Working on Piñatas: Nature’s Egg

In the summer of 2018 I’ll be teaching several adults-only workshops on making and decorating tabletop piñatas.  The first four classes are called “Monumental Piñatas” events (because they’re based on creatures and plants found in the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument), and the last two classes art called “Art/Nature Fusion” events. All of the classes are two-day workshops (on two consecutive Saturdays) during which I teach participants how to build their own piñatas “from the balloons up”, and then teach them how to decorate them. One workshop encourages participants to come with their own idea for a piñata, and the other one focuses on an “Evergreen Santa” piñata.

I’m volunteering my time for these workshops, and all of the proceeds from the ticket sales will go to support Tuleyome’s Certified California Naturalist program.

Before the classes start, however, I needed to create the sample piñatas to use for advertising purposes.  This one is the “Nature’s Egg”.

This “egg” form is covered using a variety of techniques, and displays some of my favorite plants and critters: an oak tree, California Poppies, a water feature with a rock that has a tiny Pond Turtle sitting on it, Pipevine, Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillars, eggs and butterflies, wildflowers (Baby Blue Eyes, Tidy Tips, Hawksbeard, and wild onions),  some Turkey Vultures, a little bit of jelly fungus and lichen.

Like all of the piñatas I create, the Nature’s Egg doesn’t need to be smashed to get to the goodies inside of it.  Instead, a cap on the top of the piñata  can be removed to fill it up and empty it out.  The sample was finished in early October… and there’s what it looks like.

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Just about everything about the piñata is made of recyclable, biodegradable materials. The form is made of recycled newsprint paper, flour, salt and water and is built up around balloons (which are popped and properly disposed of once the form dries).  The exterior is decorated with tissue paper, light poster board, art paper, construction paper, and water-soluble glue.

If you would like me to do a workshop for your nonprofit, business or group, please contact me at

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Mary K. Hanson is a breast cancer survivor who, at age 61, took coursework to become a Certified California Naturalist. The author of “The Chubby Woman’s Walkabout”™ blog, Ms. Hanson has also written nature-based feature articles published in regional newspapers, authored over ten books, including her "Cool Stuff Along the American" series of guide books, and has had her photographs featured in books, articles, calendars, on the American River Parkway Foundation’s Instagram stream, and even the White House blog. This year Ms. Hanson is helping to launch and teach a new Certified California Naturalist course through Tuleyome, in partnership with the University of California and the Woodland Library, so members of the public can themselves become certified as naturalists in the state. All of the photos seen on her website were taken by Ms. Hanson herself (unless noted otherwise) with moderate- to low-end photographic equipment more easily affordable to the everyday nature enthusiast. She also occasionally leads photo-walks through the American River Bend Park for the public and is sometimes available for public speaking.