids were tired and hungry and getting ready to mutiny when we begged our way into the bone chapel a few minutes after closing time. Jason, tour guide extraordinaire and German speaker- knew we couldn’t go back to Salzburg without making this one last stop. We were all in awe, utterly amazed- there in a little dark room hundreds of skulls were neatly arranged along three of the walls, big bones filled the shelves underneath. It might seem morbid, but standing there- it didn’t feel that way at all. The paintings and designs, the deceased names and dates, sizes and shapes, teeth- I could have stared for hours. Click on the picture below for more pictures of the beautiful mountain village of Hallstatt Austria.


calaveras bone chapel hallstatt austriaI picked up this paper mache skull on Olvera St. in LA this last weekend. I have never been on that street before, Steve O said he used to go there as a child and buy piggy banks- anyway, for me it was love-at-first-sight. A whole street dedicated to Mexican goods, art, and dia del muerto paraphernalia. If you’ve been to my house you know that I am way into Mexican art, especially Day of the Death goods, so- some time on Olvera street was quite a treat.
Steve O spent a few weeks in Oaxaca (said: wa-ha-ka, it took me a while to figure that out) Mexico a few years ago working on Nacho Libre. He came back with lots of great pictures, stories, Day of the Dead goods and wrestling masks. This calavera, about real skull size, is adding to my ever growing collection of Mexican art. I would love a trip to Oaxaca someday (maybe next year for 17 wonderful years…)
Looking at this skull reminds me of good times, with good friends in Austria. Maybe, I’ll keep it up all year and not just for Halloween.


  1. lex

    October 19, 2007 at 3:21 am

    Living out here with all the small cemeteries makes it feel like halloween everyday for me, so I say go for it! 🙂

  2. Gritty Pretty

    October 19, 2007 at 3:31 am

    very very cool painted skulls. i love them! also, Happy 16th!

  3. LindaO

    October 20, 2007 at 12:09 am

    Cool skull! We’re heading to Oaxaca for Christmas this year to visit the in-laws. I’m way excited to see the country side. I hear it’s beautiful.

  4. reamsindenmark

    October 21, 2007 at 9:16 am

    Well I’m glad you liked the “bone yard”! Pretty unique…to bad 1 picture doesn’t describe it. Good times!!

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