So I have a fascination with, well,  let’s call them ‘natural elements.’ My family and, as I’ve learned recently, the cleaning crew find this fascination a little disturbing.  See, I like things like giant great horned beetles and skulls of all sorts and sizes.  This goes along with my enchantment of more appetizing natural things like shells and feathers.  

These kinds of natural, or disturbing if you want to call them that, elements elicit a response from everyone who sees them. This to me is the whole point of design and artwork! These natural touches aren’t static pieces. They make an impact!  

Now skulls aren’t unique in design.  Skulls have been used in design for centuries. In the 1920’s skulls started showing up in art and WW2 propaganda posters. They have become iconic symbols of Southwestern design. Today skulls are a favorite figure to recreate in all kinds of home decor and can be found in some form or fashion in any store selling home goods pieces.  

However, I find the real thing absolutely beautiful. I think they make a statement about life and the beauty of form. I could really geek out here but I won’t. 

I have a small collection of real skulls from different animals and they are all displayed in my front parlor which is also home to most of my plants.  This combination of green life and white skull death gives a true apothecary feel to the space. 

My deer skull was a gift from a friend who found this skull while hiking on his own land.  It was complete with a full perfect rack of horns. 

My husband and I found a horse skull and accompanying bones while trekking through a field just outside of Asheville while we were looking at a piece of property to buy, and last but not least the most beautiful and delicate skull of a medium size bird.  Maybe a hawk.  It is delicate and complex and is displayed with the skulls of the larger hartier animals.   Haunting and natural and beautiful that is what they are to me.  

Feathers are another natural favorite I can’t resist. If I find a feather I feel the need to identify it. 

This particular feather happens to be from an owl that lives in our big oak tree and has raised many a baby owl there.  She flies overhead and very stealthily hunts and lives with only a rare sound or sight of her now and then.  For her to leave a feather for me to find is a great gift, and I accept.  My prized owl feather lives amongst a plant and bone display in my library.  Another primo spot for my “natural items”, evoking a mad scientist vibe in the library.  

My finest and most shameless display of natural items is the inspiration for this story and a piece I have endured much criticism about from my husband and the gals that won’t clean near it.  It is my piece of bugs and bones. 

Now the feature of this piece is a robin’s skull that I mounted on a nine-inch nail.  It is adorned and surrounded by all it’s natural cousins including a jaw bone of a fish I found on the beach in New Zealand, a great horned beetle I found at the back door of my warehouse last summer, a beautiful moth that I found, I forget where, but it’s beautiful, and assorted shells and sand dollars that I have collected in pockets and baggies over the years.  These treasures are assembled with respect and held in suspended animation for all time under an upside-down apothecary jar.  

I know I’m not alone in finding these true treasures of nature beautiful.  Don’t be afraid to display and use your natural elements all throughout your house.  They bring the essence of good vibes and appreciation for life.  They conjure good memories and are so very evocative and interesting for all that see them.  

What does this have to do with staging?  Well keep an eye out and you will see a touch of nature in everything I do.  It may not be a horse skull, but it will be shells and feathers….  ok and maybe a tiny little bug or 2.