Who is behind Still Death?
The not-so-royal “we” is a “me”, Lupa! (“We” may also occasionally include guest presenters, so the same FAQ applies to them, generally speaking.) I am a hide and bone artist, nonfiction author, skull collector and amateur naturalist in Portland, OR. I started Still Death at my annual cabinet-of-curiosities-themed arts festival, Curious Gallery, and decided after the 2016 event to make it a standalone occasion. You can find out more about me and my other endeavors at http://www.thegreenwolf.com.
Why animal skulls?
I am absolutely fascinated by comparative anatomy; that is, looking at how the same part of the body developed in different species. Skulls are a particularly vivid example of how one structure has been adapted in thousands of different ways to produce unique solutions to the basic problems of survival—food, shelter, protection, reproduction, etc. You can tell a lot about a vertebrate by the shape of its teeth, where on the skull its eyes are, how long its muzzle is, and so forth.
Where do you get your skulls?
A variety of sources ranging from professional hide and bone dealers to secondhand collections being liquidated by their owners. Most are from animals that were hunted or trapped, often by people who live off the land. To offset the impact on natural systems, we do donate a portion of the session fee to nonprofits that benefit wildlife and their habitats.
Why don’t you have [insert species] skull?
We select our skulls based on the educational topic of the month. We are also using our own personal collection, and as much as we’d love to have a skull from every species of vertebrate out there, we still have a long way to go. Please understand some species are not legal to possess in Oregon (or the United States, or at all); you can find out more information about legalities at http://www.thegreenwolf.com/animal-parts-laws
That being said, we’re still adding to our collection, and your participation fees help with that!
Why is Still Death 18+ only?
Our presentations are geared toward an adult crowd, not children. Most people stop learning about nature after they leave high school, and we want to encourage “grown-ups” to revisit their sense of curiosity and creativity. In mixed-age groups, parents are often more focused on their children’s experience than their own, and the material is often made simpler to accommodate younger learners. We want Still Death to be a place for adult learners to be able to focus on themselves and their opportunity to learn neat new things about natural history.
Can I touch the skulls?
We ask that you do not pick up the skulls or otherwise touch them without asking. Some of them are fragile, and we want to be able to keep sharing them with participants. Not heeding this rule may result in you being asked to leave the session for the night and/or permanently.
Do I need to bring my own art supplies?
We will have cheap colored pencils and printer paper on site that you’re welcome to make use of if you don’t have your own supplies. You are welcome to bring your own paints, charcoal, pencils, sculpting medium, paper, etc. We just ask that you not do anything really messy like splatter painting, projectile origami, etc. We also ask that you not take photos on site.
Why do you not allow photography?
To avoid distracting other participants, and also for the privacy and comfort of those who would prefer to not have their photos taken. We organizers may take a few photos in session for promotional purposes, but we will always ask permission first.
Can I bring my own skull collection?
We ask that you don’t. We don’t want it to accidentally get mixed up with our collection, and we definitely don’t want your skulls to get damaged. Additionally, we select the skulls of the month according to a theme and we’d like to maintain that focus.
Can you hold a Still Death session at [insert convention/gallery/other venue]?
Yes! That is, yes assuming it’s within a reasonable distance of Portland and it works with my schedule. Please contact me at lupa.greenwolf(at)gmail(dot)com with details and we’ll go from there.
Are you available to teach other classes?
Yes, though most of my workshops are more along the lines of nature spirituality. If you’re interested, check out my Events and Appearances page.