Diamond Tooth Taxidermy

Exquisite Taxidermy Art and Design

© 2013 Diamond Tooth Taxidermy
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About Beth Beverly


I am a State and Federally licensed taxidermist who graduated from the Pocono Institute of Taxidermy in 2010 with high marks. I have a deep respect for this craft and those who strive to preserve it.

It is my pleasure to work on any trophy mount, be it a shoulder, life-size, rug, or fish.

I accept custom orders for fantasy mounts, wearables, and bridal hair pieces.

Sculptural mounts and hats are available for rental provided they are in stock at time of inquiry.

Contact me describing your wish and I will be delighted to make it so.


Diamond Tooth Taxidermy Blog:



Vetabrae Necklace

I've been in possession of a bag of fox vertebrae for some time now; about a year ago I articulated a few with the intention of making a cool neck piece.  I finally finished it today.

Once I'd decided the exact design, I needed to source the beads and hardware.  The beads are glass and I wore them all around my wrists for a week to infuse them with my own energy and also because glass beads around my wrists feel so good.


 This necklace is meant for a long dainty neck, as you can see in these photos its a wee snug on me.  Perhaps there is a young elfin lass who this piece is calling out to?





 The clasp is a no frills, magnetic slide:
 Magic.

C'est Tout!

Self Portrait, the Wordy Version

If you've been following the show Immortalized, you most likely saw this coyote on last week's episode titled "Self Portrait":
Here are some photos I shot of Ruby the Coyote in my studio before shipping her out, back in October (Super storm Sandy to be exact- I remember because I rode my bike to Kensington that day with a pile of bubble wrap balanced on my handle bars, making every effort not to sail off into the sky)

Also, due to the time constraints of television, much of my verbal presentation to the judges explaining my interpretation of the theme wound up on the cutting room floor so to speak.  I am quite fond of this piece and felt strongly about my presentation so why not share it with you now?  Also, I incorporated some new techniques (new to me) into this mount and thought the nuts and bolts might interest you.
I wanted a coyote that looked fierce.  Menacing and vicious, lunging at any perceived threat.  Angry, hungry and tough as nails.  This is how I often feel, as an artist trying to follow her heart and blaze my own trail in a world where nobody gave me an instruction manual, and acceptance (from family, self and others) has been hard to come by.
Often times, following one's own dreams and making art a full time job presents a life riddled with frustration, poverty and hardship.  My nails are torn and atrocious from hands that take a tremendous amount of abuse.  Manicure?  Maybe when I'm dead and lying in my coffin* my hands will be still enough to warrant one.   My back is a tightly woven tapestry of knots from the internalized stress of hustling for ways to pay this or that and still maintain a fairly decent life.  I've made a shitload of sacrifices to pursue my art and sometimes I'm jealous when a car full of warm, dry folks cruises by me as I huff down Delaware ave on my bicycle in the bitter cold.  That said though, this is the life I chose and the physical, temporary challenges are beyond worth it to feel the way I do when I wake up in the morning and know I am free to be exactly who I am.

Along with feeling snarly and fierce, I think I project this image as well.  I can be intimidating to strangers who only see bleached hair, combat boots and torn clothes on the chick blowing snot-rockets onto cars parked in the bike lane.  Just like the ridge hair that stands up on this coyote's back because she's threatened and needs to appear larger than she is, a good portion of my bravado is making sure nobody mistakes me for a doormat.  


Here's a look at what I started with for this mount: I used a commercial coyote manikin and began with cutting it in half  to hollow out the chest cavity where the kitten would sit.  Once this was done, the two halves had to be rejoined.  I used a strong adhesive and reinforced the seam with wooden skewers.

 

I lined the inside with a hardening epoxy that would create a uniform and solid surface upon which I could lay lights and rhinestones.


Now the form was ready to be wired for electricity.  My friends over at Scenery First helped me out here- we wired up the proper length of cord to an LED light track, soldered it together and ran it down the along the inner thigh of the form.  It terminated in a jack that would be plugged into the other half of the cord upon installation, which was nestled into the steel base (also created by Scenery First)





I aimed the lights inward in order to illuminate the crystals and fill the chest with light.

 



                                                                         Tada!




Which brings me to the kitten element of this self portrait.  Being autonomous and pursuing my dreams without any higher power to really tell me how can be scary.  Being a woman in a typically male dominated trade has left me feeling tiny and alone at times, not unlike this kitten who is the poster child for vulnerability.  This particular specimen was a barn kitten, brother to Cookie Salad, another barn kitten who is thriving and well up at my darlings' farm in Cobelskill NY. Like most kittens, he was adorable and craved touch, connection.  This I can relate to.  I believe many of us can.  We long for human connection but it can be such a tightrope walk as we attempt to avoid getting hurt.  Most of the shitty behaviour in the world can be attributed to our fear of being hurt by someone else, I think.

I've embellish med my presentation a bit here but that's the gist of what I stood and said in front of the judges on the show.  Another part that didn't make it to air but I find quite fascinating is how I resolved the issue of not having a form to use for the kitten hide.  What I wound up doing was my first carcass cast, which I now swear by as far as making custom forms.
First I made a negative mold by pouring a latex solution into my container.  The kitten carcass was inside, frozen into the desired position.



The tricky part was time.  The solution needed at least 6 hours to set, and this carcass would start thawing as soon as I took it out of the freezer.  I could only hope that it wouldn't slump out of position as the hours passed.  
The moment of truth:
  


Perfection!  It reminds me of Hans Solo trapped in whatever that stuff was.

 
Here's the negative mold. The carcass has been removed and the next step is taping the mold back together inside the container and pouring expanding foam inside to make the positive mold.



Classic first timer's blunder- I used way too much foam!

It took over an hour to chip and chisel away into the mold and dig out this little gem.  Completely worth it though!   Look at the detail on his little ribs!


After altering the form a little bit, and prepping it, I taxied the skin on.  
In case you were wondering, yes, from time to time I cry while I work- especially when the subject it little baby animals.

 
Meanwhile, I was lining the inside of the coyote chest with Swarovski crystals.  This took fifteen hours at least.

 


One of the last steps was fitting the stand with custom cut mirrored acrylic.  This was to convey the surprise underneath the coyote while keeping everything at the  correct eye level.  As the viewer approaches, they see the coyote with all the chandelier beads, mimicking intestines,  dripping down and a burst of light form her chest.  The beads draw the eye down to the mirror which reflects the kitten above.  This entices the viewer to then approach and look directly underneath. 




Hi!




                                                                     C'est tout!






*That scenario will never occur because I intend to be cremated.









































Rogue Recap









I treated my husband assistant and I to a little weekend jaunt out to Los Angeles last week to attend the opening reception of the biennial Rogue Taxidermy Show at La Luz de Jesus Gallery, and while it's been written up, tweeted, and shared in many places I can find online, I do feel it is my duty to at least jot a little down here in my own blog about it (even if it's mostly links to other sites who did a much better job than I documenting the experience).



We flew out on Virgin America which was a delight after having endured too many multi-part flights to LA.  Direct flight?  Cheapest airfare in town and multi-media players for each seat?  SOLD!  So that was pretty neat, and then we landed and it was time to try my hand at driving in LA for the first time.   One word comes to mind: AGGRESSIVE.  It seems like there are just no "Streets" in LA ,even the smaller thoroughfares are four lanes wide.  It's quite efficient though and I noticed an abundance of bike lanes which was encouraging.  It's just a little more difficult to navigate.  The entire system felt like a series of swirls, whereas Philly is a grid.



We got to my friend's house in one piece, however, albeit a little jet lagged.  She came out with us to a Mexican restaurant where I proceeded to throw my ethics out the window and have my first red  meat in months in the form of an all beef enchilada.  I think I was punished for this and other offenses, but more on that later.



The next day we took a drive down Mulholland and looked at all the giant houses. I really don't have the words to adequately describe how I feel about these structures.  It just seems like a dream; I can't wrap my mind around that kind of wealth.







After we descended back down to the land of mortals, we headed to Amoeba records in Hollywood where I purchased the soundtrack to "Blow".  It proved to be an excellent CD for driving down all the long trafficy strips in LA.  Just listen to that Stones song I posted above right now and tell me you wouldn't feel like  a total badass cruising down the Sunset strip in your sexy Ford Fiesta.







That night was the opening reception at La Luz, so I slapped on my finest drag and we all headed out to a French restaurant beforehand for dinner.  This is where A) I stood inches from Erin of The Office after mistaking her for my friend and almost telling her about how we'd be waiting 20 minutes before getting a table, and B) Jim and I ate some raw oysters that I'm pretty sure changed everything.  More on that later.



We mangered and then walked over to the Gallery.  Here are some photos from the opening I borrowed from Lee Joesph's flickr page which is pretty amazing so go check it out.







Those are my hats, standing at attention waiting for Dita Von Teese to come buy them all.  Or Kat Von D.  Or anyone, actually.  These ladies are too beautiful to not have a home.







This was probably the highlight of my evening: meeting these two.  Sarina Brewer I've admired from afar since I first realised other people were doing what I was doing, which is toiling away behind locked doors doing unconventional things with dead animals.  I am a total fangirl; she was basically the trailblazer for chicks doing cool taxidermy.  Plus she's as kind and delightful as one could imagine.  In the center is Vega, who was also showing some pieces that night.  She's super kind and very present in a way that can only be described as West Cost.  They are a different breed of human out there; I often muse about it when I visit and wonder if it all can really be chalked up to differing climes. When I find myself face to face with a West Coast breed, I used wish I could just relax a little, and chill.  Like them.  It's an admirable way of life and a wonderful energy to have.  I am however, a Philly girl.  Born and bred and full of defenses.  It's taken me 34 years to accept it but I wouldn't have me any other way.



After the gallery closed a few of us went to the bar across the street for a nightcap.  When we got back to my friend's house to call it a night, I felt sore and achy.  And freezing cold.  I dismissed it and went to sleep, only to wake up sore all over and still chilly.  Jim was sore as well, plus we both felt like we had the hangover of the century.  This was strange, considering I only had three or four drinks over the course of five hours.  Soon came the stomach cramps but we decided to ignore it and head out for some early morning adventures, like coffee and yardsaling in Silverlake.  I scored a pink Christian Dior turban for $2 and Jim got himself a nice Pyrex bowl for $1.  Not too shabby.  Later on we hit up the MOCA to catch the exhibition curated by Mike Diamond of the Beasties before it came down that night.  We both still felt seriously hung over but kept it up-this was our vacation dangit!  We drove to Malibu and laid on the beach for a few hours which was about all I could do at that point.  Like idiots, we drank more alcohol (hair of the dog?) and felt no better.  We both passed out at 7pm and that was the end of it.  Enter stomach issues too grotestue to describe, made worse by the fact that we were guests in someone's house with only one bathroom.  Needless to say, the flight home on Sunday was almost unbearable.



We were pretty much laid up for that whole week, unable to keep any food in our stomachs long enough to actually digest, until we finally saw a doctor on Friday who put us on antibiotics.  A bacterial infection from the oysters seemed to be the popular theory, but I can't help but wonder if it was the universe punishing me for casting aside the moral high ground I'd declared just a few weeks ago in regard to not eating meat unless I am familiar with its source.  Message received, universe.



Food borne illness aside, it was a great trip and LA is a wonderful town.  I look forward to going back.  Jim took some great shots of the beach and other stuff:







check out his recap here: SNAP BAM SPLAT



Up next: My new studio!!!!!!

Pretty feet, pretty face

I've had these three deer feet from the first deer I ever skinned all by myself, way back last year while I was up in school.  The cape, unfortunately, had some bacteria from exposure (by the time the doe got to me, she had been expired for some time) but I managed to salvage the legs for future use.  I found inspiration in the form of a gift for a couple of dear friends (har har) up in NY who have a deep appreciation for all things art....including the art of looking good.



What we've got here is a  deer hoof with a miniature mirror mounted on the front.  It is to be hung near the door so as to provide one last check yourself spot before heading out for th evening.  Spinach-free teeth?  Check.  No crusty eyes?  Check.







 



I capped it off with some copper tubing and a hen foot (going with the pedi theme)clutching a gemstone.  Garnished with some feathers and voila!  A Christmas present I'm hoping will please.







 



Happy holidays!
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