“My Roadkill Art…. hmmmm!  Yes, well… “

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SHAMANIC ROADKILL CAPE - Made from recycled materials feathers from the capes of seven golden roadkill pheasants - 2 years in the making, completed at NOMADIC VILLAGE 2012, modelled beautifully by Visual & Shamanic Artist KATIE SURRIDGE of London. Pigs ears and trotters with goji berries - silk purse "Kali's Pants" - aka - "Nice Beaver"  'TOTAL BOLLOCKS' - ROADKILL BADGER TALISMAN - ANTI BADGER-CULL CAMPAIGN  Hernes Horn H2840039

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My taxidermy projects are quite personal, and not really for sale.  They do not form part of my general paid art work (community works or school projects) so I tend to keep these separate from each other.  That said, I may take on a commission for a special person or idea if I have the time, as with the story of the testicle earrings!

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I usually exhibit my work at festivals, as part of a performance, or personally in my home (where-ever that may be) as a shamanic fetish/object with a specific purpose or meaning.  Often these objects have a slightly dark sense of humour injected into them and a much deeper meaning than one might imagine.

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So… Yeah, the earrings, lol.  It is quite a funny story and I was asked to tell it recently, so seeing as I had to type it out anyway, I thought I would stick it on here too.

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Squirrel Testicle Earings

Squirrel Testicle Earrings

The story of the Testicle Earrings!

I was at a friend’s party in London few years ago and got talking to one of the other girls there that I had not met before.  To be honest, I only knew two other people there.  She was telling us about how her boyfriend had proposed recently.  She had suffered a fidelity betrayal by her previous partner and was still furious and hurt that he had cheated on her.  Afraid this might happen again with her new man, but wanting very much to marry him, she told him that she would only marry him if he agreed that if he ‘was’ ever unfaithful to her – she could “wear his bollocks for earrings!!”

He agreed.  Thinking she was joking.  They made a date to marry later that year in Las Vegas.

The group of friends laughed at the story, and joked that it would be funny to wear a pair of human testicle earrings for the wedding day, as a reminder of his promise, but that it would be impossible to buy a pair of real testicle earrings.  I had been pretty quiet until this point when  I said “I’ve got a spare pair of testicles!!”.

The group just stared at me with jaws dropping, and laughed.  I laughed and said “No really, I have… some squirrel ones”.  One of my friends then proceeded to tell the group that I was an artist, and about the kind of things I had made and how I lived my life.  They were amazed.  I was commissioned by the bride there and then to make her these earrings.  I reassured her that they would not be hairy, lol.

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Skinning a squirrel to taxidermy in my studio.

Skinning a squirrel to taxidermy in my studio.

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I set about making the earrings from the actual testicles, not the scrotum.  I had saved them from a previous taxidermy project using a local roadkill casualty.  Luckily squirrel testicles are quite large in comparison to the size of the animal so looked good as droplet ear adornments.

squirrel with balls

These little objects can be quite ‘oily’ when drying so the process took longer than anticipated.  They were dried repeatedly and cured in salt for a long period of time, and then I sealed the remaining oil inside using a tough acrylic varnish.  I try not to use heavy chemicals in my work.  They were sprayed silver, varnished again, mounted in silver fittings and beautifully gift wrapped for the bride in time for the wedding.

The group of friends today still talk about the story.  I hope I helped cure with humour a huge amount of suffering by a fellow sister, and make a sensitive issue easier to talk about for a young couple on the path to new relationship.  I also hoped that it be a dark but humorous warning to the ‘love-rats’ out there that think cheating on your woman comes without consequences.

Best they be warned!  We will have “your bollocks for earrings!”

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On the Menu... Rocky Mountain Oysters.  Never seen the sea though!  Steers testicles with BBQ sauce, delicious!

On the Menu… Rocky Mountain Oysters. Never seen the sea though! Steers testicles with BBQ sauce, delicious!

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Even better, we will eat them!!  …. “with some fava beans and a nice Chianti” …. or BBQ sauce. LOL