Mortuary Musing
a mortuary science student's perspective on the study of the dead

Restorative Art

Restorative Art—a class that teaches mortuary science students how to reconstruct a face that has been destroyed! In real life people do not die looking pretty as they might appear on your television shows. In the case of an accident or a tragic situation, a deceased person could be missing a nose, a part of an ear, or about 1/3 of their head. Restorative art teaches students how to recreate the natural form of the skull and face of a person to help give people a comforting memory of their loved one. It is one part class and one part lab.

The class involves a review of information that one would have learned from Anatomy & Physiology. The class consists of two textbooks: Restorative Art and Color and Cosmetics by J. Sheridan Mayer. The textbooks are not fun to read—actually you will most likely develop a headache if you try reading them. When I say headache, I actually mean you will probably want to ram your head into the wall if you try reading them. They are old textbooks with an older writing style. They are not an easy read.

The class also requires The Anatomy Coloring Book by Wynn Kapit and Lawrence M. Elson. The entire book is a coloring book of the anatomy of the human body. The idea is the book is suppose to be a good study guide for students, but I found myself more focused on the coloring than learning about the different anatomical parts within the pages. I was concentrating more on not coloring outside the lines than anything else.

The lab section of the class requires a fake model skull and restorative wax for facial reconstruction. This is possibly the best part of the class. Students learn how to recreate body parts like noses and mouths in relation to their proper form and size. The main project for the Restorative Art lab is each student needs to recreate the head of someone that they know. Students will use pictures of their subject from different angle to help recreate the natural form. It will involve a lot of work, but it should be fun.

Restorative Art teaches a lot of useful information that mortuary science students can use in the future. The only problem is now when I go out in the public I can’t stop studying people’s faces and foreheads. For some reason it always feels like I hit the jackpot when I walk inside a Wal-Mart.


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