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Hannah Tidechild's Mosaic Animal Skulls

Meet the artist and owner of Embellished Organics in Salida



Photography by Beth Johnston

“I suppose I owe it all to my mama,” says 30-year-old artist Hannah Tidechild of the mosaic animal skulls that have become her métier. The North Carolina native, a four-year resident of Salida, had been experimenting with painting animal skulls when her mother, Joyce Baird, a large-installation-mosaic artist, came for a visit and suggested it would be fun to work together to mosaic one of Tidechild’s skulls. “She mosaicked half in yellow glass, and I mosaicked the other half in red glass. It turned out so cool that I had to do another (then another, and another). I was hooked!”  

Tidechild’s workplace, framed by twinkly lights and an unobstructed view of the Collegiate Peaks, exudes quirky creativity. “My studio is filled with things that make me happy,” she says, “seashells and coral, cactus, skeletons and river rocks, bird wings, silly things, and (of course) bones and skulls. It’s not picture-perfect nor Pinterest worthy; it’s ‘organized chaos.’ And there is also always a cat or two or three lounging about.”

The town itself also contributes to Tidechild’s ingenuity. “Salida has been a place of welcoming arms for sharing my work and has proved to be a wonderful stepping-stone from doing this for fun to being able to help support myself financially,” says Tidechild, who estimates she has created more than 75 skulls. Most of them, she says, end up finding a home of their own. “My local shows and the fabulous people met through those have really given me the confidence to branch out into other art communities.”  

Tidechild credits the skulls themselves as her muse. “I never really plan a piece, especially the more abstract and geometric designs,” she says. “I tend to start in one place on the skull and work out from there. The process is especially intuitive and meditative for me. I really believe that the spirit of the animal helps write its own story into the design.” embellishedorganics.com

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