Beaded Skull: Stormy Knight

Commissioned beaded skull art piece: Stormy Knight
Beaded skull: Stormy Knight

Beaded skull: Stormy Knight is a large non-typical whitetail buck. He is the second in a trio of whitetail deer skulls I have been commissioned to revive with beaded skull art.

It took a while to find a name for him. The central beaded skull art design reminded me of a hurricane, so I knew Storm had to be part of it. I had wanted to do this type of spiral for some time and it suited is dimensions perfectly.

The Clay Process

This commissioned whitetail skull came to me missing much of his frontal bones. And after final cleaning the remaining nasal cartilage was completely unstable and much simply fell away. Therefore a lot of time was spent carefully reconstructing this area with wire and clay. This process was time consuming and complicated, as was the beaded skull art design I chose. However, he turned out to be the easiest whitetail deer skull to work with I have thus far encountered.

The Design for Beaded skull: Stormy Knight

I had been waiting for the right skull to do a spiral design on. The width of this whitetail’s skull suited this just right. I wanted to pull in some of the beaded art design elements from The Boss, it’s commissioned partner piece, to make this beaded skull compatible for display with that first piece. Because of that, this was again a much more symmetrical design than is my norm.

Where The Boss is chocolate and dark berry, Stormy Knight’s coloration suits his name using black and shades of ruby red. The round black onyx bead at the center and black onyx fan set encompassing the spirals emphasize the spiral pattern. Metallic faceted silver beads mimic streaks of lightening near the center while bright silver on the side edges evoke a “silver lining” after the storm. Black and dark red Swarovski bicone crystals are used generously throughout the design. And red flat back Swarovski’s bring a random flash of intense color. Oval Riverstone replace the Jasper used on the previous skull while some straight lines and diamond shapes were incorporated here to coordinate the two commissioned beaded art skulls.

I personally love a stormy night. Perhaps that’s why this skull, despite it’s dramatic features and detail oriented beaded skull art design, came together with no obstacles other than time. And I was very happy to do what it took to wait out this Stormy Knight.

If you have your own skull, European, or shield mount, whatever the species, Leesa can craft it into a treasured one-of-a-kind artwork centerpiece for you. Contact her at Leesa@UntamedElegance.net or 616.422.2342.

Commissioned Beaded Skull Art

The Boss is a commissioned beadeds skull art piece.

The Boss

The Boss, a commissioned whitetail beaded skull art piece.

The Boss is a large non-typical whitetail buck. He is the first in a trio of whitetail deer I have been commissioned to revive with beaded skull art.

He is the largest of the three and by far the longest whitetail deer skull I have had the honor of working with. And in the images below, you can see the large mass of bone between his antlers, which reminded me of a buffalo boss. For those two reasons he got his name as soon as he came to me.

The Clay Process

This skull required extra time in the clay process due to that “boss” and several other smaller areas like it, as well as large gaps in the skull structure. I actually had to enlist my husband to file down a bit of the area between the antlers because it was so high on one side, making him very lopsided. However, once the clay was complete, he became much more staple. Can you imagine carry so much extra weight on one side of your head?

The Beaded Skull Art Design

The intricacy of the design also added more time to complete this commissioned beaded skull art piece. My designs are not normally so symmetrical, because skulls are not symmetrical…plus I just love flowing lines. Therefore this type of design is more challenging. However the central design lead the way in the overall scheme and more symmetry felt right. Although the design was tricky and some hard-to-get-to areas around the antlers and back of the eyes were taxing, all in all, considering he is The Boss, he was otherwise quite cooperative.

The length of this skull allowed for an exceptionally large center piece, featuring 3 red carnelian fan sets along with red magma and mocca Swarovski bicone crystals. While gold seed beads give a touch of classy definition the brecciated Jasper brings together the dark berry, deep chocolate and bronze color scheme of this beaded skull design.

Red carnelian is said to represent self-confidence, fearlessness and courage. Although this gemstone was not chosen because of these qualities it certainly is a perfect fit for The Boss.

If you have your own skull, European, or shield mount, whatever the species, Leesa can craft it into a treasured one-of-a-kind artwork centerpiece for you. Contact her at Leesa@UntamedElegance.net or 616.422.2342.

Thor

Front view of Thor, a whitetail deer beaded skull art piece.
Front view of Thor, a whitetail deer beaded skull art piece.
“Thor” a whitetail deer beaded skull art piece.

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.

Continue reading below to see the making of Thor.
Thor

is available for purchase for
$
3150
  • Dimensions:
    29.5″ w × 25″ l × 23.5″ h

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.

Beginning of beaded skull art process
The forehead area was going to need some extra clay work.
Whitetail skull in clay ready for beading process.
Antlers cleaned and clay complete.

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.

Thor painted and ready for beading
Thor painted and ready for beading.

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.

A large focal point design was used.
A large focal point design was used.

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.

Top view of finished whitetail deer beaded skull artwork, "Thor".
“Thor” and his Hammer.

Keepsake Beaded Skull Art

Devon's Legacy beaded deer skull art.

Devon’s Legacy

Devon's Legacy, a whitetail buck keepsake beaded skull art work.
Whitetail deer beaded skull artwork created in memory of Devon Kurzhals.

This is not a large whitetail deer however; he is a VERY important one. This buck is in memory of Devon Kurzhals who was a very loved young man who was taken from this world too soon. Therefore, it was my great honor to create this one-of-a-kind keepsake beaded skull art piece for this wonderful, loving family.

Devon liked aquatic colors and his Grandma Jean loves turquoise so blending the two together was the perfect solution for the entire family.

A gorgeous teardrop magnesite at the center of this flowing design lends its turquoise coloration and feel to the color scheme. Round magnesite beads circle the antler bases and arch through the design while round riverstones and other shades of blue bring in cool aquatic shades. Glass beads of brown and greens compliment both the blues and the center piece pulling the color scheme together.

I am grateful that Devon’s family allowed me to create a keepsake beaded skull art work from this small piece of Devon’s life thereby giving it a “new life”. I hope it brings happy memories to all of them for many, many years to come.

Continue reading about Devon’s Legacy on my Blog.

Scroll down to see images of the making of Devon’s Legacy.

If you have your own skull, European, or shield mount, whatever the species, Leesa can craft it into a treasured one-of-a-kind artwork centerpiece for you. Contact her at Leesa@UntamedElegance.net or 616.422.2342.

The Making of Devon’s Legacy, a keepsake whitetail deer beaded skull art piece.


Frozen In Time

Frozen In Time is a whitetail buck beaded skull art piece.
Frozen In Time is a whitetail buck beaded skull art piece.
“Frozen In Time” Whitetail Buck Beaded Skull Art Piece.

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.
Frozen In Time
$
1850
  • Dimensions:
    8.25″ w × 17.25″ l × 11.25″ h

The Making of Frozen In Time, a Whitetail Deer Beaded Skull Artwork Mount.

Cleaning

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.

Frozen In Time, skull art piece in the cleaning stage.
A light cleaning, a little glue and he’s ready for the next stage.

Clay/Paint

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.

Whitetail buck skull art piece after the clay and paint stage.

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.

Sealing

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.

Bead selection and initial design for Frozen In Time, a whitetail deer skull mount.
Beads were selected to be compatible with White Doe in my collection.
Frozen In Time and White Doe, whitetail deer beaded skull artwork.
White Doe and Frozen In Time. An example of how a male and female, of any species can be commissioned as a matching beaded skull artwork set.

Naming

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”.

Frozen In Time, a beaded art whitetail deer skull mount.
Like those moments we cannot help but remember as if yesterday, he is “Frozen In Time”.

Mysterious

"Mysterious" Whitetail Buck Beaded Skull Mount
Mysterious, a whitetail buck rustic-chic beaded skull art taxidermy alternative

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.
Mysterious

is available for purchase for
$
2075
  • Dimensions:
    16.25″ w × 19″ l × 16″ h

The Making of Mysterious

Cleaning

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.

Whitetail Buck skull, after the cleaning process.
Mysterious after being thoroughly cleaned.

Clay

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.

Whitetail buck skull, Mysterious after the clay process.
Mysterious after the clay process.

Paint

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.

Beaded Whitetail buck skull, Mysterious after the paint stage.
Mysterious painted and ready to begin beading.

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.

The bead selection for Mysterious, beaded skull art piece taxidermy altnerative.
A complicated design comes to life with the right bead selection.

Naming

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.

Naming this rustic-chic Whitetail buck skull beaded art piece Mysterious.
Sometimes it takes someone else’s perspective to find the right name.

Whitetail Doe

White Doe Beaded Skull Art
White Doe Beaded Skull Art

This enchanting whitetail doe beaded skull is both delicate and commanding. Her elaborate design continually draws the eye into ever-unfolding details.

She begins with a group of clear round glass and silver seed bead trim atop a shimmering metallic-silver undercoat. Shades of white teardrop, oval and round faux pearls fan outward toward crystal Rhinestones, black opaque faceted and silver-lined seed beads. This intricate design is completed with bright white seeds beads and clear faux Crystal discs.

Is she calling to mind winter’s ice, a graceful flower or a diamond in the rough? Perhaps a snowflake, delicate and different from all others or something as intangible as a sweet memory or dream?

This whitetail doe beaded skull remains an unnamed, treasured piece in Leesa’s private collection. She does not offer doe skulls, but if you have one of your own, you can commission Leesa to create your own treasured one-of-a-kind art piece.

Leesa does not offer doe skulls, but if you have one of your own, you can commission her to create your own treasured one-of-a-kind art piece by contacting her at Leesa@UntamedElegance.net or 616.422.2342.

Blue Moon Shadow

"Blue Moon Shadow" Beaded Skull Mount
"Blue Moon Shadow" Beaded Skull Mount
“Blue Moon Shadow” Beaded Skull Mount

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.
Blue Moon Shadow

is available for purchase for
$
2000
  • Dimensions:
    16 1/4″ w × 21 1/2″ l × 13 1/8″ h

The Making of Blue Moon Shadow, a Whitetail Beaded Skull

Cleaning

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.

Blue Moon Shadow, beaded skull art piece after the cleaning process.
After the cleaning stage decisions need to be made.

Clay

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.

Blue Moon Shadow, beaded skull art piece after the clay process.
This skull felt special and new challenges were taken on for him.

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.

Painted antlers on a Whitetail deer skull prior to beading.
This time, painting the antlers early in the process worked well.

Bead Selection

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.

The bead selection process for Blue Moon Shadow, a beaded deer skull artwork piece.
This skull chose to be blue and its design needed to evolve in its own way.

Paint

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.

The Whitetail buck skull painted and ready to bead.
The whitetail skull painted a deep blue to match the druzy agate centerpiece.

Naming

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.

The naming of Blue Moon Shadow, a whitetail deer beaded skull art piece.
His name was obvious from the very beginning. Blue Moon Shadow.

Ancient Warrior

"Ancient Warrior" Whitetail Buck Beaded Skull Mount
"Ancient Warrior" Whitetail Buck Beaded Skull Mount

Ancient Warrior is a whitetail deer beaded skull art piece. He features five teardrop red tiger eye stones. Gold rocaille, Czech bronze, diamond faceted, and copper seed beads all border these stones and form a central cross. Leather insets and an array of brown and black seed beads complete a rustic-chic design. Organic round wood beads adorn his antler bases. All of these components move together in striking unison to portray a primal fighting spirit.

Humans evolved from gatherer/hunter to defender/warrior while other species, like the deer, have stayed ever true as the “pure” warrior. He was born to defend his territory, breeding rights, and stand his ground against his own species and predators, two legged or four.

Ancient Warrior is not for sale as he remains part of the artists private beaded skull art and taxidermy collection.

Ancient Warrior whitetail beaded skull art

Although this piece is not for sale, if you have your own skull, European, or shield mount, whatever the species, Leesa can craft it into a one-of-a-kind artwork centerpiece for you. Contact her at Leesa@UntamedElegance.net or 616.422.2342.

Grand Chaos

Grand Chaos, a whitetail buck beaded skull Steampunk deer art piece.

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.

Leesa Clark with Benj Spencer from Pixel Ink Frame and Grand Chaos.

Grand Chaos
$
1850
  • Dimensions:
    10.5″ w × 17.5″ l × 10.5″ h

The Making of Grand Chaos, Steampunk Beaded Deer Skull

Cleaning

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.

Clay

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.

This is the clay process for Grand Chaos.

Paint

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.

The paint process Grand Chaos.

Bead Selection

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.

Initial bead design placement for Grand Chaos.

Beading

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 continued beading process and naming of Grand Chaos, Steampunk buck skull art piece.
This is where Grand Chaos comes to “new life”. Every piece has a story to tell.


Naming

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!

The finished Steampunk whitetail deer skull bead design, painted antlers and art piece name.
A fitting name is better and takes time, but is well worth the effort.