Thursday, May 23, 2013

BONELUST Q&A: What do you mean when you say you’re an ethical bone artist?

PLEASE NOTE: I have zero interest in a political debate of any kind. I’m just posting this about my personal beliefs because it is what BoneLust is based on & this is the question I was asked. What a boring world this would be if we were all exactly the same. THANKS!

A bit about me first, Jana Miller. I’ve been collection and processing bones and other things of nature for over 30 years. I’ve been making bone and teeth jewelry since the 1980s. For a long time I only made bone jewelry and art for myself and friends. In 2008, I became unemployed at no fault of my own. So I opened 3 Etsy shops. One of which is, BoneLust/Bone Lust, which offers bone jewelry/art to the public. Each piece is carefully made with love. Nothing is mass produced. I’m the only one working in my shops.

BONELUST BONE PROCESSING PROGRESS: The 5 Wild Boar Skull Project Has To Be Put On Hold For A Bit. So Moved These 4 To This Temp Home. Top 2 Are Almost Done. Bottom 2 Are Drying. 5th Was Just Put In Peroxide Bath.


I pride myself in NOT SUPPORTING industries that harm/kill animals and/or use their lives as profit. Like trappers, fur garment industries, pet breeders/shops, factory farming/meat industries, or medical research supply companies. "Not support" means I will not purchase any animal by-products from these industries.

I do use bones that hunters have dumped. I live in a very rural/poor area and these hunters feed their families this way and help control invasive species like wild boar. While I myself do not even eat meat (since 1993), beyond seafood about once a month. I’ve also been very active in animal rights, anti-vivisection, conservation efforts, etc. Donating thousands so far in my lifetime to related groups. And have personally rescued easily hundreds of creatures in my lifetime so far. Furry, feathered, insect, spider and otherwise.

99.9% of the bones and teeth used in my jewelry and art I’ve found myself. Then processed myself by the best means to provide you with a strong product that will last, and be sanitary to wear. I consider myself a professional as I’ve been collecting bones for over 30 years now. I do not like waste and honor the lives of these animals in my art/jewelry. I never have nor ever will harm or kill an animal, insect or plant for my bone collection or for the bones used/sold here. Also, all animal remains used in my shop were obtained by legal means approved by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

BONELUST BONE PROCESSING Q&A: I want to start collecting bones/animal remains but I'm concerned about disease.

Excited About My New Respirator Filters & Getting My High Quality Gloves Again. Otherwise Even I Couldn't Have Dealt With The Nastiness I Did Today. Didn't Smell A Thing & No Need To Double Up Gloves!

What sort of safety precautions do you take while removing flesh from bone?

Good questions that I think not enough beginning bone collectors think about. Well obviously be super sanitary about each step of it. Here are some steps I take to stay sanitary:

Wear a respirator or at least a surgical/dust mask when you have concerns about airborne disease. I always wear high quality well fitted latex gloves when handling any remains until they are completely sanitary AFTER the hydrogen peroxide bath, which is the final step of processing. You can get every size imaginable in boxes of 100 on You don't want cheap gloves tearing open while you're handling rotting carcasses. If you only have cheap gloves, double up.

Take care not to do processing where you eat or bathe. Every time I see a photo of a skull in a bathroom sink with their toothbrush and glass nearby I cringe. Keep your processing tools separate from your kitchen tools AND wash separate. Yes, these things would seem like common sense but I've seen bone collectors do things you wouldn't believe. Also, do not let your pets drink maceration water, peroxide bath or chew on dead things. I've seen far too many photos where people think this is funny. It can be VERY bad for your pets to do any of these things. Would you let your child drink/chew on these things???

Also, wash your hands/arms, hair and clothes/shoes after possible contamination. After I've gotten myself into some REALLY nasty stuff I put my clothes (shoes included, I wear Chucks so I can) into the wash and take a shower myself. When you're working on maceration tubs or handling dead animals you can expect a certain amount of contamination of your clothes/shoes. Splashback from maceration baths is very common. If you have long hair like me, take care to pull it back and keep it out of the nastiness. Likewise, wash down your processing work area and maceration tubs after use. The only time I use chlorine bleach in relation to bone processing is when I clean out maceration tubs when they get really bad. Although most of the time I let everything sun sanitize. Because I don't want bleach killing off my maceration bacteria colonies. So if you do use bleach rinse VERY well.

When picking up dead animals to process watch out for gases and liquids escaping the body. Which will almost always happen when you move the body. If you don't have latex gloves with you use a plastic bag to handle it and flip it right into that same bag. Don't lay dead animals in your car without a plastic bag or you'll be sorry. That smell will stay around and leave a very unsanitary stain where it laid. Keep hand sanitizer, gloves, and bags in your car so you're always prepared.

I could go on but that covers the basics and a little extra, just use common sense. Stay safe and sanitary friends.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Most Important Thing For a Bone Collector? Patience.

One of the main things I see most bone collectors struggling with is having the patience to get the job done right. Right meaning using steps that leave the bone strongest as a finished piece. Processing from start to finish for me can take weeks or even months per skeleton/skull. Start being a dead animal, finished being only the bone/horn/hoof/claw/antlers.

The way I get around being impatient is to always have several projects going on at all times in every step of my bone processing.

1) Natural decomposition and/or maceration.

Deer Remains I Got Oddly Enough, In The Mail

Naturally decomping deer remains, nearly ready for maceration.

BONELUST BONE GIFT: My father brought me 
this great opossum skull. I dropped it right into a maceration tub I 
already had going for an opossum skeleton. When the flesh/fur is this 
dried on it is ok to macerate as is. You'd do more damage to the skull 
Naturally mummified opossum skull ready to macerate.

BONELUST - Maceration Bucket Refreshing: Deer, Wild Boar & Cattle Bones
Filling up a maceration tub of deer and wild boar bones with water.

Deer Bones Rinsed Beautifully After Maceration Process Of Bone Cleaning: Detailed HowTo Posts At My Bone Collecting Blog Bone-Lust.Blogspot.Com
Flesh free bones after maceration.

Bone Processing Time: Checking On My Maceration & Degreasing Tubs. From Extra Nasty To Almost Clean. Want To Learn More? Check Out My Blog Bone-Lust.Blogspot.Com
Wild boar and deer bones in different stages of maceration and degreasing.

2) Degreasing.

I honestly don't do a lot of degreasing. I've found that a lot of the oils rise to the surface during maceration. On a rare ocassion I do some extra degreasing though with a dishsoap and water soak. Or super weak ammonia and water soak. Both can take months. Also degreasing is really a personal preference of the bone collector. Some people don't care to degrease at all and some like their bones grease free.

3) Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) bath.

BONELUST BONE PROCESSING PROGRESS: Ran Out Of Containers For Peroxide Baths So 2 Front Wild Boar Skulls Are From The Last 2 Days. You Can See That The 2 In Containers In The Back Are Already Lighter. I Have One Left To Degrease Tomorrow.
Wild boar bones and skulls in different stages of peroxide bath sanitizing and whitening.

Right now I have these skulls/bones in their final H2O2 bath. Deer skulls, goat skull & wild boar vertebrae. One deer skull is on the side to further lighten a stain. The goat skull was too big for the container so once the skull lightened it was time to do the same to the horns (minus the horn sheaths).

BONELUST BONE PROCESSING PROGRESS: Right now I have these skulls/bones in their final H2O2 bath. Deer skulls, goat skull & wild boar vertebrae. One deer skull is on the side to further lighten a stain. The goat skull was too big for the container so once

4) Drying.

BONELUST BONE PROCESSING PROGRESS: Taking advantage of another beautiful sunny day & laid out a huge batch of deer & wild boar bones to dry yesterday. They always look better once the are dried. These were all hunter dumped.
Deer and boar bones sun drying.

BONELUST BONE PROCESSING PROGRESS: First Adult Goat Skull is complete. This will be a keeper for my personal collection.
Finished skull example of a goat.

Want more detailed info on each step? There are extensive blog posts covering each of these steps pictured here. For more info read the rest of my related blog posts.

Maceration Info

Bad Words: BOIL & BLEACH

The Mathematics Of Maceration - A HowTo Guide For The Impatient

BONELUST BONE PROCESSING Q&A: What should the remains look like to begin maceration?

Degreasing Info

BONELUST Q&A: "How will I know if a skull needs degreasing, I'm not sure what it even looks like?"

Whitening Info

Whitening Bone Using Hydrogen Peroxide NOT Chlorine Bleach

Bad Words: BOIL & BLEACH