Forensic Facial Reconstruction Sculpture Workshop at Texas State University

The Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State (FACTS) is located on the campus of Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. FACTS is the largest forensics research facility in the world that includes an outdoor human decomposition research laboratory (body farm). I spent the past week completing a certificate in Forensic Facial Reconstruction Sculpture. The program was held on the Freedman’s Ranch at Texas State University and taught by renowned forensic artist, Karen T. Taylor. This experience was unlike any other hands-on workshop that I have attended. I have admired and followed the work of Karen Taylor for over a decade. I never imagined having an opportunity to study under the auspices of someone at her caliber. She is highly respected by her peers and has set standards in the field of forensic art through her work and mentorship. The workshop attendees included law enforcement, forensic artists, anthropologists, and academic researchers from across the United States and Canada. I was able to apply the knowledge that I acquired through my academic training in both anthropology and archaeology into this workshop. While in high school, I attended weekend classes at the College for Creative Studies and participated in the Youth Artists’ Market where I sold my portrait sketches. I received a book shortly after graduating entitled “Forensic Art and Illustration” by Karen T. Taylor as a birthday gift. Fast forward to this year when the opportunity presented itself to work with the forensic artist who influenced my career trajectory. It was such an honor and privilege to work with Karen T. Taylor for a week, a transformative week that has been a full circle moment. Photos cannot completely convey the difficulty and precision required for forensic facial reconstruction but I plan to continue to hone my skills so I can apply these techniques into my archaeological and genealogical research.

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