Baubles of Bone: Artist Uses Morbid Medium in Jewelry Line
one UWEC student is changing the definition of art with an unusual and unsettling medium: bones
UW-Eau Claire student Kala Rehberger has brought a morbid medium into her jewelry creations: bones. That’s right – she has incorporated snake vertebrae, raccoon teeth, and rabbit bones into metal-frame and resin earrings.
And don’t worry, the teeth are ethically sourced. She purchases her teeth from a taxidermist couple on Etsy, and the bones are retrieved from already-dead animals.
This is my style, and this is what I want to stick with.
UWEC STUDENT AND LOCAL ARTIST
This unusual and unsettling look has raised many eyebrows, but Rehberger loves it. She attributes her love for morbidity to genetics.
“My grandpa was into that stuff,” she said. “He’s been to so many oddity festivals. He has his own piano room with a bunch of skulls, Salvador Dalí prints, and Edgar Allen Poe (works).” From a young age she remembers being drawn to these oddities herself.
Rehberger is not the only creative around the Chippewa Valley to find beauty in the dead. She recalled a friend bleaching all the bones of a dead rabbit, found in her backyard, and reassembling them in a frame. She has also seen other artists work with materials such as porcupine quills and antlers.
After experimenting with various mediums for jewelry making – such as clay and polymer clay – this is a style that has really hit its mark with Rehberger (no pun intended).
“This is my style and this is what I want to stick with,” Rehberger said.
She also makes functional ceramics and pressed-flower resin jewelry.
Rehberger wants to become an art therapist and is currently pursuing majors in ceramics and psychology. She enjoys blending art and psychology, and aims to convey psychological concepts through her works.