about the artist
I’ve always had a love for animals and a deep appreciation for nature. As a child, I had dreams of being a small animal veterinarian… until I found out about my severe allergy to cats. My interests drew me to the natural sciences, so I pursued a degree in biology. During my senior year of college, I started working with a local zoo for a North American river otter research project. I really enjoyed interning as a zookeeper, so I decided to make it my career. For 12 years, I worked mostly with reptiles and amphibians – snakes, crocodilians, lizards, turtles, tortoises, birds, frogs, and toads. The colorful and geometric designs on snake sheds always fascinated me, so I wanted to do something creative with them. My first idea was to cure them onto wooden squares to make magnets. Then I figured out how to use them in jewelry, bookmarks, and hair accessories. I wanted some color and different designs, so I branched into ethically-sourced butterfly wings and bird feathers. My friends and family encouraged me to open an Etsy shop in 2019. It’s been a fun, rewarding, and sometimes challenging experience to translate nature’s beauty into wearable art.
When I’m not in my craft room, you’ll often find me visiting zoos or hiking in the woods with my camera. I got my first digital camera in 2003 and spent our entire summer camping trip glued to a nearby lake that was teeming with invertebrates. Photographing animals is one of my favorite things to do. Every session is a new experience depending on what the animal is currently doing and the time of day/year. Sometimes it’s a bust, sometimes you’re there at the right moment to take an amazing photo!
All items in my Etsy shop are cruelty-free:
– Snakes shed the outermost layer of their skin multiple times a year which is a natural and painless process. They have no use for the shed skin afterwards.
– The butterfly wings are collected after the butterflies have lived their natural lifespan. Because of this, there may be small imperfections on their wings from bumping into things as they fly.
– Birds naturally shed (molt) their feathers one to three times a year to get rid of damaged feathers and to grow new ones. All of my feathers are from molts.
– The dried and pressed flowers are grown in my garden or friends’/family’s gardens.
No animals are EVER harmed for my products.
Looking for a custom piece featuring your pet? Can’t find a specific animal or item on my Etsy page? Please contact me!