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 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”.