Magazine article Management Today

MT People: The Sharp End - Roadkill That's in Fashion

Magazine article Management Today

MT People: The Sharp End - Roadkill That's in Fashion

Article excerpt

Dave Waller hooks up with two artists who make couture and objets from dead animals.

This month I'm getting into the bare bones of interior design. That's not so grubby, you may think. But it is when we're making pieces from animal corpses.

I arrive early at Brighton's Eaton Nott, a design shop that's all dead puppies in bell jars and ornaments intricately carved from horse skulls Tattooed owners Jess Eaton and Jon Nott usher me through to the backroom studio, where a flock of goose wings hangs drying above tubs of bleached bones. 'Come and help me skin this alpaca,' says Jess, throwing me a pair of disposable gloves. Just another day in the office.

'Aw, look at him,' says Jess, as I follow her out to the garden and encounter said alpaca lying on a carrier bag next to a couple of ex-geese. She merrily cuts the skin away from the raw flesh with a scalpel. It's a fresh kill, so the skin should work in one of her fashion designs; Jon will make something out of the skeleton. She hands me the scalpel and tells me it's like 'peeling an orange'. It's more like performing an autopsy on my late dog. My nose turns up as I yank at the fur, until the membrane gives way to the blade. 'I love the crackling sound it makes when the skin comes off,' Jess says.

She rescues me from the task and explains what the hell is going on. She and Jon set up the shop a year ago as an outlet for their passions, which centre on making things from our natural resources, with the onus on zero waste. She's quick to point out they're not encouraging people to kill animals - all are donated free by farmers and gamekeepers, so they were dead anyway. 'It's not macabre,' she insists, opening out a goose wing to show me the wonders of nature. 'It's a fascination with how this all works. Is it possible to find anything better designed than this?'

Jon's inside, putting the finishing touches to a pickled piglet. He tells me how he'd been to a farm and fished this one out of a metal bin full of dead pigs, which involved dipping elbow-deep into a sea of maggots. He's not fazed though - he's been doing this sort of stuff since he was a kid. 'When I was eight I found a rotting head on a farm and hid it in my dad's car,' he says. …

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