Far too often, holiday gifts are plastic and generic, emblems of a throwaway culture that’s far removed from nature. But for Portland’s Sarah Bartell, some of the best gifts are carefully crafted remains of real animals.
“My philosophy is that no part of any animal should be put to waste if a purpose can be found for it,” she told the Daily Dot.
“Instead of letting a pelt waste away in an attic or seeing one hung up in a tacky tavern, I turn them into functional works of art so that they may 'live on' and be cherished for years to come.”
At Bartell’s Etsy store, customers can buy strips of wolverine fur, a zebra hoof (“This would make a VERY unique paperweight”), or bones that used to be moose legs. Big spenders can choose the head of a white wolf or cinnamon black bear, which you can wear on top of your own like a ball cap.
Or if you’re turned off by all those animals, and your oral surgeon let you keep your wisdom teeth, send those former pieces of your skull to Bartell, and she’ll turn them into an earring and necklace set for you.
While Bartell herself does hunt for food, her hides tend to come from more exotic animals, though she stresses that she keeps all the hides she hunts herself; those she sells tend to be second-hand.
“Even though the animals are, of course, quite dead, I enjoy seeing them loved and honored by my customers as though they have a numinous spark of the wilderness still in them,” she said. “The hardest part, as always, is parting with a piece that I am particularly fond of! “
Photos by NaturePunk Creations/Facebook