This piece is made in a late grandfather’s violin (thank you Jeanne and luthier Susan Hopkins for helping me get it/open). This is in the current show at the Smith Healing Gallery in DC – details here. Without saying too much, I love string instruments that have f-holes. This particular violin echoes a coffin, and the figure of Pierrot is trying to make his way to the Land of the Dead. He is constrained by gold thread, held by clergy-like figures. He is also being pulled onward by silver thread, and is trapped between two worlds. I wonder about famous souls who were idolized during their lives (David Bowie, for example), and how the mass grief of a society might effect a transition to, say, the Land of the Dead.
I created two awards for the 2016 Death Salon Film Festival, which takes place this weekend in Texas. This event is hosted by my pals in the Order of the Good Death. Below – the Jury Award and Audience Favorite (What if the same film maker wins BOTH)???
And, just for fun, here are some process photos.
For years, I’ve been bringing dead raccoons home to bury them in a makeshift pet cemetery. It is a nice thing to do for them, and it provides a safe way for me to interact with them.
I recently started a new taxidermy experiment. I’m not so interested in stuffing them at this point (although I would love to own some stuff raccoons), but I AM interested in their bones.
Instead of burying them and reclaiming the bones later, I am trying a new approach, which is to keep them in a cage above ground until they fully decompose.
The photo below is from a few weeks ago. Living in such a rural place has been a big advantage. There is a sad abundance of dead raccoons, and the nearest neighbors are far enough away that smell hasn’t been an issue.
I introduced meal worms to the bodies shown above. Once the bones are exposed, I’ll put them in a box with more meal worms, as they are supposed to rapidly clean the bones. My cage has successfully frustrated visiting vultures and other critters.
I will make 3D scans of my clean bones. I’ll process those scans into .stl files, which I can then print using a MakerBot or similar (as I do with action figures).
I’ll have new, plastic skeletons to use in my work. They can be armatures, charters or sculptures.
Made with a heart shaped altoids box:
I’m very excited to say that I’ll be part of The Dark Artisans’ Bazaar at this year’s Death Salon, which takes place at the Mütter Museum! I’ll have a table with a lot of art and some new surprises. The Death Salon will take place on October 5 & 6, 2015.
The Mütter is located at:
19 S 22nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
As of this writing, tickets are still available.
UPDATE, POST Salon
It was a big trip – the first time I’ve tried having a table somewhere. The introvert in me still enjoyed every moment.
At last, I had Caitlin Doughty write a haiku for me in my copy of Smoke Gets in your Eyes…
There were murder ballads at night. And lots of DEATH BANGS. And, speaking of which, I FINALLY got to have a real life, in person meeting with my pal and fellow Order member Sarah Troop (Nourishing Death and Death and the Maiden, etc.).
The museum itself is fascinating, as is the history of the founder. I had a private tour of the bone room and wet specimen room, and while it’s not a huge place, I want to go back and study the exhibits. There is a great Vesalius exhibit, the wall of 139 skulls and the Soap Lady. A huge amount to read and study.
I love the talks, the people and the Museum. I am very grateful I had the chance to be a part of this.