Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Saving the Dead 1

These couple weeks I am finishing up numerous projects, and will put them up on my website soon. But of course, I have not forgotten...

I realized that it has almost been a year since I picked up my first dead. My busy schedule has pushed the end of this experiment for a little longer than I wished. But finally, I am another step towards closure for the bird and mouse.

One container filled partway with bleach, and another container filled partway with linseed oil, a few paper towels, gloves, and I am all set to go. The animals were dropped into first the bleach, to break down the dried flesh, and then their parts were dropped into the oil to seal and harden the bones, and to stop the bleach from breaking down the bones further. Sounds easy right?

First lesson learned: I need to pay attention. Duh. Pay attention when dealing with more than one animal. Unless you are an expert at bone identification pertaining to animal species, do not drop two different animals into one container.

Second lesson learned: Regularly turn the animals as they float in the bleach. Because they float, one side of their bodies would break down, and the other side would remained unchanged. Uneven flesh being worn away results in uneven bone erosion which results in lost bones. This was a mistake I made with the bird, and that resulted in a bird skull that disintegrated on one side and left the other side crumbling. Hence, no bird skull, and only the beak. :-(

Third lesson learned: I knew that the small bones would be a pain in the ass to salvage, but unless you have the necessary tools, it is nearly impossible to get any bones out in one whole piece. The bleach broke down thin areas too fast and the bone became soft as wet paper, tearing easily. So maybe starting out small for this type of project is not the wisest decision.

So, to start my collection, I have a pair of bird legs, a bird beak, and a mouse skull with the back missing. The back missing from the mouse skull is not a total loss, as I can see the inside skeletal structures.

Now all I have left to do is to find a display box. Then I can put this aside and move on to other animals.

And, to add to my accidental collection of dove eggs, two new abandoned little ones, now housed in my ugly sculpture.


  1. you should make a creepy morbid little video!! All you need is windows movie maker it will be so awesome it will make my anchestors cry T^T

  2. Super creepy, but glad you're creepily doing what you love! Good luck on your future skeletal finds!

  3. So cooooool! The bird cage is nice too, very witty.

  4. Thanks!
    Maybe I will make a video one day... for those strange folks who want to watch me deal with the dead ha ha!

  5. I wanna see the video please.