Mummifying Hearts

Stage 1: Mummification of Heart

Stage 1: Mummification of Heart

During my stint as Fringes Catalyst, I am working on a series of new installation works for display in the main foyer area.  The two primary areas of investigation are botany and consumer/everyday genetics.  As part of my look into consumer genetics and the connections between family and genetic inheritance, I am planning to create an installation incorporating mummified lamb hearts.  The lamb hearts function as a symbol for love, connection and sacrifice.  They will be used to make links between three generations of women within my family.

While I have had some previous experience with mummification, this project (apart from conceptual concerns) also presents a great opportunity to experiment with different mummification strategies and will help refine my mummification recipe.

A Shrine for Algernon: The Remains of Algernon and the Poetry Orchids - mummified fetal calf sculpture with living orchid.

A Shrine for Algernon: The Remains of Algernon and the Poetry Orchids – mummified fetal calf sculpture with living orchid.

The first three hearts have been in salt solution for four weeks now and the flesh is very nice and solid.

Removing hearts from salt compound.

Removing hearts from salt compound.

Mummified heart - post salt compound.

Mummified heart – post salt compound.

Heart after washing off salt compound residue.

Heart after washing off the salt compound.

The fat still contains some moisture, so they will still need further processing before being able to be incorporated into an artwork. To aid the further preservation of the hearts, I am soaking them in taxidermy tanning formula for three days. Following this process, I will put the hearts into the oven for final fixing and to remove moisture again. I am also thinking about placing the hearts in bleach.  This should produce beautiful white specimens that could form a base for printing images.

 

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