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:



LAMBAG

This is a little lamb baby that was gifted to me from my 4H enthusiast pal who raises goats. So I guess it's actually a little baby goat.  I still get them mixed up.  Anyway, I had it soft tanned with the intent on making a plush mount that could be cuddled, but once I got it bag I realised it would make an excellent bag. And voila!


I made a carcass cast of the head using a silicone mold, one that I can use again and again.  This is great because I have about 5 other babies tanned and ready to go be future bags.








His little legs are filled, and the torso cavity is left hollow, lined with fabric.










And tassels make everything better, right?



I debuted this bag at a local design event and he made quite a splash.  This piece is definitely a show stopper.  It's also so fun to carry, like a furry little pet you can just keep hugging all night and day.  Better than a purse puppy; you don't need to feed him or take him out to pee!

This is by far one of my favorite creations.  I'm eager to create more, sell them and see how my clients take them out into the world.  My new signature piece!





Lamb Fetus Hat, proper.

 I finally got around to shooting my lamb fetus hat, now that it's back from Maryland. Unfortunately I had some issues with the flash and I'm not a very skilled photographer so the pictures are somewhat lackluster.  I'm still sewing the lining into it, which I'll post photos of later, with these, when I list the piece on etsy. For now, though, I wanted to share this very special little gem with you.




























Tell Frankie I Said Hi: Secret 1st episode!

My amazing friend Carmen was gracious enough to let me interview her about being preggers for my first ever podcast, and she bore with me thorugh the bumps and whatnot.  After I get a little better at this podcasting process I'll get this operation up on itunes but for now I'm using soundcloud and this first one is on Podbean.  It's neat to hear Carm's pregant past self from a few weeks ago now that she's a new mom.   Give a listen, won't you?
CLICK HERE FOR EPISODE 1 OF TELL FRANKIE I SAID HI



BORROWED POST: THE FARMER'S HUSBAND, ORKA

Please read the following post I borrowed from The Farmer's Husband, telling the story of Orka and the unexpected end to her charmed and lovely life.  This is the part where I step in; stay tuned for more stories of Orka to come as she is immortalized through love, art, and taxidermy:

 

Orka

April 24, 2013

Orka, one of our Icelandic ewes, began to show signs of lambing two Sundays ago. Her bag (udder) was full and she was becoming restless and aloof. A total of nine goats and sheep had successfully given birth so far this season, and she was to be the tenth. Well they say that one out of every ten births proves to be problematic, and if you are at all squeamish, I suggest that you NOT scroll down any further.
WARNING: RATHER GRAPHIC IMAGES BELOW
Orka, in the front here, was by far the most striking of all our sheep
Orka, in the front here, was by far the most striking of all our sheep
Sheep really don’t require any intervention during the lambing process. We do not separate the lambs at birth, as we do with the goat kids, and it is best if the ewes can do everything out on pasture without the stress of us hovering over them.  I went out to check on her after evening chores and everything seemed fine. Her water broke while I was shining my flashlight on her vagina. “Great,” I thought, “We’ll have some more lambs in the morning. Good luck, Orka.” And we went to bed.
The next morning, there were no new lambs. We found Orka lying in the sheep house, exhausted and in pain. She was having contractions but was hardly dilated. Because of last year’s tragic lambing and kidding season, we know exactly what to do in these situations. We reached in, expecting to find a (preferably live) lamb in need of some assistance getting out. But neither of us could feel much of anything. Something wasn’t right.
Her bag was big, purplish blue (not normal), cold (definitely not normal), and very firm. We wanted to relieve some of that pressure in order to make her just a little more comfortable. But when Bailey went to milk her, a foul-smelling, chunky, cloudy, bloody liquid squirted out. We immediately called our friend Cindi, who is not only a goat and sheep expert, but also a professor of animal sciences at the local university. She explained that Orka had gangrene mastitis, that the unborn lambs were probably dead, that the only way to save Orka was to slice open and drain the udder, that if she didn’t die from the whole ordeal (which she likely would) that she could never be bred again, and that we needed to call our vet right away.
Our vet echoed all of that, but told us that if we wanted to bring Orka in to the clinic, she would be able to see her in 3 hours or so. We had two options: 1) Make her suffer for a few more hours before loading her into the back of the pickup and spending hundreds of dollars at the vet, where her udder would be sliced open, her lamb fetuses extracted, and then she’d be put on a serious course of antibiotics, which would likely not keep her from dying anyway; or 2) put her down.
We have a gun, but it’s not the right kind of gun for shooting a sheep. Plus we have no idea how to use it. So we called a neighbor friend who kindly came right over and put her down for us. When we called the vet to cancel the emergency appointment, she told us that we had made the right decision.
We then called Cindi, just to follow up and let her know how everything had transpired. As it turned out, she was teaching an Animal Sciences Lab that afternoon, and asked if we would be interested in bringing in Orka so that she could conduct a necropsy with her students. So sure enough. We loaded up the carcass after brunch and headed to campus, where, under the sun on a beautiful Spring day, Cindi disassembled Orka in front of 25 or so students. Not only was it a very rare opportunity for them to see gangrenous mastitis, but she also had two unborn lambs that had come to full term.
IMG_3369
The first thing Cindi did was remove the udder, seen in the above photo.  The little light pink patch is what healthy udder tissue looks like, everything else is toxic gangrene. On the bottom of the udder, she found a deep cut. Orka was short-legged and her udder nearly dragged on the ground when she walked; she had apparently punctured it on something–likely an unnoticed piece of wire sticking out of the ground–the wound became infected and gangrene developed very quickly.
IMG_3373

The two unborn ram lambs were big boys (nearly 12 pounds each). We got to see all of Orka’s stomachs, her reproductive system, and well, everything else.
We are so happy that she was able to be used for educational purposes and feel really fortunate to have been able to experience something like that. There happened to be a butcher taking the class; he was able to comfortable and cleanly remove the legs and head. The legs and lambs were put in the freezer for our dear Beth at Diamond Tooth Taxidermy. Maybe she’ll make some more hoof candleholders or fetus hats? And we are going to have the head mounted for our dining room. She was so beautiful, and now her beauty will live on forever.

pssssst: hi.

What's that I hear?  Is it the pitter pater of little hooves in my studio?







Behold Lambie, the extremely young baby Katahdin lamb whom I had been referring to as a baby goat until last month.  Clearly I need to do some boning up on my animal husbandry.



Here is Lambie in tanned skin form back when he still was a goat to me:











I'm also not sure if Lambie is a he or a she.  I don't think I properly sexed him when I skinned him ("what kind of taxidermist IS this chick?" I can almost hear you thinking...) but I like to think of him as a tender little boy who prefers the color pink.  This is why he chose to wear the vintage pink velvet flower cage veil to keep the shivers off his delicate tresses.







Lambie was part of a brother/sister combo, born together but one thriving more than the other, the latter being my guy here.  The famer-lass who tended to this flock opted to donate her specimen to Diamond Tooth and for that I am eternally grateful.







Since no lamb forms are readily available, I used a fawn form which I then altered drastically in size and head shape.  I used glass cat eyes which I turned sideways to mimic the sheep's horizontal pupils.











Lambie has become something of a mascot around the studio; he's even slated to be the subject of a painting next month.  So proud of my little guy!  Eventually he'll need a forever home though; please contact me if you or the luckiest person you know might want to love this little darling forever and ever.



Bunny Cheese

I recently received a fresh baby bunny from a friend.  Apparently her pet rabbit's litter was naturally thinning itself out,  or her cat snuck into the nursery.  Either one.  Regardless, look how cute!







Needless  to say, my friend was crest fallen.  She just wanted me to take the specimen off her hands.  I couldn't stop marveling at how adorable this little guy was.  I've only seen creatures this sweet in Disney movies.







I hope I can do him justice in the final mounting stage.  Such petite faces are still a challenge for me, especially when I'm trying to capture just how precious it is.  I'm still not entirely sure what type of mount this will become but it has to be very very special.



Skinning him was delicate, as expected, and I accidentally punctured the dermis several time due to man handling. It's nothing I can't sew up but what really threw a wrench in the gears was this little guy's stomach and its contents.  I always try not to cut through the skin and into the guts because it's never a non-mesy affair, but sometimes the skin is so thin I can't help it.  Plus, the bunny's belly was bloated and kind of in the way.  As I worked the skin off the side, the pressure forced some of the contents of the stomach out and I almost dry heaved.



It looked like ricotta cheese:



* not actual contents because I was too grossed out to think of getting a shot.  But it looked JUST LIKE THIS.



The stomach puncture was like an exploding zit and there seemed to be no way of avoiding all the white puss splooging out onto my work table.  The amount of it was shocking to me and I squealed as I wiped it up with towel after towel.  Shortly though, I noticed that there was no odor.  If this were some sort of massive infection; the equivalent of a zit or cyst (full of dead white blood cells), then it would've stunk like halitosis.  Or like death, at the very least.  However, there was no such scent.  I calmed down a bit and allowed my nose to take in some of it.



Ricotta.  It actually smelled like ricotta cheese. How bizarre  But then I thought about it- it was a baby, the stomach likely full of mother's milk (quite full, I might add, that this little piggy was a piggy) and had maybe somehow curdled during digestion.  Out of curiousity I looked up ricotta cheese and how to make it online.  Sure enough, many cheeses are made with a complex of enzymes known as Rennet which is found in the stomachs of calves.  According to Wikipedia:



Rennet (pronounced /ˈrɛnɪt/) is usually a natural complex of enzymes produced in any mammalian stomach to digest the mother's milk, and is often used in the production of cheese. Rennet contains many enzymes, including a proteolytic enzyme (protease) that coagulates the milk, causing it to separate into solids (curds) and liquid (whey). The active enzyme in rennet is called chymosin or rennin (EC 3.4.23.4) but there are also other important enzymes in it, e.g., pepsin or lipase. There are non-animal sources for rennet that are suitable for vegetarian consumption.



Fear not, vegetarians!  Mass produced cheese is made from alternate methods these days  and the only folks still using sheep and cow stomach are for the most part artisan cheese makers in Europe.  Also, I don't think cheese was ever made inside of the animal's stomach as the method described in the Wiki article states that stomaches were cut up and soaked in a brine of sorts, with the raw milk.



Hmmm.  If I'd had my wits about me I would've saved it and tasted the first ever sample of in-stomach-curdled-rabbit-ricotta!



Or at least fed some to my cats.

Duck, Duck.....Gosling.

A few weeks ago I got a call which I'd been expecting, regarding an unusual pet a friend of mine was keeping.  It seems that his baby goose, or gosling, had passed away quite randomly.  My friend had found the little guy while out on the water one day; he was paddling around on his own and took to his new human companions well.  So well in fact, that they brought him home.  For the next few weeks this little goose dined on gourmet and locally grown fare, enjoyed plenty of love and lived what could be considered a very charmed life.  I had expressed my desire to mount the specimen once the time had come, however it came sooner than all of us expected.  One day he just croaked.  And this is where I come in.



I'm starting to think  should explore the business of pet taxidermy.  It's an aspect of the trade many people inquire about, and an extremely divisive topic in the taxidermy world.  Most taxidermists look down upon pet-mounting; in fact the first rule in my old taxi-text book was to never, ever stuff a pet.  The main reason for this is that you can't recreate the exact creature that was known and loved by its human.  I often look at my own cats and wonder if I could ever come close to replicating the little wrinkles in the nose, the expressiveness in the eyes and exact position of the mouth.  I don't know if I could, but I am so intimately familiar with the way my two cats move that if I were succeed on any creatures if would be them.  (Sometimes though I look at the way my one younger cat lays about, and the bizarre angles he puts his neck and limbs into just screams Bad Taxidermy).  If I were to attempt this on a stranger's pet, however, it would be nearly impossible, seeing as I'd never met the pet in its living days.  Sure, a photo would help but I have another, slightly twisted idea.  Suppose you know that you'll want something creative done with your animal after it passes: contact me while it's still living and we'll arrange for several visits in which I can get to know the pet, the way it moves, etc.



I understand this all sounds very far-fetched but I'm just throwing it out there.  Also, I like the idea of incorporating fantasy into the pet-mount.  For instance, this baby goose I've been commissioned to do:



He will be embellished with some angel (white pigeon) wings and a halo, and ultimately serve as a Christmas tree topper.  Does this sound tacky?  Perhaps, but I think if executed with taste could actually be a sincere and touching tribute to a lovely creature who brought happiness to many people.  This is a genre I'd very much like to explore further with pets.



Back to the goose.  I was excited to handle the premature skin, as it was still covered in down and had yet to grow any real feathers.  The wings were very much under-formed, rather cute actually:







Upon skinning I was treated to a relatively fat-free creature.  Geese are known for their ridiculous fat content, and after working with virtually nothing but ducks for so many weeks it was a relief to just find skin.  Greasy and paper-thin, delicate skin, but I'll take that over spending hours trimming fat away any time.  The humans were curious as to what had brought on the little guy's demise, but I didn't really see anything out of the ordinary.  While cleaning out the skull and beak I noticed some food still in his mouth, so I suppose choking is a possibility, but I don't know much about goose behaviour so I really can't say.  I think the fact that he was alone when they first adopted him speaks volumes, as in there may have been a reason his parents left him behind.



 



More to come!
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