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Woman Turns Weight Loss Surgery Skin Into Leather Art

Artist uses freezer and tumble dryer to transform her own skin into artistic medium

A woman who had weight loss surgery turned her old skin into human leather using a freezer and tumble dryer.

Artist Katie Taylor, 52, said the idea “came naturally” to her once she decided to have an operation.

Her friend collected the 4lbs of skin once it had been removed at hospital and took it to Katie’s house in her bike basket.

Katie then put the skin in the bottom drawer of her freezer – next to frozen berries – for nine months before taking it to be turned into leather.

The process involved putting the skin in a tumble dryer, and she now wants to put it in an exhibition.

The mom-of-two lost six stone (84 lbs) after being diagnosed with type two diabetes after she had her second child in 2004.

In order to manage her diabetes she resorted to a keto diet and started weightlifting and lost the weight in the process.

In March last year, Katie from Oxford had reached a happy weight and decided to get surgery to remove her loose skin around her stomach.

As an artist that uses forensic anthropology and “bodily aspects” in her work, Katie was keen to use her own skin as an artistic medium.

The Fine Art PhD student at Oxford Brookes University said: “To others this idea is bonkers and sounds really weird, but it came naturally to me.

Katie got in contact with her surgeon’s secretary and sent a two-page letter on why she wanted to keep the skin they removed from her.

She had to consult the Human Tissue Act 2004 and compiled other examples of where people had kept parts of their body, such as removed liposuction fat.

Skin from Katie Taylor’s abdomen, after being turned to leather. PHOTO BY KATIE TAYLOR/SWNS/GETTY IMAGES

The hospital agreed to return her skin after the operation under the condition it was collected immediately after the surgery.

Katie initially bought a home tanning kit, but eventually decided against undergoing the process herself.

She reached out to several survival courses but was turned away until she got in touch with Theresa Emmerich Kamper.

Theresa has a Ph.D. in experimental archaeology and over 30 years of experience in prehistoric skin tanning.

Katie travelled to Exeter in January this year and stayed in a hotel nearby Theresa’s house for a week whilst they completed the process.

Katie is not sure what she’s going to do with her stomach leather yet, but says she might exhibit it in the future.

She has also sent stomach fat she rendered down to a tattoo ink maker and is thinking about getting a tattoo with the ink.



Produced in association with SWNS Talker

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