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Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Researching shrunken heads or tsantsa for this week’s comic gave me the creeps.  Tiny heads are way less cute than you might imagine.  The process is rather gruesome from acquiring the head in the first place to removing the skull and placing seeds under the eyes, boiling, sewing, etc.  If you want more information on the process, beliefs (ie: trapping the enemies spirit), history or images, check out: Head-Hunter.com.

At the time of writing this, I’m preparing to leave for a road trip to St. Augustine (by the time this posts I’ll be arriving home).  Jim and I are escaping for just a couple days to celebrate his birthday.  As I was researching for the comic, I was surprised to find that St. Augustine’s Lightner museum actually houses the authentic shrunken head pictured here:

Actual Shrunken Head on display at the Lightner Museum, St. Augustine

Actual Shrunken Head on display at the Lightner Museum, St. Augustine

I’m not sure if I’ll get to see this fellow in person on my trip to St. Augustine. The Lightner looks interesting but Jim’s got his heart set on visiting Ripley’s Believe it or Not! museum and honestly that looks like more fun to me as well.

The topic of shrunken heads took me back to my childhood.  I have a vague memory of a collection of shrunken heads in my brother’s bedroom.  They fascinated me and while I knew they were made of apples, they seemed transformed into mysterious little people.  I’m pretty sure he used that old Vincent Price Shrunken head sculpture kit.  How awesome is this?

Vincent Price's Shrunken Head Apple Sculpture Kit

Vincent Price's Shrunken Head Apple Sculpture Kit

You don’t need a special kit to make your very own shrunken (apple) heads. All you need is an apple, knife, lemon, salt, water and time.  Here are some tutorials in case you want to give it a whirl.

Shrunken Head how to on Haunted Bay

How to Make Shrunken Apple Heads on Halloween Alliance

They look something like this:


Rather than something like this:


If the authentic heads are more your speed, rather than use a real head, perhaps you should consider a replica which are generally made out of goat skin and look like the real thing without the mess of murder.

You can purchase shrunken head replicas on sites like Shrunken-Head or Salangome.

Maybe I should make some polymer shrunken head sculptures for vegan shrunken head enthusiasts!  (i’m only half kidding)

Speaking of making stuff, here’s the polymer cuff bracelet I made for Jim for his birthday.   It’s adorned with pen and ink amoebas.

Amoeba Cuff Bracelet by Calan Ree

Amoeba Cuff Bracelet by Calan Ree

I’m working on another for some upcoming art/handmade shows.  I also have this awesome sock monkey cuff for sale in my etsy store.

Sock Monkey Cuff Bracelet by Calan Ree

Sock Monkey Cuff Bracelet by Calan Ree




ps:  i’m getting ready for Holizaar Deux – mark your calendars

holizaar deux at studio@620

holizaar deux at studio@620

10 Responses to “boneless”

  1. Amanda Says:

    tiny shrunken head
    can’t stare at me with no eyes
    dead men tell no tales

    lips sewn shut in death
    eyes never to see again
    dead screams can’t haunt you

    happy birthday to Jim.

    be sure to take your vitamins could and flu season is back and its in force and kicking ass.

  2. Seraphine Says:

    my computer is being a “shrunken” fecie with me today.
    neither your comic nor the accompanying photos are appearing. *sigh*
    i’ll check back later, but happy birthday to jim.

    p.s. i bet shrunken deer heads would be a hot item. instead of mounting that trophy deer head on the wall, one could hang it from their car’s rearview mirror.
    cool huh? remember i thought of it first!

  3. Seraphine Says:

    i hate removing
    shrunken head hair from ice cream
    sexy comb-over

  4. matthew Says:

    Careful Seraphine, if for some odd reason a redneck reads this you could start a trend. I doubt it would stop with dear heads. “Hey guys! Check out my collection. All the pets i ever owned.” 🙂

    Great post as ever Calan.

    I wait for the melt
    The hearty smell so welcome
    Tastes better this way

    The Amoeba bracelet is pretty cool looking. I would get one for sure.

    Don’t worry Father
    in death you remain
    the head of the family.

    Hehe, i have to apologize for that last one. It is so my dads sense of humor. We call them dad jokes. Which of course i now repeat whenever i can. 🙂

  5. calan ree Says:

    thanks for all the haiku !

    matt, i think your ‘dad joke’ is really cute and the fact that your family has a category of humor filed under dad is rather sweet. my stepfather had really cheesy jokes…these awful one liners that he’d say over and over and over again. like certain phrases you might say would trigger the one-liner which would instantly make me regret saying whatever i said. there was a lot of eye rolling on my end back then.

    btw – i saw a shrunken head after all. there was one at ripley’s. hopefully i got a decent picture for you. i’ll post those next week.

  6. matthew Says:

    Oh he has his groaners as well. I still love him for it though. His sense of humor is what gave me mine. Mine is far darker than his but he was the catalyst of it. I remember the many times me and my sister would just look at each other and role our eyes like you were saying but we would laugh anyway. Or do the old knee slap 🙂
    He never minded his jokes being called dad jokes. I think he gets more pleasure from the groan reaction.

  7. Seraphine Says:

    haha matthew, family pet heads is one hot idea. wasn’t it roy and dale rogers who stuffed their horse, trigger?
    it’s an awesome idea, and you should pursue it as a business opportunity. get some investors, sell some stock.
    (rob graves and steal the pets of famous people)
    think how much the shrunken head of cleopatra’s dog would be worth, if it came with a certificate of authentication! or how about the dog Laika, the first dog in space. or the original lassie, rin tin tin. or boche, anne frank’s cat. or morris II, who ran for president of the united states in 1988.

  8. matthew Says:

    Lol, when you say it like that it sounds like a damn good idea. Till i get caught robbing graves 🙂
    I wonder if i would be the first man in decades to be thrown in jail for that. Hell that alone could be awesome advertising huh?
    Now if i can only find someone dumb yet talented in head shrinking to be partners with. I could make a killing in L.A., no pun intended 😛

  9. Jerus Says:

    That skeleton girl is So adorable.

  10. coraline Says:

    shrunken- head sickle? ive gotta try tht…..

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