Bird skulls, with their arched beaks and wide eyes, are wicked cool artifacts and also are the perfect size for jewelry. A pendant made of, say, a raven skull is a striking accessory to both an elegant goth wardrobe as well as a tribal shamanic get-up. Trouble is, the Migratory Bird Act makes the possession of many bird parts a major offense — including those from the Corvus family (ravens, crows…) What to give that dark soul whose spirit creature is a crow? A 3-D printed crow skull pendant, of course.
Sheila Munro’s Filagree Raven Skull enhances the sleek form of a Corvus skull by adding an elegant tracery of curving lines to the surface. Since 3-D printing builds up an object speck by speck, it’s not the ideal process for making solid chunks of mass but this clever design takes great advantage of the intricacy that is possible with this process. I got one of these beauties a couple years ago for a neo-pagan shaman friend and when he opened the box, his eyes nearly bugged out. This pendant radiates awesomeness from its potent design to the heft of polished metal. That’s right, this 3-D printed skull came in bronzed steel.
Many homestyle 3-D printers can only produce plastic objects but Shapeways — a full service, on-line 3-D printing service bureau and marketplace — can output objects in a wide range of materials, including bronze, ceramic, sandstone and stainless steel. The site displays the work of hundreds of designers — Sheila Munro’s Dropping Form Designs studio has dozens of other designs — but I can vouch for both the quality of the Shapeways service as well as the eye popping coolness of the Filigree Raven Skull. The price is really quite reasonable, too. The design is available in other sizes — I suspect the Extra-Large size in sandstone would be a remarkable paperweight.
Fire and Bone take a hybrid approach to digitally assisted manufacturing. They meticulously scan an actual skull and clean up the computer model, but instead of 3-D printing their full run, Fire and Bone use traditional, lost-wax casting to make their intricate creations. I got in on two of their Kickstarter campaigns and thus have an American Black Bear and a Gray Wolf skull. (Dig it, the jaws on these two skulls actually work!) Fire and Bone also make a very noble crow skull, available in bronze as well as in sterling silver. (Oops, it appears the silver version is sold out at the moment.) The skulls can also come with a display base. My Bear skull, for instance, sits atop my dresser on such a base so I can enjoy it even when I’m not wearing it.
Both Fire and Bone and Sheila Munro’s pieces are “cruelty-free” and made of durable metal. Their designs are both delicate and handsome, primal and refined. Bird skull jewelry is likely the perfect gift for someone you know or if you read the Dailynightmare, possibly a treat for yourself.