Laura J Shape holding python vessel

I create sculptures with leathers primarily using the skins of invasive species, like Burmese Python, Lionfish, and Dragonfin. Using age-old techniques, I make art with a focus on helping to revive and protect ecosystems around the world.

My purpose in working with these invasive animal skins is to call attention to an urgent problem. Due to human error animals have been introduced from parts of the world where they’re naturally kept in check to other areas where they have no natural enemies. This has caused ecological disaster on an enormous scale. These animals have dominated their new environments, decimating native wildlife populations and threatening entire ecosystems. Unfortunately, to fix this problem, thousands of these animals must be killed. I work with their skins in the hope of creating something beautiful from such an ugly situation. Each skin used contributes to protecting hundreds of different types of native mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and coral reefs, and the millions of people who rely on them. 

As an art medium, these leathers are wonderful. They keep the original texture of the animal and no two skins are ever exactly alike. The natural patterns that occur are complex, irregular, wild, and unpredictable. I love to highlight their beauty, and show them in a new context as the unique and precious gems they are. In that way, I collaborate with nature, and contribute to helping save our beautiful and diverse planet.

My past work has been featured in Latina magazine, 5280, and Colorado Expression Magazine.