Throughout the entirety of the body of a vertebrate animal–human included–the bones are the strongest portions. They provide a scaffolding on which the rest of the animal is built, and they remain long after flesh and bone have gone away. Likewise, although generations of people come and go, the desire to connect to something greater than one’s self and to engage one’s intuition endures. Through bones we can speak with our evolutionary ancestors; through divination we create patterns that help us make sense of the world around us–and the worlds within.
Since 1998 I have incorporated bones and other animal remains into my artwork and my spirituality. The Tarot of Bones is the culmination of almost two decades of artistic innovation and spiritual practice, combining a multitude of skills with carefully curated designs drawn from a deep wellspring of inspiration. Each assemblage piece serves as funerary art to honor the beings who once wore these bones and, more widely, the plants and fungi whose dried remains complement the skeletal features.
Where possible I use natural skulls and other bones in the cards’ artwork. In the case of a few of the Major Arcana, the bones of a particular animal are illegal to possess or difficult to acquire even when legal. For these pieces I have opted to use resin casts of the skulls. I much prefer bone to resin; the processes by which petroleum is extracted and then transformed into plastics create a massive amount of pollution in the air, water and soil every year. These pollutants may remain for hundreds of years, poisoning living beings worldwide. The plastics themselves are also harmful; long after natural bone biodegrades and re-enters the nutrient cycles of animals, plants and fungi, plastics merely break down into smaller fragments which pose a threat to wildlife throughout an entire ecosystem. Plastics, in short, cause the deaths of many more animals than those who bones are incorporated in my works.