Introduction: A Carved and Painted Deer Skull
(Full Disclosure: This was a terrible picture but, honestly, the only one that I thought to take at the time. Thus, the picture has been altered in the following way: I muted the background a little because it was a rather eye-gouging blue. I can post the original if it is deemed necessary for the contest.)
This was a piece that I unintentionally made for a friend of mine.
It started when his dog found a deer skull in the woods and he thought it would be neat if he hung it from the tree behind the house.
He went hunting for a couple of weeks shortly afterward and, being that I was his room mate, I thought I would sneak the skull into the house, bleach it, give it a good cleaning, and then return it as a nice surprise. It seems that other plans were afoot.
(NOTE:If you're going to bleach bone, do what the professionals do and use hydrogen peroxide. I've heard various stories about what will happen if you use chlorine bleach and none of them are good. Standard drug-store peroxide will do just fine.)
After I cleaned it, I held it up and, it's hard to describe, but I suddenly had an image in my mind of it painted and carved, almost exactly as it looks in the picture.
I took it as a sign and for the next few weeks I worked on it whenever I could.
The symbol on the forehead was lightly sketched on with a mechanical pencil and a compass, and then gently cut with a rotary tool. The rest were cut by eye, following what I had initially pictured.
(NOTE:Don't breathe in bone dust. Just don't. Just like with the note on bleach, I've heard all sorts of stories and none of them are good. I used a simple dust mask, but If I had really thought it out, I would have used a proper respirator.)
The spheres and teardrops were made from Fimo modeling clay (classic) and affixed with superglue. I would have used epoxy, but at the time I had to rely on what was at hand. I actually baked the entire thing in the oven before painting it.
The paints used were standard acrylic and the entire piece was given a clear coat with a spray acrylic sealer.
(A note on sealers: Some of them will yellow over time. This one didn't, but I think that's more by chance than design. There are some spray acrylic sealers that will say "non-yellowing" or "won't yellow over time" or even "archival quality". Those are the ones to look for.)
This piece was finished and presented to my friend on Christmas Day and he loved it.
This isn't the sort of thing I'd normally do, but I swear that there was an almost spiritual side that came out while I was working on it. It was really inspired.
If you can dig it, vote for me for the Crafts contest!
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