Category: For Sale – Beaded Skulls & Rustic-Chic Artwork
This is info about rustic artwork, such as beaded skulls, from Untamed Elegance. Owner and artist, Leesa Clark brings out the wild beauty and mystery of nature. For her canvasses she takes stately animal skulls, which some might see as grotesque. Then she transforms them into gorgeous story-telling works of art adorn with semi-precious stones, and an array of colorful beads and ornaments. Each element brings out the beauty and mystery she senses in each piece.
Hunters, huntresses, and hunter’s widows alike enjoy these conversational pieces as an attractive, exotic alternative to traditional taxidermy. Beaded skulls are the perfect “rustic chic” addition to any hunter home decor. Guests cannot help but ask about the stories behind each piece. Questions regarding the thrill of the hunt, the process for making it and how it compliments a home.
View our gallery for beaded skulls available for purchase. Likewise, get inspiration for your own custom piece. Commission skull mount art is available to perfectly suite your space.
Thor is an outstanding non-typical whitetail deer beaded skull art piece. Are you a fan of the Old Norse red-headed god or the golden-haired Thor of Marvel® fame? Either way he speaks of physical and moral strength and power.
At the center of this beaded skull art design are three diamond shapes made of tiny Siam Swarovski® crystals surrounded by Black Onyx fans and teardrops. This large focal center piece is outlined by brecciated jasper and fire-polished faceted jet-black glass beads. Giving the eyes an aura of fierceness are ruby red and opaque black glass beads. And small groups of light Siam flat back, Swarovski® crystal rhinestone called Xirius add unexpected flashes of red. Theses dazzling crystals are named after Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, fitting perfectly with the theme of this majestic beaded skull art piece.
The Making of “Thor”, a whitetail deer beaded skull mount
Cleaning & Clay
This beautiful non-typical whitetail skull came to me in pretty good shape. Only missing common little bones and discolored. He did, however have some odd bone growth between his eyes. Probably from previous wounds. It was obvious from broken tines that he was a fighter! I definitely expected extra work during the clay process.
Despite bone formation on his forehead the clay process did not take any longer than usual. And his antlers cleaned up fairly well.
I learned how heavy that “hammer” on his right antler is. It made the balance awkward and it got by head a couple of times before I sorted out how to place him while working. Not the first Whitetail that has happened with, so no big deal.
Paint and Antlers
I wanted the paint on this skull to have a metallic feel, sort of like armor. But the god of thunder wouldn’t have just any armor. It had to have a little more pizzazz. So first I painted it gold and went over that with a thin layer of metallic bronze. That left the gold peeking through a bit, giving it just a little sparkle. I darkened up the antlers as well as they were still a bit discolored in places and were too light for this color scheme.
Bead Selection and Process
Rather than using one bead as the focal point for this beaded skull art piece, I decided to do something very different. I chose a black onyx “fan” set and teardrops and arranged them the full length down the center of the skull. Then used over 150 tiny Siam Swarovski® biocone crystals to create three diamond shapes inside (not shown here).
This was a complicated design. Therefore, as you can see, I did not try to lay everything out beforehand. I took some measurements and proceeded slowly and meticulously to ensure everything lined up just so.
I also used several unusually shaped beads in this design. Some I knew where I wanted them to fit in, others I let find their place as the designed progressed.
Sealing and Naming
Sealing the antlers gives them a little shine. However, for this beaded skull design I wanted them to appear more rugged so I chose not to use the sealant on them.
I sealed the smaller glass beads but left the onyx and faceted beads natural. The sealant can cause those beads to lose a bit of their luster.
The right side of his gorgeous non-typical antler shape immediately struck me as a “hammer”. I had wanted to use red and black beads on my next skull. Since, in Old Norse Thor is described as red haired it seemed only natural to name him for the hammer-wielding god of thunder. However, in Hollywood he has golden hair. So, adding some gold to his design seemed a good modern compromise and added a nice pop of color.
Legends say Thor is the fierce eyed, iron gloved god of not just storms and lightening but all weather, associated with the protection of mankind and fertility of the land. Strong in character, body and morals Thor is the good guy.
Frozen In Time is a strikingly elegant whitetail buck beaded skull artwork piece. He is a perfect refined addition for sporting and hunting art collections and wildlife decor. He features a faceted diamond shaped Prism, faux Pearls and Swarovski Crystals. The design for this buck was inspired by the White Doe in my personal collection due to reactions to her. I wanted to compliment not copy her. This is a beautiful example of how a male and female set can be commissioned by hunters.
About the Design
The design for this beaded skull artwork piece circles around and flows from the central Prism which shimmers above a silver metallic background. Teardrop and round faux pearls encircle this focal point forming lines and cascades throughout the scheme adding to the sense of elegance. Clear discs add depth and shape to much of the design as well as a glossy, reflective finish to the eyes. While the design as a whole is flowing, the sharp clustered straight-lines of clear Swarovski crystals add a dramatic flair. Black opaque and silver and black faceted beads add color and dramatic texture while white melons and smaller faux pearls create soft graceful flowing lines and drapes. Tiny glossy-white seed beads create sections that shimmer like ice and finally, light radiates off select crystal rhinestones, clear diamond confetti and sliver-lined Rocaille beads.
His antlers would have become very impressive as he aged but Mother Nature took this buck quite young. He emulates not just youth and beauty but the drama and complexity of life as a whole. That commotion and complexity that is ever present in our human existence, as well as the animal kingdom . He brings to mind memories we all have no matter our age. Flashes of instances that stand out for an array of reasons and linger with us like moments “frozen in time”.
Life is beautiful, joyful, dramatic, sad and complex. All along the way it leaves us with moments etched into our minds, “Frozen In Time”. They linger for a reason. May this buck be a reminder to embrace those memories whether pleasant or harsh, not just from our youth but all along life’s path. Learn from them, use them to better ourselves and help those around us.
Continue reading below to see the making of Frozen In Time.
The Making of Frozen In Time, a Whitetail Deer Beaded Skull Artwork Mount.
This whitetail buck required only a light soaking and scrubbing however one of the frontal bones still came lose. It did not actually break off so a soft hand and some Super Glue™ did the trick. His antlers, although slightly discolored were some of the whitest I’ve seen and much of the reason I choose him for this art project. I knew I would paint them in the end but starting off with the color scheme I’d envisioned for him was a plus in my mind.
He started off in good shape, especially the teeth, with the usual seams, holes and rough patches on the skull and around the eyes. Nothing out of the ordinary there to smooth for beading. But I spent extra time building up around the antler bases to use beads to surround them rather than some other material. I also wanted to create a very stable place for the Prism to rest as well as create a slope so the surrounding beads were level at its edges and had a gentle descent into the major design. Those things added extra time in the CLAY process.
Unfortunately, I got ahead of myself and did not take a picture in clay before spraying the inside cavities gray, which always over sprays onto the skull surface so that picture looked terribly unattractive. My mistake. So, this pic is him after both clay and paint.
Bead Selection and Beading
As the White Doe was my inspiration for this buck, my bead selection was based off the beads I’d used for her. I wanted him to be compatible with her style but still unique. Though they will not be sold as a pair I wanted to show how a male and female (of any species) could be commissioned together for a “His and Hers” extremely classy and elegant taxidermy alternative.
She has been likened to a diamond in the rough or a snowflake and, at the beginning I imagined he might bring to mind the same sorts of things, just in perhaps a more aggressive, masculine sense. Therefore, there were a few pluses and minuses made to the bead arrangement. However, as I worked with this young buck his personality began to show through, directing parts of the design I had not completely envisioned.
Of all the bead alterations I feel the elegant Swarovski Crystals make the most dramatic statement, their stark straight-line clusters adding a more dramatic feel.
He came together effortlessly; everything just fell into place. He was a complete delight to work with, other than the short periods working between his very tight rack which was an “angular” challenge.
I have been wanting to try some sealant options and this white and clear bead design was the perfect opportunity to do so. I created a “test” skull and tried several products to look for any yellowing, discoloration or clouding. After a couple of weeks in a relatively sunny spot my choice was obvious. Taking the time to do the test was a wise decision and I am very happy with the result.
His name came about as his design progressed and working with him gave his own aspirations. Rather than diamonds and snowflakes like the White Doe, he presented something deeper. He spoke of desires, hopes, playfulness, recklessness as well as the stubbornness of youth.
As his design played out it seemed to represent recollections of life, like passing waves in time, or the many possible changes of direction life branches out into. That he was white and silver made the idea of being “frozen” jump out. Like those moments we cannot help but remember as if yesterday, he is “Frozen In Time”.
Mysterious is an artful rustic-chic style taxidermy alternative of a whitetail deer buck. He features an understated neutral palette with subtle intricate details that unfold with closer observation. Just as it’s name implies, Mysterious is never obvious or simplistic.
Inspired by a brown and gray agate slice encircled with gold metallic, grey Czech, and brown seed beads flow down and around its center, their movement splitting around the lovely agate centerpiece. Dark brown and smoky black are added to brown and gray patchwork areas, some more delicate than others adding depth and contrast defined by lines of gold. Natural blue labradorite with a chatoyant grey-blue flash outline the outer eyes and sides while natural jute encases his antlers. Two bronze diamond faceted beads at the back and fore enhance the central line of the design. Faceted barrel beads of natural Botswana Agate, running up and down the center are as important to the design as the central Agate slice itself. His sleek design and neutral colors are a perfect example of a rustic-chic taxidermy alternative.
Metaphysically these stones are thought to help with attentiveness to detail, consistency, perseverance, and stimulating exploration of the unknown. The colors, lines, curves and details of Mysterious provoke different images and thoughts for everyone. Are the metaphysical attributes of Agate real? This is a mystery for you to decide.
Continue reading below to see the making of Mysterious.
This whitetail buck required quite a bit of cleaning. He had obviously sat out in nature for some time before being taken in. Both nasal bones were fortunately still with him (barely) although they inevitably fell off during this process. The even light coloration of his antlers both impressed and mystified me. I haven’t seen that often, especially in a buck in his condition.
I initially considered leaving his upper nasal bones off, as I did with Ancient Warrior but that didn’t seem to suit this piece. During this part of the process I lovingly nick-named him “Topsy Tervy”. His skull was so light and antlers so heavy that he constantly tipped over without support. I fell in love with the shape of his antlers. But those antlers gave me quite a few “love taps” on the head! Along the way of the clay process he became more and more stable, especially after reintroducing the nasal bones.
I chose a very pale gray for this piece in order to keep with his neutral color scheme. I liked that the color was very close to the that of the natural skull tone. Staying with that theme, the jute used around his antler bases was also kept natural.
Bead Selection and Beading
Oops! I was so excited about this bead work layout and how well it came together that I forgot to take any pictures of the process! I was already to this stage when I finally remembered. But I do think it is a good example of the process underway.
At first, working with this skull and these beads I had thoughts of a dry riverbed or a rivers edge. But the central flowing line seemed like a path or was it a map? The night I finished beading him I showed my husband. He held him, turning him this way and then that to take everything in. Finally he said, “He looks so…mysterious.” I got goose bumps and my mouth fell open! Of course! Mysterious he is.
Blue Moon Shadow is a regal Whitetail beaded skull art mount. Sparkling tiny crystals and a dark blue metallic finish coat the hand-cut rough-face druzy agate centerpiece. Czech diamond-shaped bronze beads encompass the centerpiece’s rustic trim.
From there this Whitetail beaded skull art design transitions into a diamond shape that consists of bronze faceted, navy seed beads, blue Swaroski crystals, and Swaroski dark lapis pearls. In essence, Blue Moon Shadow mimics the dynamic night sky. As the pattern morphs from the center, its colors remain consistent, but with larger dark blue rainbow, sapphire rainbow, gold, and black smoke seed beads. Finally, hand-painted royal blue jute dress the base of his antlers.
With his deep hues, sparkles, and graceful form, Blue Moon Shadow conjures up many feelings, thoughts, and inspirations. What does the Blue Moon Shadow speak to you?
Continue reading below to see the making of Mysterious.
The Making of Blue Moon Shadow, a Whitetail Beaded Skull
This lovely skull came to me with his left nasal bone missing. I soaked and scrubbed as normal and then had to face this obstacle. Should I break off the right bone or take on the challenge of recreating the left? And then there was the odd coloration lines on his antlers. I’m guessing this skull was boiled rather than the more natural beetle process of cleaning though I can not say that for certain. Either way, both the nasal bone and antlers would be faced in other parts of the process.
I just could not bring myself to remove the right nasal bone and so took on the challenge of recreating the left. Being the first time I’d attempted such a reconstruction I was pleased with the outcome.
For some reason I felt very passionate about this skull. It was not the antlers that struck me but the skull itself. I had not even started to bead him and he was already my favorite so far in my skull art journey.
Painting the Antlers
Normally, if I’m going to paint the antlers I do it as part of the painting process. Sometimes I even wait until the beads are complete to have a better idea what shade works well with the design coloration. But I couldn’t get past the discoloration lines and decided to paint the antlers even before I’d chosen beads for him. A little out of order but I was never sorry about the decision.
I had originally intended to use the gray agate slice on this skull and this blue druzy agate on another. However neither would sit right on the skulls. So I tried switching them and…Voila!
Now that I knew he wished to be blue, I set out laying out the initial design. It became obvious early on that rather than having a larger area laid out, this design idea was one I just had to go for and allow to evolve.
To enhance this particular Whitetail beaded skull design, I painted him the same deep blue of the druzy agate centerpiece.
After cutting the jute for his antler bases I felt like the natural color would detract from the design. So I painted it deep blue as well.
I hadn’t even finished beading the center design when I knew his name. Blue Moon Shadow. He’s like a gentle night in the woods with the moon peaking between the tree limbs and stars twinkling in the dark sky. He surrounds you with blue-black shadows and pinprick sparkles. I love it when someone sees him in person and comments with amazement how some of the tiny beads sparkle and look like stars. Confirmation that the design conveys the right message and his name is very fitting.
Grand Chaos is a fun and fascinating Steampunk beaded deer skull art piece. A copper color scheme, wires, tubes and gears in addition to leather inserts further his classic mechanical Steampunk vibe. With this genre in mind he sports a movable monocle covering a glass tube “eye” connected to gears by copper wires.
Brown leather surrounds the base of his antlers enhancing the “wild west” flare. Likewise aged copper inserts, hinges and a keyhole, as well as the classic skeleton key continue the Steampunk theme. His mechanisms are intricately designed from a combination of gear focals, tiny watch parts, screws and antique brass and copper plated beads.
Everything about this Steampunk beaded deer skull leaves to the imagination the purpose of each gear and how it all works.
Continue reading below to see the making of Grand Chaos.
I’ve dedicated this Steampunk beaded deer skull piece to Benj Spencer from Pixel Ink Frame as he suggested the Steampunk art idea while working on my logo and website.
I love Steampunk and immediately knew which deer skull in my current inventory I wanted to use. The fact that he is a smaller skull with a damaged tine and missing teeth made him just the sort of rogue I envisioned for this piece.
Benj is so creative and I had several insights working with this buck. I am grateful for the journey I have had with them both.
The Making of Grand Chaos, Steampunk Beaded Deer Skull
I have no pics of Grand Chaos prior to the clay stage due to the frantic pace this piece started with including the mid-holiday season, out-of-town family coming and preparing for my first photo shoot. In hindsight I should have already had a clue to his “name”. I wish I had taken pics of his initial rugged state.
The majority of clay work on this whitetail buck skull was nothing out of the ordinary, until it came to his underside. Although it will rarely be seen, it was so deteriorated and split it degraded the integrity of the entire piece. His left upper nasal bone was broken off but this is not unusual and I reattached it with glue and clay.
On this Steampunk deer I wanted to try a new copper sheeting as well as a different type of paint available in the perfect copper color. I mean, what could go wrong using two new elements in a time crunch? And also starting with a totally different focal point design? Initially the paint and copper did not agree with my glue at all. However, after some practice I did manage to get them to all play nicely together.
While all of the Steampunk mechanisms were important to this design the eye was the key. Specifically the mechanical connections and monocle were the true focal point of this piece. Starting the design around an eye rather than the center of the skull was also a new idea for me.
I had no time to physically layout the complicated design on the buck skull due to the photo shoot. Instead I started with the simpler design on the opposite eye. Indeed, everything about his beginning felt very chaotic. All the same, it all came together beautifully and was a lot of fun to create.
Although the beading design I’d envisioned was not complete, for several reasons I stopped and sent photos to Benj for the site.
However, having seen all my other pieces he questioned some things about this one. I had not finished my vision and it showed. And so I replied:
“Since it is so different than my other pieces I got off track early by rushing with new materials for the photo shoot and then asking too many people for their opinions. I always show them to people throughout the process but with this one I started listening to people rather than the deer. I plan to finish the design the way I had originally planned, unless the buck has other ideas. Thanks for getting me back on track with my own art.”
The remainder of the design and coloring his antlers fell right into place. All that was left was a name and for the first time I struggled with naming a piece. I even resorted to looking up Victorian era and Steampunk phrases. Nothing fit. In honor of Benj Spencer I considered naming him “Benjo”, Victorian sailor slang for “A riotous holiday”. But, even though the era and meaning were spot on, this whitetail deer didn’t strike me as a sailor.
And so I sat down with him, considering our chaotic journey together as well as how beautiful he’d turned out. And I realized his name had been right there the entire time: Grand Chaos!