EPHEMERAL HEADPIECES

2013-2016
This (almost) monthly self-portrait series paid tribute to the endless cycle of life, death and rebirth, and was loosely inpired by the pagan costuming and rituals of Vanessa's Germanic ancestors. The headpieces were ephemeral in that they, like their components, only existed for a short period of time; each piece was assembled using mostly non-permanent materials, photographed, then disassembled. Each headpiece was built on a solid base; feathers and quills were inserted into foam blocks and secured with pins and medical tape. Skulls were held in place with rope and wire. No glue was used.

 




Elegy

36. Elegy
No. 36 | 10/2016


Fading

35. Fading
No. 35 | 09/2016


Splintered

34. Splintered
No. 34 | 08/2016


Bittersweet

33. Bittersweet
No. 33 | 07/2016

 



Sentinel

32. Sentinel
No. 32 | 07/2016


Bloom

31. Bloom
No. 31 | 05/2016


Hatched

30. Hatched
No. 30 | 04/2016


Radiant

29. Radiant
No. 29 | 03/2016

 



Soar

28. Soar
No. 28 | 02/2016


Dusk

27. Dusk
No. 27 | 01/2016


Frost

26. Frost
No. 26 | 12/2015


Undergrowth

25. Undergrowth
No. 25 | 11/2015

 



Nocturne

24. Nocturne
No. 24 | 10/2015


Wanderer

23. Wanderer
No. 23 | 08/2015


Devour

22. Devour
No. 22 | 06/2015


Harpy

21. Harpy
No. 21 | 04/2015

 



Roar

20. Roar
No. 20 | 03/2015


Judgment

19. Judgment
No. 19 | 03/2015


Boreal

18. Boreal
No. 18 | 01/2015


Winter

17. Winter
No. 17 | 12/2014

 



Undine

16. Undine
No. 16 | 10/2014


Feral

15. Feral
No. 15 | 10/2014


Verloren (Lost)

14. Verloren (Lost)
No. 14 | 10/2014


Ardea

13. Ardea
No. 13 | 09/2014

 



Flammen (Flames)

12. Flammen (Flames)
No. 12 | 08/2014


Spark

11. Spark
No. 11 | 07/2014


Regen (Rain)

10. Regen (Rain)
No. 10 | 07/2014


Sonne (Sun)

9. Sonne (Sun)
No. 9 | 06/2014

 



Pavo

8. Pavo
No. 8 | 06/2014


Warrior (for my Mother)

7. Warrior (for my Mother)
No. 7 | 04/2014


Ursus

6. Ursus
No. 6 | 02/2014


Starburst

5. Starburst
No. 5 | 02/2014

 



Abominable

4. Abominable
No. 4 | 01/2014


Nomad

3. Nomad
No. 3 | 12/2013


Demon

2. Demon
No. 2 | 11/2013


Heathen

1. Heathen
No. 1 | 10/2013


Paper birds


A note about the animal specimens displayed on this website

Vanessa works exclusively with ethically sourced skulls, feathers and other specimens obtained via private collectors and reputable sources, as well as cruelty-free, non-animal-tested cosmetics. No living creatures are ever harmed for the sake of her art. In fact, she's a vegetarian, and, as noted in her biography, a lifelong wildlife advocate.

Any North American songbirds featured in her work are printed images—for example, the paper goldfinches and robins pictured here can be found in a number of her portraits. In North America, it’s illegal to possess live native songbirds/raptors or their remains (taxidermy, bones or even feathers) unless one is a legally licensed wildbird handler or care provider.

All bones and other specimens in Vanessa's collection are ethically sourced, cruelty-free and non-CITES species, and were obtained through reputable and trusted sources. She does not own/collect specimens protected under international conventions or North American laws, nor should any enthusiast. If her work has inspired you to collect skulls or animal parts, it's your duty as a responsible collector to educate yourself on the legal requirements applicable to your country of residence. Conservation and awareness are crucial to preserving wildlife and wild places.