Portfolio of older work

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Melanie Testa in a post named "Research and Personal Development" tells about finding a dead bird, fetching it back to her studio, soaking the flesh from the bones, and saving the skeleton in a ring box.  She did not seem to find that strange at all.  And she didn't mind telling her vast readership that she did that.  I am thrilled.

For years I have collected  bones.  I would never go out and kill anything nor would I treat their remains disrespectfully.  But I do love the bone structures.  A couple of years ago I brought home a fresh road-killed porcupine. I just let it sit at the edge of the woods and let nature take it's course.  Now  I have quills that I have made jewelry with and hope to incorporate into an art quilt.  I have the skull.  From the teeth I know it was an older animal and that porcupines are not carnivores.  I also see the huge sinus area and know that porcupines must have a great sense of smell.  I can identify the shoulder blades, pelvis bones, vertebrae, ribs, and tiny little foot bones.  How marvelous they all are.

This week I came across a fresh road-killed raccoon that has come to reside at my house.  My new dead pet.  I had to carefully stake him out.  The porcupine was not a problem.  No scavengers wanted to wrestle with the quills.  The raccoon, however, would get drug off into the woods for someone's dinner leaving me no bones.  So he is staked out waiting for nature to occur.  I will check it regularly to check its progress and to see what types of insects are currently active.  Overtime the flesh will decay and be returned to the earth in one form or another but the bones will remain. They will tell stories about the life and death of the raccoon.

Yep, me and Melanie.  We see the beauty in bones.


  1. I don't think you will find too many artists that find that at all odd...just think of Georgia Okeeffe! That you have the foresight to do this impresses me!!

  2. You have taken more initiative than I would in your quest for bones. Good for you. I'll bet those skulls would be great to sketch.

  3. Hi Judith,

    Many a skull and bones have been in my house. My husband used to bring them home from his classes in college. I could see the art in the bones, HOWEVER, I am too squeamish to do what you do to get them. You are amazing!!

  4. I must be odd because I can't even imagine doing this! Thank you for not posting pictures. You are more brave than I am!


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