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OU Day of the Dead Features Moonlighting Jewelry Maker

Jewelry maker Yoana Walschap will showcase her naturalist adornments at this year's Day of the Dead festival at OU.

OU’s Annual Day of the Dead street festival is more than a weekend party. It’s an opportunity for students, faculty, staff and the Norman community to revel in and learn about a unique, rich cultural tradition.

Moonlighting jewelry maker Yoana Walschap will be at OU's Day of the Dead event Oct. 31 with her naturalist adornments and love of learning about other cultures. 

The Mexican traditional holiday of Day of the Dead or Dia de Los Muertos is a vibrant day of remembrance that honors friends and family who have passed away. Walschap is one of several artist-venders featured in OU’s own festival that commemorates the folkloric tradition.

Yoana Walschap jewelry

When not busy with roles as director at the Energy Institute of the Americas at OU and study abroad liaison, Walschap designs unique, natural jewelry.  

With multiple roles and even more responsibilities, this jack-of-all-trades still manages to carve out time to attend cultural events like the Day of the Dead festival to sell and display her jewelry to festivalgoers.

Walschap’s jewelry is a celebration of her heritage. Born and raised in Colombia, she ties pieces of her culture into her art. Using materials like seeds and beads from her home country, Walschap crafts necklaces, bracelets and earrings. These trinkets highlight naturalistic beauty of the country that she is inspired by.

“We don’t have (Day of the Dead) in Colombia,” says Walschap, who is also an adviser for the OU Colombian Student Association.

Even though the celebration is not native to her own Hispanic country of origin, she sees the festival as a means of cultural exchange and, most importantly, a learning opportunity.

“The more faculty and students can participate in other cultures, the more they can appreciate different kinds of people and even their own culture,” says Walschap.

To find out how you can participate in Hispanic Cultural events, check out the Hispanic American Student Association site for events and information.

Want to know more about OU's Day of the Dead event? See an overview of OU's celebration of the Mexican holiday here and read about one more artist-vendor, Eleazar Velazquez, here.

Photos courtesy Yoana Walschap.