gracefully grim wearable curiosities

My wonderful Mother working the Wunderkammer Culture booth at The DIME Summer Bazaar!
Houdini, my faithful studio companion.

Breathing new life into creatures left behind, and showcasing the elegance found in the nature surrounding us.

I reside in the wonderfully weird city of Austin, Texas. I am a severe Craftaholic who loves to turn discarded items into impressive treasures. I also enjoy spending my free time searching for oddities and other curious finds at various local vintage shops, thrift store digs, flea markets, and estate sales. I have been a collector of Taxidermy & Bones since I was a child, an obsession we can all thank my Grandfather for. I would spend countless summer nights watching him prepare animals for dinner and tanning their hides so he could add each incredible creature to his taxidermy collection. When my Grandfather passed I was left with his entire collection, ranging from the 1950's to the present, deer antler racks, elk antler racks, mule deer mounts, white tail deer mounts, pheasants, you name it- my house probably has it! Since his death 10 years ago I have continued to collect taxidermy as well as learn the art of bone processing. Those many summer nights I spent in the workshop with my Grandfather as a child really were the stepping stones of what I passionately create today.

I began my first small business adventure on May 11, 2009, however at that time I did not see it so much as a small business but more as a fine hobby. I was currently in my sophomore year of college studying Advertising and Graphic Design. I was an active crafter although I also had quite the school schedule as well as worked several jobs here and there in order to make sure my funds were met by the end of each month. Because of my studying and constant working I never had a chance to give my craft life my full attention. Around this time I was introduced to a few local Indie Bazaars and Handmade Markets that were held throughout the year. It was here that I would say I became more aware that people were really interested in what I made. I began selling my small collection, Indie Thrift, at a local boutique that also held quarterly handmade outdoor markets. I remember working odd jobs and freelance gigs for a couple of months prior to the event in order to have enough money to pay for the booth fee, supplies, advertising, the works! I had just turned 21 and quit working at a typical retail joint so I guess you could say it was an amazing feat that I was able to conjure up enough money to cover everything for my very first handmade market, but the experience was certainly worth every penny.

After graduation I was offered a position as a textile and product designer. I eventually found out that Corporate America wasn't really as satisfying as I had dreamt it to be. After working under a chaotic and incompetent Art Director for a brief hiccup, I came to the conclusion that working for the "big guy" was really quite soul sucking. I guess you could say I let my conscience be my guide, and so I quit my day job in order to pursue something that I felt was more fulfilling and to experience a new adventure in the world of handmade.

I decided to combine my dark love of macabre with a soft hint of femininity to create graceful and stunning wearable curiosities and thus, Wunderkammer Culture was born. Wunderkammer Culture is a collection for those who love the dark side of things but also are intrigued by the elegance of femininity. My collection provides customers with cruelty free bone jewelry, hand carved faux arrowhead accessories, naturally shed antler hooks // jewelry displays, and handmade retro inspired wire head wraps made from repurposed and limited fabrics. Everything is designed and handcrafted by myself in a smoke-free but kitty cat friendly studio.

I strive to provide a collection that represents and preserves the beauty found in the existence of nature that surrounds us. All materials for this brand are sourced ethically from a local cruelty free bone trade. I follow specific and ethical guidelines to ensure that all of my work is cruelty free as well as cleaned thoroughly and sterilized in order to fit the needs of my customers. Most vertebrae, jawbones, teeth, some larger antler racks and skulls are from the unfortunate casualties we see on our local streets and highways while some are found deceased naturally. No animal is directly harmed or killed for the purpose of this collection.

You may also find pieces from Wunderkammer Culture's collection available at:

✿ Atown - 5502 Burnet Road in Austin, Texas 78756

✿ The DIME Store - 510 S. Locust St. in Denton, Texas 76201
Melissa Gayle
owner, maker, designer, Crafter, Bone Collector, Crazy Cat Lady
A whimsical and feisty creative living in the heart of Texas. I'm an art school graduate who plunged head first into the corporate industry only to find that the handmade community was truly my passion.