Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Digging in the Bone Yard
I have a small collection of bones in my studio, and today's drawings show some of them. On the left is a goat's skull that we found in Italy in 2001. We had been hiking from our little rented place in the village up to the hills behind us, and we came across a tumbled-down stone barn-like structure, overgrown with weeds. There was one intact stall in a far corner, dark and musty. Half hidden under some rotting straw was this lovely little skull. As it was happily still in the palmy days before Safety, I was able to slip it into my carry-on, wrapped in some tee shirts, and bring it home. It still has most of its teeth.
On the right are a rib of something and a starfish skeleton. The rib has always reminded me of a skid or runner. I used to have a pair of them and once used them in a little sculptural piece of an ice fishing hut. I never finished the sculpture so reclaimed the ribs. I love their smooth, blade-like surfaces.
The bone on the left always reminds me of the Nike of Samothrace (Winged Victory) from ancient Greece. It's probably the sacrum of some animal. I found it in a farm field at Warren Wilson, so it could be from a deer or a baby pig or even a raccoon. And on the right is a fish vertebra from Lake Michigan at South Haven. Two ribs fly off the sides like insect wings.
These are mystery bones, especially those two on the right. All three are from Lake Michigan, summer 2003. I believe the one on the left to be from a sea gull. It has part of a wing attached. The two on the right seem bird-like to me as they are so light, but they could easily be large fish bones. The one on the bottom looks like a little dart or a paper airplane. Anybody out there know their bones and want to make an identification?