July 12, 2009

Skull Spoons

Tom Sale's spoons to die for

10:50 AM CDT on Tuesday, June 30, 2009

By TRACY ACHOR HAYES / The Dallas Morning News thayes@dallasnews.com

You might say Tom Sale is creating quite a stir. Working under the nom d'artiste Pinky Diablo, the incongruously mild-mannered Texan has immortalized his favorite skull motif in every form from subversive watercolors to delicately embroidered vintage linens.


But his signature – perhaps his legacy – is the skull spoon, a vintage sterling or silver-plated sipper transformed via Dremel tool, buffing wheel, jewelers rouge and twisted imagination into a symbol of our own impermanence.

"I think of them as memento mori," says Sale, whose workshop is the Ennis, Texas, farm he shares with wife, Dotty, and storefront is a booth at East Dallas vintage emporium Dolly Python. "We should be reminded of death, not be afraid of it. Maybe even laugh at it every now and then."

Cow skulls are a new addition. And Sale, er, Pinky, has recently begun to personalize spoons with dates or messages such as "Til Death Us Do Part." If you have a granny spoon in need of transformation, he'll do commissions for the same flat $45 he charges for spoons large or small. Because "if there's one thing Pinky believes," Sale stresses in a slow drawl, "it's that art should be reasonable."

Tracy Achor Hayes

Pinky Diablo skull spoons, $45 each, Dolly Python and pinkydiablo.blogspot.com