All my life I've been fascinated by bones. Oh not a sick weird, strange, fascination, but a curious fascination.
I live in a very wooded area and nature has its cycle. A deer is killed by coyotes and a skull and some scattered bones are left to find.
I sometimes pick up the skull and bring it home. Finding sheds is a huge 'sport' of sorts around here too. Many folks I know hunt antler 'sheds' and sell the antlers.
I collect them.
I wasn't sure for a long time what I was going to do with my pile of magnificent sheds and skulls. I just piled them next to the out house and took the nicer looking ones and put them on the side of the building.
Then I started to think of things I could 'do' with the skulls. I started with small raccoon skulls I'd found over the years. They were in pretty good shape and not too difficult to handle. Easy to wash and since they were old, all I had to clean up was mostly collected old leaves and dirt in them.
The first one's I did were around Christmas time. As experiments, I thought they came out pretty cool.
In fact I showed one to my mom who is nearly 81 and she loved it. I asked her if she wanted it and she immediately put it on a shelf for display.
I painted a black one with gold highlights for my youngest son and put gold 'gems' on it. He thought it was awesome.
I moved on to one of my rather decrepit deer skulls that I'd found laying in the woods. The mice had been at it quite heavily and at the time I thought it wasn't worth bringing home.
Well I think it turned out pretty neat for such a beat up thing.
Then I took a rather nice one that I had and painted the skull white after sealing the cracks with glue and gluing the teeth back in that were loose.
I didn't have the heart to do anything else but preserve this skull as it must have belonged to a magnificent young buck.
After dealing with white as a base for the skulls, I wondered what it would be like to have one look primitive or more natural...or even antique.
So I stained and old doe skull rubbing the stain in and wiping it off until I got the effect I desired.
This is probably in some ways my favorite after I painted the 'line' drawing of a deer on it.
I did some reading up on what to do with weathered antlers and came up with my own idea.
This was a broken up antler with the ends broken off. It was scarred and chewed. So I used the same method as before to add a bit of wood like stain to it. I liked it because it brings out the weathering and the cracks in the antler.
I didn't want to fill the cracks with wood putty and try and reconstruct the antler, I wanted it as I found it. Cracked and imperfect as mother nature made it.
I intend on finishing a couple of more of these wayward antlers and mounting them on a board with the tines up. They will adorn the space above the new windows and hold white lights [you know, the Christmas kind]. Or they will become hangers, or curtain holders.
I may even take my group of antlers and construct a lamp base out of it.
And then there is my prize possession. A complete coyote skull. I just preserved it in its natural bone color.
I have another very old skull that is full of lichen and moss. The skull is badly damaged and the old oddly shaped antlers have been chewed on. But it looks like it will be a nice challenge.
And it is shed hunting season again. The bucks start to drop their antlers about now and it just gives me another reason to walk trails and look for more odd things.
Maybe I'll find some cool bones.