For most people, animal roadkill elicits barely any recognition, perhaps save driving the car around the carcass. But for a growing number of people, these unfortunate creatures can be a source of food, or even a source of ethical animal furs.
For Oregon-based jewelry maker Annie Loucks of Lady Locks Creations, who creates somber jewelry from animal remains, these are a source of beauty, of life that was cut short by "violent" means.
She explains her story of why she began creating these talisman-like artifacts:
A little over 5 years ago I discovered the remains of a dog on the train tracks near my house. It still had its collar around its (nothing but bone) neck. I felt sad for this animal, not knowing exactly how its life came to an end, but i felt the need to give back somehow. [..]
My respect and love for each and all animals is so great, that I am inspired by nature itself to give them a new beauty and new life after their death. Finding these animal remains in nature while either on hikes or walking on wild trails is one of my main sources. Even recycling road kill specimens who's life was unfortunately taken away in a violent matter, I feel, is one of the best ways to give the animal respect and give its life meaning since it was taken away so quickly.
For the majority of her pieces, the self-taught Loucks recycles parts from animals that have died naturally. Her pieces use bones that she has cleaned herself, claws, butterfly wings, or shed snake skin, which are bottled up, preserved and can be worn as necklaces, rings or earrings. They are certainly curious, and have an air of gothic elegance, tinged with a bit of beautiful melancholia to them.
While some may debate the ethical issues of wearing dead animals, Loucks' intention comes from a place of "no waste" and respect that may be more in line with ancient hunting cultures which uses all parts of the animal:
I have been taught my whole life to never let anything go to waste. I believe this includes our wildlife. Our modern world wastes so much and often undervalues animal life. I feel called to collect these creatures whether its found in the woods or on the side of the road. No animal should be left to go to waste.
It's a calling that most would probably not take up, given the callous attitudes around roadkill. So it's quite an admirable skill to lovingly turn these disrespected remains into something meaningful and beautiful at the same time, honouring their lives and their place in the world. More over at Lady Locks Creations.