Christine Facella is a Norway native and New York transplant. She also happens to be the Original Gangsta (credit: Ice-T) behind the animal skull phenomenon flooding flea markets and upscale decor boutiques. After working up with the largest skulls of all time at the Natural Museum of History, Christine launched her own sculpture line.
When did you start casting porcelain skulls? I've been at it for the past 8 years or so, just doing it on the side while freelancing in product design. Now I'm in grad school for landscape architecture and still going at it. It started when I was working at the Museum of Natural History, working as a freelance illustrator. We spent our days studying structures of turtle skulls, translating dimension into line drawings. Trying to describe movement or shape with just a few lines is one of the most challenging things I have done! In the end I just wanted to create these skulls in dimension, and ceramics seemed like the best material.
Why porcelain skulls? I love making things, and I love science!
All right. Take us through the process, because it seems a little lengthy and a lot complicated The entire process starts with the skull and mold: The skull is cut into pieces which I make molds for . Each mold is cast in a porcelain slip and then reassembled into an entire skull, while still slightly wet. The final step is to sculpt whatever details got lost in the moldmaking process, clean them up, and then fire them. 14 k gold luster is added to the teeth, then fired all over again.
Beyond porcelain skull-making, which is thrilling in an of itself, what excites you? Right now I'm testing out various neighborhood weeds as pigments. Otherwise, I love to travel, and having been in grad school for the past 1.5 years. I'm feeling a real pull to get out of here.
Were you artistic as a Young Christine? Definitely. I spent my time drawing, making things and being outdoors.
Who is Adult Christine? She's a taller version of me as a child.
And your crowning achievement as a maker? Your first sale - it changes everything.