Saturday, November 30, 2013

Mouse Jawbone Necklace

Mouse Jaw NecklaceYou may (or may not, really) be surprised by the huge number of results one gets by searching "taxidermy" on eBay. A lot of what you'll get is bones and skulls, cleaned and ready for whatever nefarious purposes your little mind may conjure. This is how I accidentally came across a listing for 20 mouse jaws.

As fascinating as some of the options are — have you seen a camel skull?? — I generally avoid buying things like that at a mass marketplace like eBay. Part of what I enjoy so much about my personal skull collection is how I come by them; right now the majority have been gifts, followed closely by estate sale finds, and then skull-based artworks.

But 20 mouse skulls? For $5? My curiosity got the better of me.

This is how they arrived; (mostly) cleaned, unbleached, big ol' rodent nibblers intact. I looked at them for a long time, figuring out what I was going to make of them.

Mouse Jaw NecklaceUnsurprisingly, the bone is extremely thin, particularly at the mandibular notch. Initially, I wanted to wire-wrap each jaw, but that turned out to be impossible, because I couldn't lever the wire — no matter how thin or soft — around the bone without it crumbling. Instead, I went with some pre-wrapped wire coils I had, which are made mostly to use as cord ends.

Mouse Jaw NecklaceIt was necessary to glue them in place, using a thick super glue gel, which helped to fill in the empty space and further stabilize the extra-thin part of the jawbone. Each tiny jaw had to be carefully centered and placed, and then propped up for a minute or two to allow it to set in a good position.

This was a fun way to spend a chunk of an afternoon.

Mouse Jaw NecklaceOnce they were all glued in, including any loose teeth, I attached all of them to a short length of chain, as a fall. To give the fall some visual and literal weight, I added a faceted black beaded ball which I strung on an eye pin with a metal teardrop at the bottom. That whole assembly was then attached to a silver chain, which was decorated with deep red faceted oblong glass beads, which are effectively black under most lighting. I hung the fall off-center for a little added interest.

This is a piece that has to be worn with a certain type of top. In this case, a black knit with snap-front. The chain itself is simple enough to wear with a collared shirt; it's the centerpiece that needs a frame of its own. It never fails to draw a lot of commentary when I wear it, usually including variations on, "Really? REAL mousejaws??"

Mouse Jaw Necklace
Of course! Only authentics for me!

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