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.
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.
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”.
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!