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:



And I'm TALON You...

Time has been skipping and speeding up quite magically over here at Diamond Tooth.  Maybe I'm not tapping into the voodoo magic of these new chicken talon charms correctly; it would be behoove me to figure out how to slow things down a bit.











Perhaps you'll have more luck.  Behold a slew of new charms; photographed yesterday, while the remaining batch continues to cure on the vine.



[caption id="attachment_1532" align="alignnone" width="1024" caption="Large talon with vintage locket"][/caption]



[caption id="attachment_1533" align="alignnone" width="1024" caption="Fully functional locket whose photo would YOU slip in?"][/caption]



[caption id="attachment_1534" align="alignnone" width="1024" caption="Large talon with original ID cuff still in tact"][/caption]



[caption id="attachment_1535" align="alignnone" width="1024" caption="Small talon with real jade stone"][/caption]



[caption id="attachment_1536" align="alignnone" width="1024" caption="Large mega-feathered talon with glass bead"][/caption]



[caption id="attachment_1537" align="alignnone" width="1024" caption="Look at those feathers!"][/caption]



[caption id="attachment_1538" align="alignnone" width="1024" caption="Medium talon with vintage pink sparkle charm."][/caption]



[caption id="attachment_1539" align="alignnone" width="1024" caption="Medium talon with antique unicorn charm"][/caption]



 



Although I have no magic training and make no claims about the voodoo potency of these charms, I'm a firm believe that teh energy I'm putting into these pieces (and all my creations for that matter) can only bring positive vibrations to the recipient.  It's the same concept as never serving food to someone when you're angry for fear of poisoning them.  Bad vibrations, man.  Just for fun:



"The chicken foot is traditionally used in Southern rootwork and "New World Voodoo" (ie, New Orleans Voodoo) for protection with an undercurrent of "scratching back" against those people, entities, or energies that would harm you."



I'm a believer.



All of these feature chains ending in a lobster claw fastener, to easily secure it to your necklace, hair doodle, rearview mirror, purse, window, etc.  If any of them strike your fancy, don't hesitate.  Your voodoo charm is waiting for YOU!

DIRTY BIRDS









I searched for a song about "dirty birds" prior to writing this and I discovered that there is not only a song by that name, but a dance to go with it!  OH, Atlanta, you slay me.  I got a kick out of the video; there are some hilarious background folk featured throughout.



Anyway, the video and that brief preamble are to serve as a slight buffer between you and the visual content of this post, as it's a little dirty.  I figured I've got enough street cred as a taxidermist to have earned your trust, so I feel OK writing about the less glamorous aspects of this craft that make so many people queasy.  If you cannot stand the site of flesh or bone, then please abort now.  But if you're feeling brave, take my hand baby birds, I'll feed your head for a minute.



I had two hunters drop off birds last week.  One was what I  initially identified as a female Bufflehead but upon closer inspection actually turned out to be a female Blue Wing Teal.  The other bird was a white pheasant.



Two gorgeous specimen, although you wouldn't know that from the insides of them.



Let's start with the duck.  Ducks are notoriously fatty.  There is an odor to them that tends to hang on for a few weeks even after they're tanned, dried and mounted.  I have no qualms with the odor, but the fattyness can get quite tiresome.  You see, I don't yet possess a fleshing wheel, so I have to cut all the fat off by hand.  Being someone who actually finds solace in mundane repetitive tasks, I usually don't mind this but I've been pushing my poor paws to the limit lately and there is a soreness creeping in that only people who work with their hands could begin to understand.



Whining aside, I do like trimming fat.  I marvel at it.  I mean, this is what flavor comes from.  But my first instinct is to recoil in disgust if it gets all over my hands or my face.  Why is it gross to touch this substance that is so completely universal-I have it, you have it, all your dogs and cats have it, trust me they do- and it's the common denominator of all things delicious?  This fat is the real deal.  It's not oleo or some bogus hydro corn science project, its bona fide, warmth providing, lifesaving fat. I am getting better at embracing the stuff however; it doesn't hurt that after handling it I've got smooth Palmolive hands for hours, even after scrubbing with soap!



[caption id="attachment_1467" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="Official degreasing diagram"][/caption]



As you can see from my very official chart above, duck skin is tricky. It's simple to see where trimming needs to be done, but the actual skin is like a thin film of tissue paper underneath all that fat.  It's extremely easy to cut too far and make "duck doilies".  Needless to say, I'll have quite a bit of sewing to do on this skin before I mount it.



The spoils of duck lipo:



[caption id="attachment_1468" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="Foster THIS"][/caption]



After that, its into the tanning solution and a quick rinse.  Whenever I pull birds out of the water, I'm just a tad dubious that I'll be able to turn such a sad looking rag into something as beautiful as its original form, but it always works out.







Onto the pheasant.  As is often the case with game foul, this guy was just riddled with bird shot. Both legs were all but shattered.



.



Lots of holes:



[caption id="attachment_1473" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="B, B, B, B, BULLET HOLES!"][/caption]



It's not just a matter of holes but picking the shot out of the flesh, since I feed these birds to my animals and I don't want my little babies choking on lead.  The feathers kind of clump together around the shot, some still with quills in the skin, some buried in the meat.  It's not unlike pulling weeds:



[caption id="attachment_1474" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="one..."][/caption]



[caption id="attachment_1475" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="two..."][/caption]



[caption id="attachment_1476" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="three..."][/caption]



[caption id="attachment_1477" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="four..."][/caption]



[caption id="attachment_1479" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="and PULL!"][/caption]



Here's one leg.  The bone was totally broken, which can be hazardous for little taxidermist fingers working flesh off of them.  I have the scrapes to prove it.  The other leg was completely obliterated.  This means more work down the line when it comes time to mount, but this all comes with the territory.







Post bath, also looking like a wet rag, albeit one covered in beautiful feathers.







Like I said, I use this meat to feed my cats.  If a hunter just wants a trophy mount and doesn't care to eat what he catches, I will gladly play vulture and use whatever meat I can for my four-legged brood at home.  Obviously this applies to game and not roadkill.  In this case, I cut off what I could and placed it all in the crock pot with some chicken stock.  A few hours in there and presto!  Warm cozy Sunday dinner was served to my little ones:







And that's the word, Bird.

Twenty for Twenty, # 4: Georgia Pellegrini

When I first heard of the mythical creature called Georgia Pellegrini, I thought "NO WAY."  It was as if someone took all the things I wanted to be in an alternate life and made them into her.  Does that sound creepy?  I hope not.



I came into contact with Georgia through her brother, whom I met via mutual friend.  He told me (and rightfully so) that somehow, someday, our worlds should collide.  So I looked her up.  DANG.  She hunts.  She prepares exquisite meals out of what she hunts.  And she looks amazing while doing all of it:











While so many of us (myself definitely included) are experts at talking the farm to table, local slow food talk, she is living it.  And writing about it.  Her first book, Food Heros, details the noble endeavor of 16 food artisans from around the globe striving to honor their respective culinary traditions.  Her second book, Girl Hunter, is out now and in it she shares the stories of sourcing all her own ingredients for a great meal.   I am starting to feel like a sixth grader writing a book report so I'll just sum up my geekery with a simple "Shes rad."  I hope someday to do some of the things Ms. Pellegrini is doing, with as much gusto and panache.



Another great thing about this gal: she's approachable.  When I initially contacted her about this project, she was completely receptive and eager to participate.  I knew she would be a bit different to design for, given that she is constantly on the go and leans toward all things practical.  What I'm trying to convey is, Georgia isn't wearing a large feathered headpiece out in a field while trying to shoot a turkey.  So I made her a brooch, imagining that she could pin it to the lapel of a blazer or on the band of a small, sensible cap.







The foot is from a chicken which was once part of my friend Bailey and Thomas' flock, and it's wedged tightly into the brooch base along with feathers of pheasant, chicken and peacock.  There is also the tip of a red squirrel tail in there, just for fun.







The puffy soft feathers are from  the tail area (read: butt) of the chicken; these have been a favorite of mine lately because they have a fur-like appearance and move so nicely with the wearer.  I'm constantly astounded by the range of color, shape and texture of the fathers all coming from one bird.



For an embellishment on the brooch base, I found an old pin from my street gift collection that apparently was some prize or medal for 25 years of faithful service in the state of Georgia.  Perfect!  I filed down the back, bent it to the correct shape and attached it to the brooch.







I left the talon colors as is and didn't fuss too much with the natural state of the elements in this piece.  Although we've yet to meet, Ms. Pellegrini strikes me as a true creature of her own element, grounded and proud of it.



Cheers, Georgia!



The Patron of Christmas Tree Farms.









I've met Kathy.  She really is the patron of whatever team she's playing for.  Super classy lady.  I wonder if I can be the Tanqueray of taxidermy?



Sure, why not.  One of the players complimented our headwear during the lap; you can hear me thanking him.



 







In case you couldn't tell, yet another Sunday was well spent by yours truly taking in a match at Brandywine Polo Club!  I gathered up two of my favorite gals and tried out two new fascinators on them.



 



Pearl is sporting a piece fashioned from one of the vintage hats recently gifted to me; I used a chicken of the frizzled breed with spiky, featherless feathers.  Perfect for holding jewels!







 



I attached a quail head-piece I've been working on to the "muppet" fascinator from the vintage set.  None of these pieces are finished quite yet; this was a test run on some works in progress.  I'm not entirely happy with this one.







 



Action!







 



This was the first time that I lazed about on my blanket during halftime, opting out of the traditional divot stomping.  My belly was full of black licorice, champagne and happiness.  AS you can CLEARLY see from this photo there was a horse-drawn carriage on the field, complete with a heralding trumpet player announcing its arrival.  That carriage actually seems to show up at every match; I think I need to start rubbing elbows with that lot.







If I could only get up.







 



Here is Maria trying to cut the end off a particularly sharp spiky feather vein that kept poking Pearl in the neck.  I had no intention for the hat to be so dangerous.







Did I mention she's using the serrated-edge mini-blade on a wine opener?  After two bottles of champagne that can be hazardous.



Alas, all ended well.  We stuck around and I talked hats with some of the club members; we nibbled on strawberries and called it a day.



A very, very fine day.



A little behind.

As anyone who works in a creative field knows, an artist must occasionally supplement her income with tedious, unglamorous jobs such as working gigs on cruise ships down in the West Indies every now and again.   Tiny violins, I hear them.



The down side is, while living on board said cruise ships, no taxidermy gets done. Virtually nothing gets done, since I live in a room the size of a pocket and internet connections are sparse and sporadic at that.  So my apologies, all five of you who read my blog and have perhaps checked in over the last two weeks wondering where I am.  I've been busy acquiring a tan that would make the cast of Jersey Shore green.



Upon my return to dry land,I have hit the ground running, so to speak.  I am in the midst of some prep (some, HA!)  for a really big-time dream project with a deadline that is making me laugh or cry depending on what state of self-medication I am in, I have a thousand or so loose ends to tie up for a performance piece next weekend (I'll post about that shortly) and I'm rehearsing for an aerial dance gig just three weeks away!  Yes, I am a circus performer also.  Someday, my passions will merge together and this will all make sense.  For now, here are some images of samples I made for my mega-project that may or may not be a secret at this point.  Feast your eyes:



 







 







 







 







 







 







 







Next up: more details on my collaborative performance piece with local artist Andria Biblioni.



Between then and April 9: reruns.

Post School blues...or blacks.

I've been back from school almost a month now, and have been working on getting my studio in order and practicing  my skills on whatever specimen I can get my paws on.  The racoon hide I tanned is now taxied onto the proper form, climbing up a wall and almost finished.  Pictures to come.



I received a box of 8 starlings in the mail from a fellow taxidermist with a trigger-happy son.  Starlings can be a real pest to anyone occupying vast spreads of land so it's not generally frowned upon to assist in population control, so to speak.



He barely charged me anything for the birds (the shipping cost exceeded the bird quote) so I'm comfortable experimenting with them.  I decided to try dying the skin of one, to eliminate the white/brown spots and create a completely black little bird.



The process was kind of trial and error, but I think I've come up with a successful way to alter the color of the bird without compromising the preservation.  What excited me the most was not only the success in eliminating spots, but the way the iridescence was really brought out.











Oh!  And more good news.  Much to the ease of my conscious, I have discovered that starlings are not only edible but revered as quite delicious.  It's said that black bird pie was actually made with their smaller and spotted relatives.  So far I've ony found one recipe online but it looks good to me:

Starling stew with olives



A recipe from Calvin Schwabe's "Unmentionable Cuisine."



Animals: Love them or hate them, we also eat them. And nothing better illustrates just how many of them we eat (and how thoroughly) than Calvin Schwabe's giant compendium of recipes from every corner of the world, excerpts of which are appearing in Salon this week, Monday through Friday -- one recipe each day on the Life and People sites -- by kind permission of the University Press of Virginia. This one comes from Turkey where it's known as "Karatavuk yahnisi."



"Fry some chopped turnips and carrots. Add a little stock and a glass of red wine. Place some starlings or other small birds in the pan. Add a thin purée of boiled potatoes mashed with beaten eggs, dry mustard, and some stock and a little beer. Cover with stock and cook for about 30 minutes, adding some ripe olives near the end."



Perhaps this will be a dish for Easter.  Stay tuned!
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