I had 4 pounds of my skin removed and turned it into human leather

It was like a Buffalo Bill trinket — but 100% cruelty-free.

A UK woman redefined body art after revealing that she turned the four pounds of skin from her weight loss surgery into human leather.

“To others this idea is bonkers and sounds really weird — but it came naturally to me,” artist Katie Taylor, 52 told South West News Service of her macabre memento.

The unusual self-preservation method was set in motion way back in 2004 after the mother of two was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes following the birth of her second child.

In order to mitigate her symptoms, the fine art Ph.D. student embarked on a weight loss pilgrimage that saw her shed a whopping 84 pounds through the keto diet and weightlifting.

After achieving her goal weight in March last year, the artist decided to get surgery to trim the loose, baggy skin from around her stomach — a common side effect of rapid pound-shedding.

However, instead of pitching her surplus dermis in the garbage, she decided to incorporate it into her art, redefining the term “body art.”

Taylor with her piece of body art.
Katie Taylor flaunts her tanned flab-dominals. She’s reluctant to tamper with her extracted skin as it symbolizes her moving weight loss journey. The stomach leather even has her caesarean scar, stretch marks and hair follicles on the leather.
Katie Taylor / SWNS

While this idea sounds like something skin-obsessed serial killer Ed Gein might’ve dreamt up, it was par for the course for Taylor, who frequently employs forensic anthropology and “bodily aspects” in her work.

“I use materials that challenge what can and can’t be done in my art and I definitely have a bodily aspect to my work,” she said. “The idea of bodies and the circularity of human remains or decomposition is part of my Ph.D. project — so this fed into that quite nicely.”

So before the operation, the self-styled Peelcasso even sent her surgeon a two-page letter on why she wanted to save her excess skin.

Taylor's preserved stomach.
“Four and a half pounds of my stomach stayed there in saline solution for nine months,” said Taylor.
Katie Taylor / SWNS

She cited Human Tissue Act 2004 and as well as examples of other patients keeping post-op body parts, such as extracted liposuction fat.

The hospital agreed on the condition that she pick it up following the procedure.

Fortunately, her friend was more than willing to oblige.

“My amazing friend Catalina picked up the skin on her way back from work,” Taylor said. “She cycled back to my home with my skin in the front basket of her bike.”

From there, the Brit placed her four and a half pound piece of her stomach in saline solution, where it stayed for nine months, before she transferred it to the freezer.

”The freezer’s not that big so it was right next to the frozen berries,” said the artist, who then struggled to figure out how to turn it into art — something that would no doubt look strange on a Google search.

A vial of Taylor's rendered belly fat.
A vial of Taylor’s rendered belly fat.
Katie Taylor / SWNS

Taylor’s initial attempts at extending her dermis’ longevity fell flat: The flustered me-cycler initially bought a tanning kit that she eventually threw out, and then reached out to survival experts, only to be turned away.

She eventually decided to do it by herself, and reached out to Theresa Emmerich Kamper, a Ph.D. in experimental archaeology with over 30 years of experience in prehistoric skin tanning.

Taylor travelled to Exeter in January, whereupon she stayed at a hotel near Theresa’s house for a week whilst the two skin mavens completed their somewhat ghoulish-seeming art venture.

“Theresa was absolutely amazing and so knowledgeable,” gushed the cruelty-free leathersmith while describing literally tanning her own hide. “We began by scraping the fat off the back and getting the membrane off.”

She added, “Then we soaked the skin in vegetable tanning solution whilst stirring and checking on it everyday.”

Finally, the dynamic duo stretched out her filet and lathered it with oil — literally putting the lotion on the skin — before drying the swatch out in Theresa’s tumble dryer.

Taylor with her human leather.
“After it had soaked we stretched it lots and rubbed oil on it before drying it out in Theresa’s tumble dryer,” said Taylor.
Katie Taylor / SWNS

Accompanying photos show the patch of preserved dermis, which evokes a creepy prosthetic from then 1974 cult horror flick “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”

As of yet, Taylor is not sure what to do with her bronzed belly flesh — perhaps make an “organic” belt, skin suit, or a literal “waist pack” — although she says she might exhibit the piece of herself in the near future.

She says she’s reluctant to tamper with her extracted skin as it symbolizes her moving weight loss journey. The stomach leather even has her caesarean scar, stretch marks and hair follicles on the leather.

Taylor's stomach.
“You can see my caesarean scar, stretch marks and even hair follicles on the leather which I love,” said Taylor. “It’s capturing marks and signs of my life.”
Katie Taylor / SWNS

“I had thought I would do something with the skin but I don’t think I could cut into it now,” lamented Taylor. “I think I want it to stay in its shape because that’s what shape it was when it came off of me.

She added, “It’s a reminder of where I came from, how I got to where I am today and how incredible and resilient the human body is.”

Taylor’s not quite as sentimental about her excess stomach fat, which she rendered down and sent to a tattoo ink maker.

She’s contemplating using the surplus blubber for a tattoo a la an artistic version of project mayhem from “Flight Club.”

This isn’t the first time someone has dedicated “themselves” to their art in this way.

In 2019, Ohio morticians went viral after offering a skin-crawling way to memorialize the deceased: slicing swatches of tattooed skin from their corpses and turning it into artwork for their loved ones.

This article was originally published on New York Post: Lifestyle

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