Monday, December 9, 2013

European Skull Mounts

Here's my latest project, one that I wanted to do for years but couldn't come by a European mounted deer skull. I live in a family of hunters, so you'd think this wouldn't be such a big deal, but the process to get the clean skull is an arduous one, and you won't find skulls or antlers lying around in the woods because varmints will eat them completely in a year's time. Then my son mentioned that he had one lying in a shed (one that he had boiled and stripped himself) that I could have! Long story short, my husband almost immediately came up with a second one, an embarrassment of riches for sure.

I could have taken photos of my progress over a couple of months (yes, it's labor intensive), but sticking mosaics and crystals onto a surface is pretty straight forward stuff. The hard part is narrowing down the bazillion choices of what materials to use and then having the patience to stick with it. A little tip that I happened on by trial and error for handling the crystals, is to take a small piece of beeswax and use it as a tool to pick them up and set onto the glued surface. It works perfectly, unlike the "tools" you can buy for the same job. I tackled the first skull (from my husband) and gold leafed the antlers, then began gluing shiny shell fragments I already had to it and then grouted it with white grout. Those antlers look spectacular and shine even better since I brushed a sealant onto them.

The second one, I silver leafed the antlers and then started with what I imagined to be a goodly amount of genuine Swarovski crystals. They're nice crystals, a tad pricey, and shine like no other, but lemme tell you, they don't go very far, even the larger ones. I reordered a ton of crystals in multiple sizes, three times! So needless to say, this skull is an expensive wall decoration, but I was committed and wasn't about to go cheap and use any other crystals. The silver antlers have been sealed, too, and look as if they're made of sterling silver.

I didn't want a lot of embellishments on them. I put a big dragonfly broach and a few pieces of turquoise on the golden buck; a sparkly, vintage choker necklace I picked up years ago at a yard sale made a nice addition to the silver buck. I'm really happy with the results; they're both more beautiful than the pictures show. The shell mosaiced one has tribal look to it, and the crystal skull is nothing short of fantastic, but it's the hardest one to photograph.

I plan to hang them over the mantle, and I ordered 2 hooks made just for mounting deer skulls. Hubby had a board of aged barn wood that he cut into two pieces, and I faux aged them a little more with streaks of acrylic paint that I mixed (antique white + black). Finishing a project is always a little sad, like finishing a good book, but I'll find my next art victims soon. This icy winter weather is perfect for sitting indoors and creating. Thanks for stopping by. Regards, Cat

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