Designer Spotlight: Bone Sculptures by Celia Nkala of Perception Park

I first learned about Parisian-based sculptor/designer Celia Nkala’s line from Perception Park from a post I wrote for Design Milk. Instantly smitten (with her work and her… she’s so pretty), I struck up an email correspondence. She told me a bit about what prompted her to sculpt and work with bones and even sent me a two necklaces (made out of dog teeth!) to see how they’d play in the American market. Last week, she emailed me with photos of new creations, this time around, done in black.

Vertebrae Vase

The Ossements collection was inspired by a real human hip bone that Celia found in a flea market in Brussels about a year-and-a-half ago. She says, “I was fascinated while the others were disgusted.”

To make it more “acceptable,” she sculpted the shape in porcelain. The Iliac bone was the first sculpture she had ever created. She borrowed a human skeleton from the anatomy department of a medical university to use as a model for the other pieces, which include vertebrae and sacrum.

She recently introduced shiny black versions of several of the works. Here is a sampling:

Vertebrae Votives

Iliac Bones in Enameled Porcelain

Sacrum in Enameled Porcelain

Rib Cage Sculpture in Enameled Porcelain

Celia is holding a real human hip she found in Belgium; the catalyst for the collection.
The horizontal bits on the vertebra vase are actual bones. Nkala found a stock of cow’s sphenoid bones (the cow’s last vertebra) by chance in a Chinese shop in Paris, and bought the entire stock. She says, “I discovered that earthenware biscuit is visually similar of the bone material, so I have associated them directly with ceramics.”
The annotated diagram above shows that the vertical section is a piece of enameled porcelain, and the horizontal vertebrae are real animal sphenoid bones.
 Celia sent me two dog tooth pendants. I wear them all the time, and show them off at every opportunity. Definitely a conversation starter.  A dentist mom at a potluck said she wasn’t sure they were definitely dog teeth, so I wore them to the vet when it was time for Oakley’s check up. (Oakley is my very sweet cat.) She confirmed, they’re definitely dog teeth. (Not that I doubted you Celia!)  Do you guys like them? They’re not available commercially yet, and I know Celia would appreciate any input.

Animal Sphenoid Bone Keychain   |   Coccyx Pendant   |   Bony Pelvis Tote
Vertebrae votives all stacked up.