Katharina Elleke


When you think of a bone, you might think of it as a basis to make a good bouillon or as a nice present for your dog right? At least thats what people expect when you go to a butcher and ask for whole bones (I had a hard time explaining that I will NOT use them to make soup).

But actually, together with wood and stone, bones count to the oldest materials being used by mankind to manufacture tools, instruments and more. And this is still the case in other countries (like e.g. Kenya): There you can mainly see them making jewellery, little utensils or inlays for products and furniture out of it. Furthermore, bones can also be processed into other useful products like glue and fertiliser.

So what am I going to do with bones?
As I have only seen bone products which are made out of one bone or cutouts of a bone, I was wondering if I can upscale the material in the form of e.g. plate goods or one bigger solid mass.
I want the bones to show their affordance in terms of: How diverse can they be as a product material?



I ordered two veal bones at a butcher and of course first had to clean them:

This was a hell lot of work and you really need VERY sharp knives (and yes, also a vegetable peeler) to get all the cartilage, tendons and whatever else off the bone. I nearly could have used my own bone because I wasn’t far from cutting off my fingers with these super sharp woodcarving tools! But hey, that’s part of the experience when exploring the structure and properties of bones, I guess.

In order to have more material for experimenting I additionally ordered three cattle bones (ebay). This time I got them cleaned and bleached already, otherwise I would probably have ended up cleaning for another few days.


I started sawing the bones in halves, in stripes, in slices – trying to gain as flat surfaces as possible. I will now try out various techniques to process the material, hoping to generate a range of interesting properties.

More to come…!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *