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The Gemsbok antelope is a large animal originating in South Africa and has striking black markings on a white face and tan body. The long straight horns measure thirty-three inches and provide a spear-like weapon against predators. The colors in the design of this piece represent the beautiful natural markings of the animal and the different hues of brown in their natural desert environment. Beautiful simbricite stones adorn the front of the face and are said to calm the spirit and take away stress. The majesty of the Gemsbok is clearly demonstrated in the hills and plateaus of the skull and the soaring horns that crown the piece. 46.5”L x 13”W x 11.5D
Sculptural mosaic art provides a medium through which I design works that create a new way of seeing natural objects and their beauty. My appreciation of the untamed world is captured through the raw beauty of unaltered animal skulls as the keystone for my art.
There is a lack of symmetry in any skull, and I incorporate that variability, resulting in shifting designs from one side of the skull to the other. The natural curves and contours are what inspire me as I work. Finding the message in the scaffolding of bone is an exciting journey that reinforces my love of mystery and nature. Taking anywhere from 30 hours for a small piece to over 100 hours for a large skull, the intricacies of placing one bead at a time becomes a moving meditation. The uniqueness of each animal is expressed through color and design, which may be symmetrical in one area and more abstract in another as the flow follows the hills and valleys of the animal.
Integrating nontraditional elements into the design allows for the creation of a unique voice for the animal that is at the heart of the piece. Elements can range from stained glass, ceramics and smalti to beads, buttons, shells, vintage jewelry, and other decorative objects. The skull of the animal creates the landscape for the story that is told.
I create with skulls of animals that are found in the United States but also in Africa and other areas of the world. All skulls are ethically sourced and have been purchased from licensed vendors with appropriate permits. Many of the animals that I include have been endangered in the past. Showing the beauty of the skulls through my art can raise interest and advocacy for their protection.