For Ronnie and Babz of the Philly-based jewelry line, Bullet Babe, beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. The designing duo finds inspiration in all things "old and dirty," creating unique accessories from unlikely elements -- think rooster and sparrow feet, raccoon penis bones, and wolf and water buffalo teeth, all served up with a generous helping of feathers, carved skull beads, and upcycled findings.
Here, Ronnie and Babz tell us more about their jewelry collection, described by the artists as "a lot of different, pre-plastic cultures mashed into one."
How did Bullet Babe get its start?
Awkwardly. I guess once we [realized] that our friendship wanted to manifest itself in something tangible and well, wearable. The wooden skull bracelet was our first, then we diversified to bone, teeth, and feathers. If we step back and look at our work as manifestations of our connectedness, to ourselves and to one another, we are pretty proud to continue to explore our artistic manipulations of the natural world.
So you two are a couple?
Yes, [since] February 2011. Pretty much had Bullet Babe right after.
What materials do you work with, and which are you most excited to use?
Metals, stone, wood, bone, leather, feathers, bullets, animal teeth, animal parts... We have these rooster feet we really want to use for something. Right now, they may be our favorite.
How would you explain your use of animal parts to the more timid shopper?
When you think about the way bone, wood, skin, teeth and fur/feathers are created in the natural world, there is a definite individuality to each as well as the obvious connectedness. Our work celebrates the unique and the rare while remaining a constant reminder to our dependence on one another and our environment.
Besides each other, what inspires you?
Everything old and dirty. Maybe it's a bit of nostalgia, like being a kid and exploring in a creek and finding the skull of a mole, a cracked robin's egg, or an eagle feather and being super stoked that show-and-tell was the next day.
Who do you design for?
I think we design mostly for ourselves. I guess that's apparent if you look at us. I mean, we aren't setting out to design for Upper West Side Jewish grandmothers, but if we saw one wearing our stuff, that lady would be our mascot. In fact, thank you for the question, I think I know what our next photo shoot is going to be.
Do you take cost into consideration when you're making a new piece?
We don't really think about the price until the piece is finished, but we try to keep everything reasonably priced. I mean if you want to wear sparrow feet, sometimes you have to pay a little extra, but it's totally worth it when the check-out girl at Superfresh is like, "What is that? Are they birds' feet?" and you can confidently say, "Why yes, the small, no-longer-needed feet of a tiny, deceased sparrow."
Where can readers find your jewelry?
Lucifer Philly, Jinxed, Creep Records, Salon 7 in West Chester, and via our online store.
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