Photo by Mike Furgang
Let the ethical debates begin. Most of us agree that killing sometimes-endangered animals strictly to use their parts for fashion accessories or high end garments is deplorable. But what if the animal is already dead?
Amy Nugent, a jeweler and artist in Vancouver, uses roadkill as the main ingredient in creating her stylish-but-bizarre wares. From key chains made with turtle hands and rabbit feet, to bear and moose bone tie slides, to bracelets made from porcupine quills, anything is fair game—as long as it can be picked up off a carcass from the side of a highway.
Nugent, with a ball of 30,000 porcupine needles. Photo via Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press
The Road to Roadkill Jewelry
According to recent story in the Canadian Press, the roadkill artist feels that her work is entirely sustainable: "This is all about honouring the animals and recycling," she said.
She started out just collecting porcupine quills and making them into beads for cuffs and bracelets for her line called Roadquill. Apparently, her desire was to "resurrect this stuff that we just pancake out there." Each of the handmade bracelets (they come in silver and gold colors) costs $255, and they are evidently in-demand items. Now, she's expanded her lines to other animals, and does roadkill-related artwork as well.
She also believes her work opens a dialogue about the very nature of roadkill. Nugent has a particular interest in discussing her work with children, who are invariably fascinated by her work when they see her booth at a fair. She says,
"(They ask) 'What is that? What's that from?' and you get into this whole discussion about modes of transportation, highway, spirituality, death. It opens so many doors."
Photo via Roadquill
The Art of Selling Sustainable Roadkill
Now, this isn't the first time someone has recycled roadkill into a high-end product (recycled squirrel decanter, anyone?). But it is one of the most interesting—especially her insistence on using roadkill, the wide range of animals used in her lines, and the fact that her wares seem marketed towards upscale fashionistas.
So is this ethical and sustainable? Aside from the unseemly act of peeling dead creatures off the road, there seems to be no further offense to animal life or the law. As unfortunate as it is, there is an abundance of roadkill. Could it actually be best to put the animal parts to reuse, instead of having them rot on the road's shoulder?
More on Roadkill and Sustainable Jewelry:
Colorado Tries to Prevent RoadKill With New Technology
Sustainable Jewelry : The Cork Cuff