Bones and vertebrae transformed into stunning pieces of fine design
Death can be unnerving for some, but Kate Gilliland is definitely not one of those people. Her latest collection of jewelry is made from the bones of tiny deceased animals, which she is quick to point out were already dead when she came across them. Not only are the pieces beautiful pieces of jewelry, each of them comes imbued with the unspoken story which is unique to each of the different animals.
While the bones form the foundations of her designs, many of them are also plated in silver or precious metals to add to their value, and increase their lifespan. The original designs were inspired by the bones and vertebrae found in some owl pellets brought to her by a friend. These days, she just takes what she can find while living her daily life. Some of which include a mouse from her boyfriend’s bathroom, a dead frog found by her friend in the par, and a group of dead crabs found on the beach in Wales.
In an interview with the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists (RBSA), Kate describes how her love of collecting things intersected with a passion for nature to get her where she is now:
I have always picked up various little bits and pieces I considered treasures that perhaps may seem unusual to others. I like the notion that I can combine a widely thought of symbol of preciousness such as jewellery and what I consider some of the most beautiful and most raw parts of nature.
While some people might be uncomfortable with the idea of wearing pieces of dead animal as jewelry, it’s worth noting that we do exactly that with certain items of clothing. The only difference is we can’t tell that leather is part of a dead cow, or that the fur lining on our coat used to keep a little critter warm. At least with Kate’s jewelry, you would be making use of more than just an animal’s skin while reducing the amount of waste that’s created in the process.
To finish things off, here’s a quote from the designer’s website:
Kate’s Jewellery designs preserve a little piece of the past for the future, each delicate piece sparks your imagination with fantastical tales. She encourages you to see the tiny detail and beauty in these beautiful little animals.
Images by Kate Gilliland