Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sneaky snaky business

It was a blustery day on the mountain yesterday and the 'breezeway' between the two pavilions lived up to its name. We returned from a trip to town and I glanced something playing in the breeze.

I looked out and realised a snake had shed its skin along the beams and had left it hanging there. It was moving beautifully in the breeze...I just wondered where the owner had gotten to!

We think it was a brown tree snake which is quite friendly; good news given that our house-sitters had to face-down an eastern brown snake that was living in one of Barry's junk piles whilst we were away. They are seriously venomous and aggressive so I'm pleased its moved on.

The skin was so fine and delicate - a thing of real beauty.

©2011 Fiona Dempster - length of snakeskin
At this angle it looks surreal and dream-like.
©2011 Fiona Dempster - surreal snake skin head
How perfectly it had rubbed the skin off over it's head.
©2011 Fiona Dempster - elegant snakeskin head
At rest on our kitchen bench it measured about 85cm long.
©2011 Fiona Dempster - snakeskin
Swaying in the breeze before being 'rescued'(or maybe harvested or collected).
©2011 Fiona Dempster - snakeskin in the breeze
I have only lived in the country for 6 years and am adapting to the wildlife; so I still find a snakeskin quite exciting! I am checking for snakes whenever I sit down outside at the moment - but I figure surely they are all on their way to hibernation? We saw none during summer which was interesting - too much rain for them perhaps.

I love the transparency of them and the subtle texture  and am pondering how one of us might put it use in an art piece of course!


  1. mmmm lovely snakeskin - and as you've only been in the bush for 6 years - let me tell you - finding a snakeskin like this is seriously rare (seriously! I've NEVER found something as lovely - and I've been looking for about 40 years so far....) wow! (very pleasing to hear that you think its from a friendly rather than an eastern brown..... EEEEEK they scare the bejezus out of me!

  2. The snake skin is lovely. Will it find it's way into your art somehow? I attempted monoprinting from one left behind in our yard last summer, but it proved too fragile...or I proved too inept.

  3. Fiona, this is very cool!

  4. What a gorgeous find! Great shots, although I have to say, the thought of its owner having been up in the rafters is a bit of a shocker for me!!!!!

  5. How amazing! I'd love to find something like this, but we're not exactly overrun with snakes in England! I'd put it in a box and look at it everytime I needed cheering up.

  6. Wow! It is still so perfectly intact! Beautiful!

  7. I'm surprised Ronnie hasn't found one in the bush. I was tidying my relatively suburban garden last week and found two shed skins in different stages of decay. I'm hoping to put bits into a collage or two.

  8. and if you take a nice light piece of silk I suggest paj, and make it into string then pop it into a dyebath perhaps walnut, you can make your very own imitation snake skin.

  9. F- such delicate fabric and amazing design - hard to beat nature - even sneaky snakes. B

  10. it's so easy to love snakes here as we have only the non-poisonous kind. their skins are lovely calling cards.

  11. Once again proving Nature is a much better artist than we poor humans can ever hope to be! This is an amazing find, Fiona, with aspects of the delicate and the dangerous side by side in harmony - many thanks for sharing it.

  12. Ronnie - Our snakes must just be less shy than yours! And I too hate the thought of those eastern browns - they literally 'go you'.

    Jennifer - they are so delicate aren't they? Yes between us we will try to work it into some art -not sure yet how!

    JGR - yep very cool!

    Annie - it's gorgeous isn't it? and I was greatly relieved to see it was from a friendly one!

    Carrie - I love your idea about it in a box to cheer you up. It's still on a basket on our bench so it gives visitors a surprise!

    Jo - I was amazed at how it stayed together so well - they are clever things

    Trace - now there's a thought!

    B - so true

    Velma - yes the friendly ones are best - some of our serious venomous ones make me scared I must say.

  13. G/Tt - so true - we couldn't imagine or perpetrate those designs with ease. I love the way you captured the dangerous and delicate juxtapositioning. Thanks!

  14. Beautiful photos, Fiona, such lovely translucent skin - maybe some encaustic? xoxoxo


I appreciate your thoughts and comments; thanks for taking the time.