collage and metal findings 2022 22”h, 18”w
Tortoiseshell was in high demand since the 17th century as a decorative element in luxury items, such as marquetry, snuff boxes, jewelry, guitar picks, etc. This use decimated tortoise populations to the extent that trade in tortoiseshell items has been illegal globally since 1973.
My iteration of a turtle shell is made up of faux painted scutes (plates) with metallic filigree used to edge tortoiseshell veneer on furniture and smaller boxes; a reference to the box turtle. With the absence of real turtles, tortoiseshell items are repurposed to simulate a turtle shell.