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:



Vampyra the Winged Domestic Feline


Meet Vampyra.  She is the beloved feline of a local Philadelphian and has been posthumously winged as per his request.  I think it was a brilliant idea.  She has a very gothy feel.


In life, she seemed to wear a mildly surprised or curious facial expression so I did my best to recreate that.  I wish I had spent more time on her pillow seat, though.  It could use some tassels, for sure, and also tends to want to lean a little bit.


I used wings from a chicken; at first I wanted to use a black rooster but after noticing all the subtle browns and reds in her coat, a pitch black pair of wings would have looked very flat so I opted for a bit more texture, color wise.



Many measurements and carcass casting to make a custom form.






A progress shot of her ears drying.  Despite the carding the ears still gave me some grief.


 Here she is, eternally poised for preflight.




It was an honor, Vampyra.  Charmed, indeed.

From the For No Particular Reason File:Chicken Head Glass Votive Holder


 Here we have a chicken head mounted trophy style onto a plaque, a glass votive holder dangling from his beak.  While burning a candle in this vessel would obviously be a terrible thing to do, it would make a great spare key holder or place to keep your favorite trinkets.  Maybe he can hold some salt for you to pinch off a little bit each time you need to throw some over your shoulder.


 If a luminary element is what you're hell bent on, batter operated LED candles are a wonderful option.

 He is ready to serve you.  Just don't fill this thing to the top with spare change or gold bullion; you may beak his neck.



Ashley's Wedding



Ashley approached me almost a year before her wedding date to talk about bridal & bridal party head pieces.  I believe her words were, "OK, I'm engaged, now I have to go talk to my taxidermist!"-she may or may not have used the word "my" but I like to fancy myself as providing such an intimate service to people that they would refer to me in a possessive fashion, as though part of me belongs to them.  Honestly, after the literal blood sweat and tears that go into each piece I make, part of me literally does belong to them.


Ashley wanted to wear a white lamb head on her wedding day. I told her that I couldn't guarantee it, as I basically work on a "whatever falls into my lap" modus operandi.  We agreed that come March, if I hadn't been able to source a dead or stillborn white baby lamb (perhaps a morbid task to some, to others just another day in the office), then we would start to concoct a backup plan.
March came and went, and just as I was about to chew my nails down to the bed, I sourced a 24 hours-lived lamb from a farm in Colorado.  Things really do always work out if you just let them. For me things always seem to work out literally at the last possible second, every time.

I got to work immediately as soon as Lambette arrived and skinned her, then made a mold of the head:
The mold was then cast and I test fit it on a head form.
And of course then the skin is taxied onto the form:


I use steel headbands for these types of head pieces; even still, bobby pins or clips are needed to keep them in place.  It's not your conventional tiara & veil, ladies.


She wanted very minor embellishment so I harnessed myself and limited the gems to just a few around the eyes. 




I sewed a silver plated comb into the lining for extra security, and used a very special out-of-production brocade that I reserve only for brides.


I wanted to see how it would look with hair so I attempted to give this mannequin a wig up-do, but it falls short. I suppose it's time I got some live models back into circulation.



Oh!  And there were bridesmaids!  Two of them, to be exact.  Both of them totally cool with wearing chickens on their heads.  My kind of gals.  Here is the first one:

There was a color palette that played off the country/farm type of setting where the wedding was held and I incorporated that by selecting birds with all those hues.


And the second one:

I'm having fun incorporating deveined and shaped feathers into my work these days, expect to see much more of it in the future.



Congratulations, Ashley and friends! And thank you for the honor of being part of such a tremendous moment of your life.











Ciao Ciao

Arriving in my studio from Italy by way of Philadelphia import, this Borsalino hat is a classic.  I received it from a painter in my building and held onto it until inspiration struck.  I love men's hats, I love men IN hats, but I also find designing for them to be challenging.  Us gals can get away with anything, in my opinion.  Men still seem to be held up to certain gender expressive fashion standards and are subject to judgment in a sense that women just aren't.  Perhaps one of the only ways we aren't.
This is all simply to say that I proceed with caution with men's accessories.  Usually.  Who am I kidding, I've only made like three men's pieces in my life.  Who cares?
I grabbed this hat and wove my couture taxidermy wand over it to create something for the type of man (or woman) who would want exactly what I made. And voila:





 I felt inspired last week to dig a raccoon tail off a hide I'd skinned, fleshed and tanned months ago and sew it on.  I accented it with a burst of chicken feathers and a small vintage gem.



 While it is technically a men's hat, it's on the small side (size 7&1/8) so it fits a more petite noggin.  Of course ladies look good in these hats (see what I mean?  We can wear anything) as demonstrated by my lovely model here:




 And here's many more photos of this hat in case you didn't get a clear idea yet:







 Listing on etsy now!

Mrs. Friendly

Oh, hello there:


 Meet Mrs. Friendly, the much loved pet chicken of a client who wished to have her immortalized.


 Apparently, Mrs. Friendly was an ornery, no nonsense hen with an intense glare.  She suffered no fools.


 She also had asymmetrical hips, with a pronounced hump above her right hip bone/back area.  I'm guessing this may have caused a limp which must have only added to her cranky old lady aura.

 I altered a manufactured bird form by adding foam to the back section and carving it to match the size and shape of the hump as seen on the carcass, and posed the body to recreate her gimpy stance as exactly as possible, using photographs from life as reference.


 Hump:



 Don't mess with this chick lady hen.







So long, Mrs. Friendly.  Enjoy the afterlife.



Saints and Frizzles


 Meet Saint B Jo Frizzle, a sweet little frizzle Serama chicken I mounted with no idea whatsoever of what his fate would be.  Then I sat down one afternoon, fell into the zone and it all came together. 














  I mounted him in a one legged balance pose atop the base of an antique candle holder, and instinctively went right to the "religious stuff" container in my accoutrement cubby to grab this Catholic relic I've been holding onto for thirty five years or so.
Its a piece of bone from Saint B. Jo. Neumann, a Philadelphia Bishop who founded the first Diocesan Catholic school and was cherished for his ability to take confession in just about any language (His masked and decayed corpse can be viewed currently in the St Peter Apostle Parish on 5th & Girard).  I have always thought this charm was kind of cool and yet it has sat in one drawer or another over the years, unused and underappreciated.


It was a gift to me when I was baptized and while I appreciate the sentiment of passing on a precious relic from one generation to another, I find more significance in incorporating pieces like this into works of art, marrying them with another object to give them new life and new meaning. 
And Lil Frizzle here was silently telling me that he wanted to hold onto this charm for eternity.  So I gave it to him, all the while thinking of a friend/client whom I knew was coming in later that week to find just the right gift for her beau. 

I don't know him very well but I fell into one of those great mental zones where the brain just cedes to the hands and heart and hours later, voila!  She stopped by, approved, and off he went just like that, to go live in his new home.
I've also been working on getting my combs to be a bit more translucent and lifelike.  Ta-Da!

What to wear to Dressage? Or Traffic Court?

Diamond Tooth has you covered.



The Cher:
 Platforms aren't giving you enough height? Fret not, this piece will add a solid 6" to your statuesque figure while framing your face in luxurious iridescent turkey feathers. Made from the saddle part of a wild turkey, fanned out over hand-made buckram band frame, and embellished with vintage studded jewelry and chains.



Death on Two Legs:

For the woman (or enterprising gent) who wishes to never be forgotten. Dress to kill in this vintage buckram frame hat with a taxidermy wild turkey wing swooped around and hugging the head. No nonsense, just outrageous. The spotlight is on you and you alone. 



 The Lydia:
 Thin out the herd of simpletons on a daily basis with a piece like this- only the bravest of hearts will dare approach. Ideal for the young woman who already knows not to suffer any fools.
A taxidermy rooster head swirls into a nestled coil with a horsehair cushion on its underside. He holds a giant pearl in his beak for eternity. The entire piece is anchored to a steel headband, rendering it quite sensible for the young lady on the go, be it cycling, dancing, or levitating with the ghosts of deceased football players.








The Jane:
 The Jane is for a quiet, practical sort of gal who can hop off her cruiser bicycle to deliver a breached calf or present a thesis on the benefits of counter-transference and disclosure in the therapy hour with the same relative amount of ease. She's not a show off, look at me type (not that there is a SINGLE thing wrong with that), she's more of the silent but deadly type. The kind you definitely want on your side.
A taxidermy chicken wing wraps the head of an antique felt cap, embellished with vintage lace detail.






 The Margaret:
 The Margaret is for the reserved but stylish woman; ideal for strolling through an apple orchard to pick apples or simply survey her domain.
The base of this piece is an altered antique velvet cap; a chicken tail & hide pieces frame the front. Embellished with vintage buttons, the amount of provenance in this piece is palpable.




 A Simple and easy to wear piece with maximum impact. A disc of premium, lush iridescent turkey feathers stands straight up, anchored by a steel head band. Sits slightly cocked to one side for asymmetrical hair styling options. Ideal for adding height without making too much of a splash.


Night on The Concorde:
Channel your inner classy and carefree airline attendant with this jaunty and easily beautiful piece. Take your Coffee, Tea or Me with a dash of modern class in a hat that can compliment long flowing locks, or a formal work-appropriate chignon.
Taxidermy rooster wing mounted onto a felt hat base with a silk fringe tassel and fabric bow detail.












Chicken Wing Mohawk:
Add instant height and intrigue to any ensemble and hair style. Taxidermy chicken wings fold into each-other on a hand made buckram frame which is anchored to a steel headband, making an easy to wear (except on windy days!) piece for any gal (or guy) who intends to stop traffic or command a room.



Fox Tail Earcuff and Rabbit Tail Earcuff
The tip of a fox tail dangles from a chain and attaches to the wearer via a sterling silver ear cuff. Instantly dress up any look for the day with this piece, while simultaneously giving yourself something soft to handle during dull moments.
A no brainer




 





Raccoon Baculum Charm Necklace:

 Dare to wear a Raccoon Baculum (penis bone, Texas Toothpick, etc) and see what good juju comes your way. Women have been known to don one while trying to conceive. Gamblers wrap a baculum in a $10 bill, tuck it in their pocket and head to the track to clean up. They are said to generally attract positive energy and spirits, aside from that they are an elegant and beautiful bone to behold. This one is embellished with a genuine Swarovski Amethyst and several snug brass jump rings. Necklace included.





Halo Rose and Araucana Headpiece:





Fabric roses and Araucana chicken hide nestle together onto an antique buckram halo frame to form this playful and romantic piece. A bit Spring-like in appearance perhaps, but the right lady can work this topper any time of year. It's easy to wear and frames the face is a most flattering way.










The Pearl 2.0:




A second incarnation of the original Pearl hat, this one is a bit more compact and snug against the head, ideal for riding horses or traversing the avenue with your best "don't F with me" face.
Very no nonsense.
Taxidermy rooster wing hugs the curve of the cap and a vintage gem holds up a portion of the brim creating a face flattering swoop. Hat base is vintage felt, Stetson quality.






Possum Tail Necklace:





A taxidermy Possum tail curled into an elegant swoop, and capped off with a steel end hangs from a chain at just the right length to flatter any decolletage. Often reviled as undesirable, creepy rodents, Opossum actually have some their own sort of beauty as demonstrated in this piece.





Rooster & Deer Tail Beret:

Meeting a stranger in a cafe for a clandestine exchange? Here's your hat. Elegant and practical, with an amount of flair that will get you noticed by the right people and deter the rest.
Taxidermy rooster hide woven with dyed deer tail swoop around a vintage brown felt beret, terminating in an antique charm.






Rooster Hide Visor Cap:
Make sexy eyes across the arena at that handsome Terrier breeder during the next American Kennel Club event. Dogs and humans alike will be drawn to you in this vintage altered velvet cap with black visor and rooster hide.


The Harvest Queen:
This piece made its way up to Sharon Springs this year and was an honorary guest at the Harvest Festival kicking off an entire 3 days of celebrating all things seasonal, local and organic. Seeing as it's crafted from a taxidermied chicken hide sourced from a farm just down the road in Cobelskill, a repurposed vintage hat base and a handed down magic amber button embellishment sewn on with antique suture thread, The Harvest Queen was a perfect fit. She is full of provenance and positive energy, an asset to any wearer.






The White Witch:
Goes perfect with a glass of champagne and an icy attitude. Altered antique faux fur hat sprouts taxidermy chicken hide and tail from the front top, and is embellished with vintage jewelry. A snug fit, perfect for the Anna Wintour in your life.







Taxidermy Chicken Wing Epaulets:
 I haven't listed these on etsy yet because I'd like to get more shots of them, from the underside explaining method of attachment.  Basically they pin onto the shoulders of whatever the wearer' has on, like a brooch.   If you're in love and don't want to wait, just email me directly at diamondtoothtaxidermist@gmail.com and we'll talk.


Thanks a bajillion to me talented and patient photographer James Coughlin, and the lovely Bell sisters.  Pearl is more than a great model; check out her plethora of other talents here.






New Taxidermy Talon Charms plus a TREAT at the end!


Here are some of the trinkets I've been working on; this is everything I just listed on Etsy, with the exact descriptions listed on that site:


 Taxidermied chicken foot charm, from the very enchanting Silkie breed. These are very special birds, with skin unlike any other fowl. They have an extra toe and the talons are hauntingly long.
Great as a holiday ornament or for home decor, this charm is medium sized (about 7" in length) and delightful to touch.











 Taxidermy Raccoon paw charm with small Swarovski crystal accent. Raccoon paws are enchanting and remarkable in their shape and dexterity. This is a wonderful piece to hang around your neck for holding onto during times or stress or while in deep thought. Channel the energy of the resourceful and imaginative raccoon.
Also great for hanging from a bag, rear view mirror, Christmas tree , candelabra, the list goes on...












 Not all Taxidermy talon charms need to be clutching tings. Some of them are perfect in their own frozen finger expression for eternity. This piece genuine Swarovski crystals on one talon. This piece is on the larger side, measuring about 10" in length.
An ideal holiday ornament, gift, or charm to hang from a dream catcher over your bed to lazily reach up and bat around like a kitten, as you ease into your day.











 Two Large taxidermy chicken feet entwined in an eternal embrace cradle a mammoth costume ring. Talons are painted a metallic brown to compliment their feathers. This piece is on the larger side, measuring about 10" in length and speaks to the more elegant and sophisticated side of talon charms.
Lovely to hand from a Christmas tree or candelabra, perhaps from a door frame to replace that dusty old mistletoe. A magnificent gift for housewarming couples or newlyweds.












 Two Large taxidermy chicken feet entwined in an eternal embrace cradle a vintage functioning locket from a delicate chain. One leg is decidedly more "lady-like" as its emblazoned with a smattering of genuine Swarovski crystals and coated with a high gloss finish to contrast the rough simplicity of the bare leg it clasps.
This piece is on the larger side, measuring about 10" in length and speaks to the more elegant and sophisticated side of talon charms.
Lovely to hang from a Christmas tree or candelabra, perhaps from a door frame to replace that dusty old mistletoe. Put a secret note in the locket for your lover, or pass on as a magnificent gift for housewarming couples or newlyweds.










 Taxidermied chicken feet charm, eternally embraced and cradling a small piece of carved shell. One leg still has its identification bracelet.
Great as a holiday ornament or for home decor, this charm is medium sized (about 7" in length). An ideal gift for newly cohabited or unioned couples.















 The red nails contrasting with the black charm reminds me of my Friday evenings spent combing the racks of Contempo Casuals as a tween at the Granite Run Mall. This large (10" long) taxidermy chicken talon charm holds onto this throwback charm with the ferocity of a Ridley girl about to fight behind the Ruby Tuesday in the parking lot.
An idea gift for your favorite Don't F*** With Me friend to hang from their tree, rear-view mirror, etc.










 This piece is a direct reference to the way Bastian twists his fingers at the breakfast table in the beginning of the movie The Never Ending Story. This film is was beyond influential in my development as a human and I continue to hold its message dear: dream, dream, dream. DO NOT LET THE NOTHING GET YOU.
Like the one grain of sand Bastian is asked to rebuild the Princess's world with after it has been destroyed, this charm flaunts the beginnings of a sparkly new universe on its side. Caress it as you dream; see what manifests.
An ideal gift for you, the dreamer, or the dreamer in your life.











 Taxidermied chicken foot charm, from the very enchanting Silkie breed. These are very special birds, with skin unlike any other fowl. They have an extra toe and the talons are hauntingly long. This particular foot was dyed lavender, and embellished with an old Hollywood style vintage necklace. It will catch the light and reflect in it the most bewitching ways.
Great as a holiday ornament or for home decor, this charm is medium sized (about 7" in length) and delightful to touch.

















Not Listed Yet:



Experimental Raccoon Paw Charm:
 This piece can hang, ideally on your wall.  its hollow enough inside to house a teeny tiny little moss plant or gem.


Large Talon Necklace:
I'm waiting to shoot this piece on a model to show how elegantly it hangs on the human form.  But here is a preview, it's for sale ($128) if you can't wait until the 18th of September when it will be listed properly.








Possum Tail Necklace:

Also not yet listed on Etsy because I am waiting to shoot it on a human model, again, if it strikes your fancy ($138), don't hesitate to contact me.


 




Fox Tail Ear Cuff:
Another addition to my rabbit tail ear cuffs, this little fox tail poof hangs from a shorter chain.  Like all my ear cuffs, the hardware is sterling silver.  Again, this piece will be listed on Etsy after I've shot it on a model, but it pretty much speaks for itself.  If you'd like to purchase ($68) feel free to contact me at diamondtoothtaxidermist@gmail.com
 

Let Dolly Help:

This is a chicken "trophy" mount I named Dolly, simply because that's the name that kept coming to mind when I looked at her.  The boys over at The Farmers' Husband actually passed on a treasured chicken of theirs named Dolly in life; she became a wedding headpiece.  This black Silkie was not named anything in life, to my knowledge, but I digress:



She's a regal gal, her soft fur-like texture contrasted by her vintage diamonds.  I gave her pheasant eyes for no reason other than I think pheasant eyes look best.


This piece was a commission for a very sweet woman who wanted to give it to her niece, who is/was having some issues with toilet training.  Ugh, even that term makes me cringe, and I already typed the p-word and deleted it.  She is having difficulty being comfortable in the bathroom.
Why am I telling you this, you may be wondering.  Here you are then- when the young lady is at her aunt's house, she seems to be just fine and it is attributed to a taxidermy chicken the aunt keeps in her bathroom.  Apparently she likes to gaze upon it and it relaxes her.  I love this notion.

 The aunt figured, maybe if she had a taxidermy chicken of her own in her bathroom at home it would help.  As someone who had her own difficulties at that stage of life, I am so touched by this woman's gesture and was honored to take on this project.


I just hope it doesn't turn up 20 years from now when she sees my work in a museum and becomes so relaxed that she pees her pants.

Actually, that would be kind of magnificent.

Charming

Here's some Friday morning eye candy for you: I just listed all these little beauties on my Etsy page, along with the same descriptions you see below.  For prices or to order, just head over to Etsy or email me directly at diamondtoothtaxidermist@gmail.com.
And thanks!



Taxidermy chicken foot with feathers cascading down to the toes, clutching high end chandelier crystal beads. Great for gazing into and losing yourself in the refracted sparkling light the crystal casts from its many faceted surface. Hang it in your sun room and have the sweetest daydreams. 










 A pair of taxidermy chicken feet in an eternal embrace, clutching onto a salvaged hunk of antique chandelier crystal. Just imagine the dinner parties and life moments this crystal absorbed in its time as a magnificent light fixture. A great gift for newlyweds, eager to infuse a precious object with their own energy. Full of provenance, perfect for hanging in a window and casting spark0les about the room.








Taxidermy Fawn Hoof embellished with an iridescent Swarovski crystal dangles from a delicate chain. So tiny and precious; a great gift for tiny hands with taste beyond their years to channel their own magic into. A sweet and wonderful charm that can hang from a window, a book bag, a belt, dream-catcher, or necklace.
Or just place it under your pillow for sweet dreams. 











 There is no prying this metal backed mother of pearl fan charm out of these talons. A small taxidermy chicken hand holds on eternally, a reminder to keep your dreams and ideals within your grasp. Fan charm reflects a variety of colors as it moves; a great piece for hanging from a purse, rear-view mirror or necklace. Petite and easy to manage, but capable of starting mammoth conversation and ideas.








A taxidermy chicken foot hold onto a piece of beaded chain necklace as it it had just snatched it from the sidewalk and is bringing it to their nest. Perhaps as decor, or a gift for a loved one.
A small, understated and simple charm, this piece is easy to wear on the body as it's very lightweight. The beads are great for antsy fingers to play with, and the talon itself makes for a delightfully unconventional ice breaker.





 North meets South in this piece where a chicken from upstate NY clutches a dos peso coin from Cozumel Mexico. A small piece, great for hanging from a purse or rear view mirror to gaze at and remember we are all connected no matter where we are.
 





 Taxidermy chicken foot clutches a translucent piece of plastic in its talons, salvaged from a jeweler's studio. Still wearing its identity cuff, imagine the stories you can conjure of this bird's life as this charm hangs from your window and the sun shines through the charm.





 Taxidermy chicken foot with feathers cascading down to the toes, clutching high end red chandelier crystal beads. Great for gazing into and losing yourself in the warm heated glow of the deep red crystal. Almost like blood dripping from the talons, its a reminder of the magic that is flowing through us all.





 A taxidermy chicken foot clutching a genuine Sesame Place coin in its talons, sourced from a childhood trip to the park in the artist's own childhood. A wonderful regional souvenir or gift for someone who grew up in the area but may have moved away, this charm bridges the gaps of time and space.


Have a charmed day!

Another Bride in my Lipstick Case-

And Mother Too!



I adore bridal commissions.  I love ceremony, ritual, and acts if significance.  Being entrusted to help dress a woman as she carries herself through these rites is an honor I will never take lightly.

M got married today.  I can safely post these photos her commissioned piece.  She basically gave me carte blanche; the only parameters were keeping her hairstyle in mind (a low chignon on the right side) and adding a nautical flair.
I picked this bird with feathers that naturally curled up and away from its body, making a light and swirly shape that moved in the most fantastic way:


  The mount itself was anchored to a steel band which can be visible or masked by hair, depending on style.  I've yet to see how she wore it.




 




 Some silk knot work, a subtle nod to the nautical locale at which the ceremony was being held.  She was not interested in having a veil, per-se, but I snuck in some subtle antique netting.  Provenance, baby.


 Underside knot detail:


Inside lining.  It felt gauche to stick a big old leather tag with my name on it inside her piece so I opted for one of my more discreet tags.





But wait!  There's more!  What about the mother of the bride? 



 This piece is sort of a reincarnation of an original I made for the same woman a few years back, and it suffered irreparable damage at the paws/mouth of M's dog.  So behold Muriel Blingstar 2.0, this time in the form of a Polish Hen perched atop a felt wide brim hat.
I think the Polish are my favorite chickens to work with, next to Silkies of course:


 Of course she needs accessories.





 I provided a ribbon option for securing the hat to her head.  While its all attached quite nicely and discreetly, one can never predict how blustery those maritime afternoons can be.  Heaven forbid another hat fly off and out of our lives.



Three cheers for true love!  

"OK, who wants to snap the neck?" "ME!"

Last Saturday I hosted my first of two Philly Side Tour workshops and my rag team team of guests/students had a blast with me.  The group comprised of a decent range of backgrounds, from scultptrs to art students and cartoonists and a chef.

 I start each demo as I would skinning a specimen alone in my studio- with a blessing and ceremonial thank you to the animal, and a promise to do my best to honor its spirit.  Here I am burning sage and doing just that:



Onto the skinning.  My crew was eager to be hands-on, so I would show a little step here and there, then pass the bird around for them to take turns with various parts.  Some excelled in the peeling parts, others demonstrated fleshing quite masterfully, while one gal in particular had a flare for snapping the neck.  Turns out she was a mortuary student, go figure.




After skinning has been demonstrated and practiced, we move onto mounting.  Here is the specimen I had set aside for this workshop, a nice tanned white chicken. 
 

We took turns tumbling and blowing him dry before I showed them how to properly wire a form and the chicken to it. 





 After that we all washed our paws and headed in to the main room where I do all my real work.  I showed them what I was working on, projects on deck etc.  Like cow and goat skins in a pickle!





 After that everyone tried on hats and hung out for a bit, discussing this and that.  I have to say, an unexpected and much loved byproduct of my craft is the wide array of characters I get to meet.  I honestly have no idea where else I could connect with so many different and wonderful type of people at once.

The next workshops is on Saturday, July 13.  Some spots remain, reserve yours now for an unusually delightful afternoon!
Discover the Bygone Art of Taxidermy at an Artist's Workshop

I got your HANDS ON experience right here:


As I've mentioned here before, I'm getting more involved with workshops and group engagement in terms of taxidermy.  What has been a deligthfully solitary craft for me all these years is slowly morphing into a social experience as more people gain interest in this practice.  I've actually just finished my first week of private tutelage with a  talented and creative young man who completed his first pheasant mount from scratch under my watchful eye. 
It's exciting to see how may people want to peek behind the curtain and see what taxidermy is all about.  In Brooklyn, the Morbid Anatomy Library hosts a slew of various workshops and educational events ranging from how to mount your own squirrel to setting up your own beetle diorama.  I can now list my own specialty among the roster: How to create wearable taxidermy.
Here's a full description of the workshop:


Event

Wearable Taxidermy Workshop by Beth Beverly
Date: Saturday, July 27
Time: 12  6:30 PM
Price: $150
RSVP Email: diamondtoothtaxidermist(at)gmail.com
This class is part of The Morbid Anatomy Art Academy

Students will be provided with pre-skinned and tanned chicken hide elements (wings, tails, heads, etc) along with millinery hardware and all the glues, threads, chain, and miscellaneous decorative elements to create a one of a kind custom taxidermy headpiece.
Starting with the malleable hide parts, students will be instructed on how to manipulate, fill and and position the feathered sections while anchoring them to the metal hardware using foam mannequin heads (provided) for stability. Millinery accents like netting, crinoline, jewels and metal embellishments can then be added to complete the students' own personal design, finishing off the workshop with instruction on lining the inside and adding a personalized garment tag.
Students will leave with their new wearable piece of fashion taxidermy, along with printed out lesson sheets and sourcing info so that they may employ these new skills for life.



I've already got 6 full birds skinned, tanned and ready to head up to NY next month; I'm using my best and brightest specimen because I truly want to create a dazzling workshop for my students and make sure they take home something truly beautiful.  I even had a Polish Hen ( I rarely get those) but got greedy and decided to keep that one for myself.  Here is a hint at some of the colors/textures I'm offering that aren't Polish hens:




 A nice assortment, and I've still got loads more!  In fact, I'll be going up to the farm to collect some freezer treats from the boys at The Farmer's Husband early next month so who knows what stunning pieces I'll have!

I'm looking forward to this workshop and meeting the folks who are as enthusiastic as me over wearable bio art. I'm also eager to see what other creative minds come up with, left to their own devices.  There's still a few spots left if you are in or near Brooklyn on July 27 and would like your own custom made for you by you piece of wearable taxidermy!  Just email me through my website or go to Brown Paper Tickets to secure your place in class.

This Chicken was Skinned in Front of a Live Studio Audience.



















I recently teamed up with The Wagner Free Institute and author Rachel Poliquin for a Philadelphia Science Fest event called Skinned, Stuffed and Mounted in which Rachel gave a presentation on the history of taxidermy and America's current obsession with it, and I skinned a chicken while discussing the actual nuts and bolts of taxidermy.

 From the Wagner website advertising the event:
Rachel Poliquin
Rachel Poliquin is a writer and curator dedicated to exploring all things orderly and disorderly in the natural world. Most recently, her work has focused on the cultural history of taxidermy. She is the author of The Breathless Zoo: Taxidermy and the Cultures of Longing (Penn State Press, 2012) and ravishingbeasts.com. Her museum work includes “Ravishing Beasts: The Strangely Alluring World of Taxidermy” at the Museum of Vancouver and the permanent Vertebrate exhibits at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum. She is currently writing a book about beavers for the Reaktion Book’s Animal series.
Beth Beverly
Philadelphia’s premiere rogue taxidermist, Beth Beverly specializes in wearable taxidermy. Her hats have won awards at the Devon Horse Show, Brandywine Polo and Radnor Hunt Clubs. Her work has been featured in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, plus galleries such as La Luz de Jesus, Art in the Age, and Michael Vincent Gallery. In 2010 Beverly won "Best in Show" at the annual Carnivorous Nights competition in New York. Currently featured as an "Immortalizer" on AMC's series about competitive taxidermy, she relishes in being photographed wearing her work and defying common stereotypes of taxidermists.
The Philadelphia Science Festival is a citywide collaboration showcasing science and technology every April. Part of a national movement to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers, it builds on Philadelphia’s rich history of innovation with dozens of events at museums, universities and neighborhood libraries. Learn more at PhilaScienceFestival.org.
The Festival is funded in-part by the National Science Foundation and presented by The Dow Chemical Company.

  The Science Festival was a truly fantastic thing to be a part of; I come from a science-heavy family and it's nice to remind people that art and science do not exist exclusively of one another.Here's Rachel, demonstrating her well-polished public speaking technique:


And here's one of the slides from her book. Is was great to watch her presentation; her voice has an entrancing quality to it and her vocabulary is outstanding- a quality I hope to emulate.




Yours truly, getting started.  It's peculiar; I adore being the center of attention and commanding a room, being in front of the camera, etc...yet before I ever get on stage or do anything like this, my hands start to shake and my knees literally get weak.   I'm starting to think this will always happen and never go away, and I'm also starting to think it's not the symptom of me being a scared little girl.



It's my body getting terribly and uncontrollably excited because it knows something very wonderful and fulfilling is about to happen.  I'm good at this, and my body knows it, more than my mind.

If you know me, you know that before I commence skinning any specimen I say a prayer of thanks and burn sage.  The kind folks at the Wagner Institute were considerate enough to let me practice my ritual despite the many ancient and flammable artifacts in that auditorium.


Skinning, and taking questions:

I can't tell you how cool it was for me to work in front of a large projection of myself working.  I think part of my ego exploded a little bit.  I had to force myself to not turn around and look at the screen-it's like catching yourself on a security camera and being completely mesmerized.  My hands were shaking so badly that I actually nicked my finger with the knife and started bleeding, but it apparently wasn't as obvious as it felt.  For all they knew it was chicken blood.












So obviously the event was a success.  It felt great to be part of something that was such a great fit for all involved.  The dream continued next morning when I had the honor of in-studio guesting on a program I have listened to every day for years, Radio Times.  Meeting Mart Moss-Coane was just fucking keen, pardon my French-not-French.  If you missed it or would just like to hear us speaking in hushed tones about all things taxidermy, listen here: Radio Times

From the Radio Times website:
Guests: Rachel Poliquin, Beth Beverly
Walk into any natural history museum and you’ll see the animal dioramas – lions prowling the African veldt, a herd of buffalo on an American prairie, a polar bear towering over a dead seal.  And, in hunting lodges, and even home décor, an animal's head might be mounted on the wall.   For years people have stuffed and mounted animals to display as science, art or a trophy.   This hour, we explore the history and art of taxidermy with RACHEL POLIQUIN, curator and the author of “The Breathless Zoo: Taxidermy and the Cultures of Longing” and BETH BEVERLY, a taxidermist and artist and owner of Diamond Tooth Taxidermy in Philadelphia.


After the Wagner workshop (like a week later, not literally after) , I hosted a group  of mature adults all belonging to a crwew called Mystery Club. 
 

The Mystery Club is in its 30th year of existence and what they do is have an adventure every month that is a complete surprise to all involved except the two who plan it.  This month's organizer, who chartered Diamond Tooth for the day, told me about the first ever excursion they had where a van picked them all up, drove them to NYC where they were instructed to climb up a fire escape and into a building where they were fitted with armored costumes and thrust out onto stage as background characters at the MET for an opera.  I cannot tell you, after hearing this story, how honored I was to have my lil' old taxidermy shop count as a notch in these folks' belts. 
I skinned this chicken in front of them while fielding questions. The only snag was that one woman turned out to be deathly allergic to feathers and had to wait outside the building the entire 2 hours.  I've never wished harder that Kensington wasn't just a little more scenic.


After the skinning demo, I invited everyone to paw through my wares and try on hats. See this Audrey Hepburn looking gal?  Just an hour before this picture was taken she was emphatically declaring that there was no way on earth anyone would ever catch her with a dead bird on her head:


It feels so good to help people open their mind to new things.  Is she not the perfect model for this hat?


Another winner:




My favorite quote of the day: "For the golf course!" (have I told you how much I adore these people?):


And so begins a new road down the path of workshopping.  I have more events scheduled and will be writing more soon; if you've ever wanted a behind the scenes, hands-on experience with taxidermy and animal preservation, here is your opportunity.  It's a dream come true for me to combine a craft that I'm truly passionate about with performing, in a sense.  I promise all who attend, a wonderful and dreamy experience.









It Takes Two to Make an Accident-


And what happy, delicious accidents you will make with these feathered partners in crime atop your head!



I've been working on this small collection of Gatsby-themed hair pieces since February, and have been having a challenging time trying to schedule a shoot with models and my photographer to properly catch them in their best light.  I'm leaving town again on another job though, and am feeling the pinch to broadcast these pieces out to the world since the weather's warming up, pretty hat season is upon us and the movie which inspired this line has now finally been released!  So I beg your pardon in regard to the glaringly unprofessional photography here, but I did manage to find two mute models who would work for free.  I will take better shots upon returning to the US but for now I think this gets the point across.  They're all lightweight and anchored with a metal headband or clip; this makes them easy to wear without needing any ninja bobby pin skills.  The security of a headband or spring clip allows the wearer to dance, drink, kiss, ride a bike, or even recline with ease and no worries about slippage or displacement.





The Angel:  Named simply for the shape and color of the chicken wings I used to create it.  I can picture it on a soft faced woman dancing with herself on the edge of the party, contrasted against the starry night in her cream dress.  





 The Carraway: This is a simple, no nonsense clip I named  after our story teller.  Understated and classy, this piece can easily slip into any party without raising the wrong eyebrows.


 



The Edie: Just because I imagine a deleted scene where the Grey Gardens gals crash a Gatsby party- in their early days, of course.  A somewhat conservative yet jaunty poof that rests on the side of the head with an antique Indian charm dangling from it:




Little Edie:






 The Myrtle: A netted fascinator for a fierce, strong woman who is adored by many but keeps all at bay.  There is a great deal going on under that cage veil...



 The Suzanne: A burst of feathers from the top of the head for a playful and engaging woman with a healthy sense of fun.  Named for Suzanne Roberts who helped me make this piece (filmed for an upcoming segment on her show "Seeking Solutions with Suzanne").






 The Daisy: Bold, striking and pursued by many.  Dripping with class.






 The Jordon: Also classy, but with a masculine flair. 




 The Jazz Hippie:  She's at every party, the one you have the most surprising conversation with while sharing the last dregs of a bottle at four in the morning.








 The jay:  Named after Gatsby himself, this piece is for a woman who demands to be seen.  Style level: Moderate to advanced- it takes an experienced woman to pull off this look.



 All of these will be listed on my etsy site upon my return next week.  For inquiries, purchase or rental please email diamondtoothtaxidermist@gmail.com

Happy Gatsbying!

Vintage Post: Early Polo Days

The warmer climes have me dreaming of ponies, so I thought today I'd revisit one of my early polo polo matches.  Soon it will be long lazy afternoons of steeple chase, polo and dressage.
Mostly polo though. Polo people are my favorite.

 

Saturday, July 3, 2010

If there WAS a hat contest, you would've won the whole thing.

Last Sunday I took my gals back out to the Brandywine Polo Club for the 1st annual Philadelphia Cup.  This time we didn't work so hard; we just snagged ourselves some VIP tickets and hung out in the tent with the open bar (where the bartenders were pouring the BlueCoat with very heavy hand, if I may say so.  No complaints!).  While bringing our own tailgating supplies is fun too, on a super hot day it's nice to have the luxury of a VIP tent and everyone else doing the work.  Plus a DJ.  You's almost forget why we were there...







Oh yes-the game!  In between getting to know some of the members and networking with my hats  (it really was too bad there wasn't a hat contest but I'll take being showered with attention any day) we caught some excellent polo-pony action, and luckily wound up rooting for the winning team!







However, I think it's agreed that we all know who the REAL winners are.  My fascination with all things anatomical has me quite interested in horses; particularly polo ponies.  It takes a certain breed of horse to play polo; one that is shorter in the back and able to turn on a dime, one who is also capable of short bursts of speed comparable/greater than that of a race horse.  I imagine they're pretty intelligent too, as some basic understanding of what they're tying to achieve on that field must be present.  I can't help but marvel at their graceful, delicate looking ankles and how they hold up all that weight while gracefully trotting, running, turning, ect.  Having dissected a horse leg myself (I'm still working on the shoe; updates next month I swear) I have  a more vested interest in seeing these muscles in action for reference, as well as appreciation.



Those bandages on the front keep them from getting hurt when they get inadvertently whacked with a stick.







Speaking of sticks, one fo the female players from the winning team happened by and chatted us up while we admired the horses.  She was a darling by the name of Kathy Whitman and even gave us a brief lesson in hitting the ball.







That's Rachel Lynn K, our photographer for the day, and as you can see a real beauty.  All the ladies wore my hats swimmingly.







And look who we ran into!  One of my adversaries from hat parade past, Lauren St. Clair!  It's more fun to compete with people you really like, so we've become fast friends.  She even invited us on one of her gastronomical adventures taking place later in the day.  If you haven't heard about her eating her way through Philly, act like you know, fool.  Where all the food goes on that little frame is beyond me, though.



I know, I need a tutorial on how to mug for pictures.  I look like some kind of crazed animal.







Here's Eva in my squirrel hat; she was gracious enough to wear it and I think it gave her super powers....the unexpected side effect of wearing taxidermy on your head!







At halftime we all went out on the field to stomp the divots and surprise a sweet little red Ferrari (OK, I know nothing about cars so that's all you get) drove out on the field with Miss. Philadelphia sitting on the back with Maria Papadakis, both of them waving to the crowd.  While they're pretty and nice and all, the REAL sweet stuff was in the trunk which was filled to the brim with bottles of Veuve!  Those were promptly opened and we all enjoyed a toast ( or two or three) on the field.



When the game resumed we all took turns imagining ourselves driving such an exquisite piece of machinery.











Back in the tent, my hat was still commanding plenty of attention.  These ladies were pretty bummed about Mexico losing their world cup game earlier in the day but I think petting my duck lifted their spirits somewhat.







Handsome creatures:















And the winners!  What a fantastic day.



Charmed Life

Here's a short sweet little post about a few talon charms I made the last week. All are chickens sourced from my favorite farm in Schoharie  New York.



This Foot is clutching a wooden Saint charm gifted to me by a friend whom I know through Bailey, one half of the Farmer's Husband. (Side note- I was mentally composing a list in my head today of all the people I have to thank for my blazed taxidermy trail and it's astounding how each one is connected how we are all connected but that's a post for another day).  I'm not sure what saint is represented here but I think it looks so much like Dora the Explorer that I just named it after her:







Accentuated with soft ducking hide:







 



Another gift from this friend was a horse shoe charm bracelet.  Hence:







FYI: For anyone who doesn't already know this, horseshoes should always be kept in the is direction so your luck won't run out.



 



Remember Miss. Hannigan from Annie?  I imagine her wearing this:







Sorry that picture is so terrible; clearly I do not poses my husband's camera skills.  Here's a better one:







 



Something I've been wanting to make use of is this mini watering can:





It won't pour water but you can stash your drugs diamonds in there!







As usual, if any of these strike your fancy don't hesitate to contact me.



 



And that's been post.



 

It's Anne with an E and Dream Catcher with a bit of magic.









 



I'm not sure what possessed me the other day but whilst completely on autopilot I made this dream catcher:







 



It's not unlike me to make dream-catchers, and I'm posting this on my site as well so potential clients have an idea about the scope of my skill set but this is so unlike the typical Diamond Tooth  style that I'm not afraid to say I was possessed....



by  Anne of Green Gables.



Does anyone else remember that series of books from childhood?  I read them all.  Anne was my hero.  I admired her cool differences that set her apart from the typical prairie crowd, and her boyish toughness and confidence.  I wanted to be like her so badly; I didn't even see that I already had my own cool differences and was indeed, quite tough.  What I wound up projecting was an unsure and contrived version of a misfit when all I had to do was just be myself.



UGH adolescence.  If you know someone in the throes of this truly bizarre stage of life or are going through it yourself, I would love to hug you and tell you that most adults (and other kids for that matter) are very stupid, brainwashed and insecure so just listen to your heart because it will get better...in 15 years.  It's a long time to wait but trust me.  You've got a long life to live.







 



So maybe I was channeling this longing I had to reconnect with this book series that held such prime real estate in my heart throughout my tweens and early teens and that's how I can explain the pink floral print fabric making up the bulk of this piece.  The material itself is actually older than I know; it was passed onto me from the collection of my friend's grandmother when she passed some years ago.  I took it, not ever really imagining myself making something with this...pink stuff...but feeling a soul tug just the same.  My grandmother was a skilled seamstress and I love using her old pins and threads and trying to pick up on her energy from these objects.







Dream-catchers are such great opportunities for me to incorporate pieces from my found-on-the-street collection, like the crystal above (from a real antique chandelier) and this key.  I like to imagine the history of these objects calling out to be combined with one another and I'm just blindly obeying their wishes.  When  a project comes completely out of autopilot like this one, it's hard for me to believe otherwise.







This skull was gifted to me from a friend who picked it up on a hike.  Who knows how this doe lived and died?  Humbly and anonymously, like most prairie-folk I imagine (OK I know I'm getting really cheesy).







I also incorporated some scraps of squirrel fur from one of my first attempts at taxidermy.  I suppose subconsciously I was really trying to reconnect with my 12-year-old self...







It's weird, I remember thinking when I was a kid that being an adult would suck so much because all the gown-ups I met told me to "enjoy your childhood!  Before you know it its gone!"



Despite all that heaping unsolicited advice,  I still couldn't wait to be me, now.  I'm finally the person I wanted to be for so long and it's like I knew this as a kid and felt nothing but angst for being stuck inside that kid body and mind.  Did any of you feel that way?







I have a bag of vertebrae bones which were also a gift from a friend.  These bones bear a particular significance to me since I had a piece of my back removed years ago to correct an issue with my spine.  It still blows my mind that us humans can be opened up like rag dolls and have bits added and subtracted but that's a post for another time.  Needless to say though, my back is a very important possession of mine, possibly my favorite one.  Also my parents paid a shit ton of money for it. Thanks Mom and Dad!







 



Finally, no piece would be complete without a dose of chicken from my boys on the farm so here's a little tail feather for ya:







So who is this dream-catcher for?  Do you know them?  It's not for me, and I want it to find its rightful owner.  This thing has powers and it will protect the right soul from nightmares.  Please help me find them?



And just a FYI: I love making these.  Custom orders would be graciously accepted.



 



Sweet Dreams.



 

Millenery Boomerangs.

Some time ago I was fortunate enough to receive a box full of magnificent vintage hats from old college chum Rebecca Strzelec.  This was just weeks after embarking on my twenty4twenty project and I'd sent out a few of my hats with no response whatsoever.  Seeing this giant box of beautiful hats on my doorstep reminded me that everything, every intention you put out into the universe comes back to you , but rarely in a form you'd expect.



These pieces had been sitting in her home, I believe, for years, and once she arrived at the conclusion that she had no use for them they became mine.  All she asked in return was that three hats make it back to her: two for her daughter and one for her.



Let's start with mom:







I chose this base since it was just misting (dripping would be too much) with class and elegance.  Very proper, like my friend.



















For her child, there were two smaller hats.  This first one I bent the brim to give it a more formal feel but the actual material was so delicate that it proved quite challenging to work with.







I added miscellaneous feathers and sourced gems:















This base was much easier to work with.  Plus I have a huge sift spot in my heart for bonnets so it was a natural fun piece.







I added chicken wings, a chicken foot and switched out the white button for a pearlescent pink bead in the talon and on each side, plus a poof of white fox fur for good measure.































So that's that.  I was very touched to be given such a magnificent gift from Rebecca.  She is an amazing, talented and accomplished woman whom I am honored to even associate with.



Also I am short on words today because sometimes life beats the vocab out of you.  More soon.

Meeting My Meat

Last weekend was an exhausting yet emotionally fulfilling one. I made the trek up to Schoharie to visit my beloved farm boys Thomas & Bailey by way of a short stay in Harlem with another dear friend while working a non taxidermy job in NYC.  I arrived at the bus stop in Albany weary, bedraggled, and depressed and drained.



The reason for my visit was not only pleasure, but purpose: the boys had been raising some rabbits for food and the time had come to process a few of them.  Thomas, who was taking on this project, immediately thought of me as a viable processing partner, given my philosophy on eating meat.  I won't call myself a vegetarian ( I still occasionally eat meat when someone offers me a free meal and I would otherwise go hungry due to lack of funds, so call me a hypocrite if you wish) or any other label because whenever I try to talk about it, I just sound pretentious.  Unfortunately, it mostly comes up when I'm declining an offer at a gathering where everyone else is partaking in the meal.   It's not like I want to stand up in a room full of folks enjoying themsselves and say, "well its just that you're all eating shit meat".



But for the most part they are.   And that isn't the problem to me but more a symptom of something much, much more saddening.***



And maybe this doesn't apply to everyone but this is my journey and perhaps someday I will articulate it (through words or taxidermy) more clearly but it's no coincidence that the craft about which I am most passionate revolves around the manipulation of skin onto forms, or why I gravitate towards the rogue genre of taxidermy.  In this realm, I can take a skin and put it on a form that has nothing to do with the original specimen.  I can give it wings, diamonds for eyes, a stretched neck, anything my mind comes up with.  As someone who has struggled (to an agonizing degree)  my entire life to achieve a healthy amount of comfort in my own skin, manipulating fantasy creatures out of the dermis of others is a projection of my own wishes to occasionally escape this body I currently occupy.



It's also no coincidence that underneath these hides are meat.  Thick, bloody, nourishing meat.  My journey as a budding taxidermist also led me down a path of exploring the source of my food, and the subsequent attempts to negotiate my ambivalent relationship with it.  This has been a years long puzzle in which I occasionally fit in a flurry of pieces in one instant, or spend months trying to jam the same ill-fitting piece into a spot that won't accept it.  Sometimes I just have to walk away and come back when the time is right.



Last weekend in New York, my food puzzle was ripe for some work and ready to accept a flurry of new pieces to their rightful home.



Here is Thomas, watering their garden :







They've got corn, tomatoes, pepper, squash, a wide variety of herbs and edible flowers plus many others that I am forgetting.  It's basically 99% edible though, and they are incorporating it into their daily meals. For example, here are some treats we harvested with which to make a salad dish for our Elizabethan Rabbit dish that evening:





Even though my parents had a garden in our yard when I was a child, my knowledge of plants and how to grow food is so profoundly lacking.  To actually see where the ingredients grow, how they are cared for, then pick them myself put some of those pieces back in the puzzle.



Meet Meat and Tilda.  Meat is just that; he's to be processed sometime next year I believe.  Tilda will stick around for some breeding.  The boys know so much about breeds, and all the animals that they raise- they are fully invested in this life and it shows.  They admit it will be difficult to say goodbye to Meat when the time comes but I think Thomas put it best when he said "I've nourished you your entire life, now it's time for you to nourish me".  And how much more rich an experience to have touched that thick muscular tank of a creature and to have heard its delightful snorts while it was alive!







It saddens me how much bacon is consumed every day, purchased thoughtlessly at some drive-thru window or convenience store and consumed in a car or subway en route to wherever the day is to be spent. I understand that most of us are in no position to raise our own food, and the majority of us need to rush somewhere to keep whatever shitty job is keeping our electric running, and this is the larger issue I was referring to earlier.  We as a people appear to share this common need to multi-task and get everything done quickly and graduate from one spinning gerbil wheel (sorry for the cliché analogy but it fits!) to the next, never stopping to rest or be kind to ourselves because that type of behaviour simply is not encouraged.  Working oneself to death is rewarded, taking a day to sleep and rest is frowned upon.  Given this constant sense of urgency in everything all the time, it's no surprise that food has become completely  overprocessed and unrelateable to its origins.  Eating.  It's just one more thing we have to do.***



[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Meat receives his daily cocktail bath massage.[/caption]



I cannot stress enough how much of a difference it has made for me to see the full circle.  I will never view dairy or meat products the same, especially after seeing the different ways in which farmers tend to their stock. If an animal is raised with love and respect, why shouldn't it make sense that the meat it provides us will be better?















Which brings me to the rabbits.  Below is the big mamma rabbit who birthed the ones which will serve as meals.  She's a really darling, and we thanked her for her hard work.



Now, the next few pictures after this are graphic, but no more so than any cooking website with a meat recipe.  There is plenty of educational material out there on how to humanely kill and process a rabbit so I felt no need to further saturate the internet with my own images, but there are some meat and guts pictured so consider yourself warmed.







After plenty of thought, discussion, and watching videos on the subject, we decided that severing the spine at the cervical vertebrae would be the safest and best bet.  I felt more comfortable using my bare hands than some external device like a broom stick of which I could possibly lose control.  So we each picked a rabbit, went to our designated spot, said a prayer of thanks and counted to three.  Mine didn't go so smoothly but we remained calm and it was over in a matter of seconds.  My heart was pounding, my knees and arms felt weak and I had to crouch down to collect myself.



Wow.  I had just taken a life.  I had just looked this creature in the eye, held it, stroked it, comforted it and then snapped it neck.  And I wasn't sorry.  I wasn't even crying, like I thought I would.  Instead I felt surprisingly in touch with my surroundings and how I related to them.



Look.  I know that hunters dispatch animals all the time and every modern luxury I enjoy comes at the price of an animal's life, one way or the other.  I'm not trying to pile on  any more significance to this event than my own personal amount, and certainly don't want to be seen as the next hipster chick to fool herself into thinking she invented "farm to table".  So please don't misinterpret my words for any more than what they are: a description of my experience, the very first time I embarked on paying the karmic price for my meal, as Georgia Pellegrini has said.



Without wasting any time we hung them up and started processing.  Here's Thomas peeling the skin off his rabbit:







Gutting: his went much more smoothly than mine, but I enjoyed the process regardless.  There is an intense heat that comes off a creature once it has died; I noticed this the one time I purchased a freshly killed squab from the live poultry market and I could feel its heat burning through my bag and into my back as I rode home with it.  This heat is even more concentrated inside the gut cavity and it was a bizarre and grotesque thrill to stick my hands in it and yanked out the heart.







Thomas successfully removed his bladder- which is just beautiful -while I cut right through mine and wound up with a pee covered pair of bloody hands.







The butchering, if you can call it that,  (I feel like I'm insulting real butchers by calling the hack job we did by that name) took the better part of an hour.  Clearly both Thomas and myself could benefit from some lessons.  If only we each had our own reality shows where attempts at self betterment through education could be sponsored by some third-party....



The rabbit chunks were tossed in flour and then lightly fried, and ultimately went into this wine-based stew mixture and cooked for three hours in Thomas' new Le Creuset.  Please check The Farmer's Husband for full recipe and details.







In honor of my visit, Bailey created an outstanding centerpiece for the dinner table.  Mr. Pickles approves.







All the photos I took of our three course meal came out blurry and dark, so I'm going to leave that coverage to the pros at The Farmer's Husband.  What I will say is that it was by far one of the best meals of my life, and along with the dazzling sensory experience of taste, smell and sight, there was also the sense of having earned this meal by getting my hands dirty and truly engaging myself in it.  I felt so full that I had to undo the top button of my jeans but for the first time in my life I felt no shame associated with this fullness.  Nary a hint of the words calories, exericize, weight, needing to justify this food or guilt reared its ugly head.  I just felt nourished and content.



And for me, that was the gap closing right where it needed to.



The next morning I "helped" the boys with their chores by hovering about taking pictures.  Here they are treating the pigs to some goat's milk.  I think the Lass was tickled mid milking and stomped her hoof in the bowl, warranting it pretty much unfit for human consumption.  But just right for hungry piggies!  Nothing is ever wasted on this farm and everything has a purpose.







Even rumps double as pillows.







Story time with the Littles.











Life imitating art imitating life.







Chicken city, rush hour.







Sandals are a poor choice on a farm during chores but my feet survived.  In other news, I would like for my hair to mimic the coloring/pattern of this chicken.  Can anyone help me with this?







That afternoon I boarded a bus back to NYC  which connected to another bus to Philly which connected to another bus home.  All the while in tow I had a mini-coolor with rabbit heads, pelts and feet for me and organs for my cats.  They LOVE raw rabbit.  I also had a generous amount of treats from the boys, clear eyes and a full heart.



CAN'T LOSE.



 



 



*** It occurred to me I posted this that my sadness over mindless consumption transcends food, and is directly connected to waste.  How many times have your pantyhose ripped and you just shrugged and threw them out, knowing you could just as easily replace them?



I'll just buy another.



I have come to loathe those words.  I've always had a disdain for waste, but my financial status as of late has forced me to put a very fine point on this.  Waste is unacceptable.  I cannot afford to throw anything out or damage my nice things so I handle my precious goods with care and find ways to use everything to the last drop.  I'm talking about slicing open the moisturizer tube and scraping the inside to get one more dollop.  I remember as a kid I thought it was so funny that my depression-era grandmother (who I've come to realise was never actually poor, she was just resourceful) would re-use her hosiery in so many creative ways: the elastic waist bands served to secure boxes of brownies, the material made into really cute puppets or even soap savers. Now I totally get it.  This mentality of "just throwing it away and buying a new one" is why we have an entire industry built around "Field Destroying" (it's so difficult to find info about this online but basically it's when folks are paid to destroy any merchandise that is flawed or just plain undesirable instead or donating, or selling at a discount.  It isn't even permissible to toss these items in the garbage for fear of some filthy dumpster diver getting their dirty poor person paws on it.  If this isn't a the canary in the coal mine showing us how fucked up the retail/consumer system is, than my head is exploding for no reason.)



There is no connection to where our goods come from.  Even if it's techno-wares, someone's hands touched it.  Someone made the packaging.  Someone trucked it over to your corner store and stocked it on a shelf for you and I, the consumers.  I really hope that when my clients take a piece of mine home, they treasure it and feel all the blood sweat and tears I poured into that item.  Obviously, a custom taxidermy hat is much more involved and labor intensive than a bobby pin but please, next time you're at the counter, handing over your paper or plastic to be swiped, run through your mind the series of events which brought this product to your possession, and acknowledge the extraordinary amount of coordination and teamwork that made it possible.  Thanks for reading.

Freshest Head and Neck Fruits from my Hand Labor

Last week the gorgeous and talented Pearl ( you've seen her beauty here, see her creations here: Pearl Bell ) braved the sweltering climes in my third floor studio along with photographer and all around hottie Jim Coughlin (blog here: Snap Bam Splat and follow him on Instagram too @jimsinspace ) to shoot my latest headgear.  I provided the champagne.



Behold!



The Pearl:







I blocked this green felt hat myself, and named it after Ms. Bell for the simple reason that wide brim hats remind me of her.  There's a taxidermy wing tucked into the brim and some of the feathers trail off on the side, complimenting the downward swoop of the hat.







I also incorporated a sparkly tennis bracelet from my mother's collection.







The Pomp:







Comprised of the very same chicken from the Pearl hat, this piece is a taxidermied mount dried to mimic the shape of a swooping pompadour.







The mount itself is affixed to a handmade millinery base that I lined with pink satin and blue lace trim, which serves as a point upon which the hat can be secured on the wearer's head with bobby pins or elastic.  I like to see it paired with a cage veil but it can also be worn alone.







The Frenchie:







A taxidermied wing is enmeshed into the ruffles of a vintage millinery base, a fun jaunty little number.







Secured to the wearer's head with an elastic band, it can provide hours of worry free dancing, drinking, laughing, etc.  Worn alone here it's a flirty little number but can be paired with a white cage veil for a stunning wedding piece.







The Carnival:







Named after a wild night in which this hat remained on my head for 8 straight hours of drinking, dancing, being chased by Mexican gangsters, etc,  this hat takes a licking and keeps....on your head.







Secured to the wearer's head with an elastic band, the focal point of this piece is a pair of deer antlers embellished with genuine Swarosvki set amethyst crystals that point dangerously close to the eye.  The base is an antique millinery piece upon which I have added a raccoon fur poof and some hand twisted crinoline.







The Bobby:







My obsession with visors is still going strong, this example being in a hand blocked blue felt cap with a taxidermy chicken swirled around to create a bird butt poof at the top.  The chicken is, of course, embellished with crystals.







Along with the practical purpose of visors reflecting glare, the not so secondary mystique element of a slightly veiled face cannot be denied.







Le Roth:







As it took shape, this hat started to channel a sort of David Lee Roth ala "California Girls" energy, but en peu more French.  A taxidermied rooster wing sits atop a vintage millinery base with a yellow visor.  The bird head is hollow, while the exterior is just dripping with crystals.  Take from that whatever symbolism you wish,







The Andrea:







My classic visor hat.  Raccoon fur lined with felt and embellished with a sweet little green velvet ribbon.  Perfect for eye sex across the slopes and a toasty tete.







The Duchess:







This hat is a mashup of several species: the base is an antique rabbit fur pillbox, and I added a yellow poof of gosling down along with assorted chicken, guinea hen and pheasant feathers.







Ideal for a post hunt dinner on the estate, or a stroll down the avenue with you best beagle.







The Ladyship:







I think this piece speaks for itself. I just adore it.  It commands respect and gives the wearer an air of dignified authority. The base itself was so stunning to begin with, all I could do was add to it.  So add I did- a patch of assorted feathers, some gold metal charms from my personal collection and a tassel I made from silk fringe.  For women only, no girls please.







 



 



El Gatador:







A super cute felt number, this is a seriously easy to wear piece that stays on the wearer's head thanks to an elastic band, and it extremely lightweight.  One of my favorites, it's made especially special with a swirl of black rooster on top and a repurposed (read: my old earcuff from '84) alligator charm serving as an anchor for a bouquet of turkey beard hairs.







Perfect for any occasion, in my opinion.







 



The Marie:







Inspired by my Maid of Honor, this is a very proper velvet halo with a taxidermy rooster wing and saddle affixed to one side and a generous amount of Swiss dot veiling.  If only I'd had this on my wedding day; she would've worn it perfectly.  It conveys class, stoicism and a tremendous amount of fun just below the surface.  For the gal who can conduct herself properly at an exclusive event and then share a cigarette in the alley with the staff five minutes later.







 



The Shannah:







Not for the faint of heart!  The centerpiece of this headdress is a mummified bunny corpse coated in clear lacquer and covered in gems.  He's holding chain reins and resting comfortable among the spider-like fur "arms" of this vintage mink millinery piece.  Can be worn alone or paired with a cage veil.







 



The Mearrah:







I was going for a flapper feel with this hat; again the base is a vintage millinery piece and I added a taxidermied wing plus miscellaneous feathers and gems.  Works great with slicked back hair or a curly mane.



 



 



The Isabella:







I wore the unfinished version of this to my opening at La Luz and it was a hit.  Seeing it finished, and on a model, it feels more like a tribute to the late Isabella Blow, hence the title.  It's a simple piece consisting of a taxidermied rooster dried in a shape which hugs the crown and points out at such an angle so as to keep simpletons at bay.



 



Foxy Fascinator:







A simple little ditty comprised of chicken feathers fanning out from a taxidermied fox nutsack.  Sorry to be crass but I quite enjoy the juxtaposition of something people tend to shy away from serving such a pretty purpose.  An excellent conversation piece.







 



Guinea Hen Necklace:



Taxidermied leg with fox fur poof, gold chains and an old charm from a church in Philadelphia.







Guinea Hen necklace with pearls:







Freak Mutant Rooster Leg Necklace:



That spur says it all.  Ideal for someone who really wants to thin the herd of idiots who talk to them daily. No canvassers will even try to get your attention when you're wearing this.







 



Jawbone continuous earrings:



Fun to wear, lightweight nad a nonstop conversation piece.











Jaw bone continuous chain earrings:



Same as above; the chain is aluminium so it's also very lightweight.











 



So that was an eyeful, right?  And there is still more in the works!  Please think in advance about your Fall pieces and order now, folks.



XOXO Diamond Tooth.

Twenty 4 Twenty #9: Buck Brannaman

For anyone unfamiliar with Buck Brannaman, just check out this trailer for the documentary "Buck":











 



And then, the first chance you get, watch the entire movie.  It's so thoughtful and sweet.  My husband introduced me to "Buck" a few weeks ago thinking I'd dig it since I'm so interested in horse people.  I more than dug it, I'm now obsessed with this guy.  Good thing when I embarked on this Twenty 4 Twenty project I didn't have my complete list of recipients, because I seem to constantly be discovering new heroes.



Perhaps I too am a tortured soul but I relate to so much of what Buck says, his philosophy, and like him and all the scores of people who feel an intimate connection with animals, I've had an easier time connecting with four-legged creatures than the bipedal sort.  As an adult, I've learned how to better treat myself and others but I cannot stress enough how much Mr. Brannaman's words ring true when he calls your horse a mirror of yourself.  I think this can translate to just about any domestic animal. As humans we tend to project everything onto other people (which is why one ought to be wary of folks spending so much time preaching about to evils of homosexuality, of sex positivity, etc- we take the things we fear and hate in ourselves and cast them onto someone else.  Understanding this has made me a much more laid back person). Not just our friends/family/coworkers, we project these things onto our pets.



Have a hyperactive nervous dog?  Next time you walk them, check your shoulders and body language are you tightened up, anticipating a transgression? I know I was, when we first got our dog.  It took me months to relax.  I was also a very nervous person in general, terrified of my own thoughts and feelings.  When that transgression happens do you correct it by whacking the pup on the head and yelling?  Is that how you were disciplined by your parents and other authority figures?  Ia that how you treat yourself?  Do yourself and your animal a favor and take a long look within.  You deserve it.  Everyone deserves to be treated with compassion, so start by practicing on yourself!



 







I've been holding onto this old cowboy charm for years and years, and finally the time to use it arrived.  I incorporated it into a lapel pin with miscellaneous pheasant and chicken feathers, thinking he could stick it in one of his hats.  Or not.  In my letter to him,  I suggested passing it along to someone he cares about if it doesn't fit into his wardrobe.  The point was to create something with my hands to express how touched I am by his story.  That's been the main lesson of this project, is learning not to expect anything in return, not even a thank you. I already have my reward and it's knowing these people exist.







 



Thank you Buck!  Keep spreading the good word!



 



 



 



 



For a more in-depth interview with Buck, check out this video:



buck-describes-abuse-finding-peace-15426113



 



"Gospel of Buck"!  Swoon.

Eye of Newt and Toe of Frog...

And pics of talons on my blog!



Feast your eyes, lovies, all of these voodoo talons are up for grabs!



 



Here's a two tiered chicken talon, appx 8":







 







 



Up next is a very large (apprx 9") specimen clutching a functional Barbie locket.  Perfect vehicle for love letters, or BFF notes...







 



 







 



Here we have a chicken claw holding a rainbow crystal charm.







 



It was difficult to catch the sparkles in the gem but this blurry shot kind of captures it:







 



Here we have a sweet little campy claw with a vintage beaded earring.







Again, I lit the piece from underneath to catch the razzle dazzle of the gem- this foot has a large CZ in its grasp:







 



A more vintagey looking talon holding an antique earring with metal globe details:







 



Fancy some chicken of the sea?  How about a chicken holding some pearly shells, with fur and pheasant detail?







 



Chicken with rabbit fur poof:







 



Chicken with mink fur poof:







 



Here's a not so common specimen with low reaching feathers growing down to its toes:







 



Want to be more charming?  This talon comes with beads and a fully functional locket on the small side, but could certainly hold a tablet of something magical...







Chicken, chicken, DUCK!







 



Metal horns, anyone?







 



Last and never least: my treasured Skeksie talon.  I lied earlier when I said these were all up for grabs; this one has been sold and is shipping out to NY later today.







 



 



If you see something you like, please email me directly at diamondtoothtaxidermest@gmail.com.  Otherwise they will all be posted on my etsy shop and website tomorrow.

2012 Biennial Rogue Taxidermy Exhibition: Truly Outrageous

I'm almost done packing my bags and headed off to bed to get some beauty sleep before I hop on a sexy new Virgin America airplane for a direct flight to LA. 



I'm almost as excited for the flight as I am for the purpose of my entire trip, which is this:







I'm over the moon to be showing with some folks I've been admiring from afar for quite some time now.  It's truly an honor to be in their company.  I still have pangs of self-doubt here and there as I prepare for this trip, wondering how my pieces will measure up in person when displayed next to everyone else's.



And yes, I know it's not a competition and I know those aren't pretty feelings but it's me giving you the truth.  I also know that everything I fret about always turns out fine in the end so I'll cross my fingers, kiss my elbow, and enjoy my mini vacation.







Speaking of crossing fingers, you may recognise that gal above from such things as your childhood, saturday mornings, or recent forays into tv nostalgia.  It's Jetta, from the Misfits.  My three submissions in the show are hats of course, all made from chickens sourced at my dear friends' farm.  As the pieces came together and I listened to MIA's "Bad Girls" song on repeat (I cannot stress enough how much of an inspiration this video has been on every single facet of my life) , these identities started rearing their naughty heads.







Jetta is composed of a Brahma Hen mounted atop a vintage pillbox cap.







Sparkly embellishments abound, of course.















I'll bet you remember most clearly Pizzazz, the leader of the Misfits.  Man, what a bitch.







This Polish rooster was just dripping with attitude  (wait until you see the spurs on this cock) and came to be Pizzazz quite naturally.











I see you!











This guy is also perched atop a vintage hat, this one an old mink pillbox.







Last and never least is Roxanne. Did you know she was from Philly?  Of course she was.  And I'll bet she walked around with a razor blade stashed in her mouth, Goretti girl style.







Roxy is a Buff Orpington Hen with a bad-ass beak piercing, nestled firmly into another vintage pillbox hat.  I should mention that the brass sculptural elements are from a remarkable lamp I trash-picked one Sunday morning- a time which I never would have been out and about except for walking what was at the time a brand new puppy.  So thank you, Jonesy, for that.































So that's that. In keeping with my theme I've whipped up a poultry themed ensemble which I will be tweeting and facebooking and blogging all about so stay tuned should you be so inclined.



Along with the show opening, I'm pretty pumped to catch some good comedy in LA (I'm a stand-up hound, did you know that?) and perusing some estate sales.   Or napping in a hammock and eating some stellar sushi.  For now, toodleooooooo!

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!

In and Out

Hi there,



I've been scarce lately, both on my blog and in real life.  Not much time to explain but I'm getting on another plane in a couple hours, just wanted to touch base and let all ten of you know I'm still here.  I've got a super fun show coming up, plus many many other projects so stay tuned.  I'll be in LA for a couple days and then on another ship.  If you're into twitter, please follow me- it's not always taxidermy related but worth your eyeballs: Beth Beverly on Twitter



This I swear.







 



Coming soon: Many, many more talon charms, rabbit feet, a pirate bunny, a white pheasant, a blue wing Teal, 2012 bridal pieces, three Misfits-themed chicken head-dresses, two foxes and a partridge in a pear tree!



xoxo



BB

Sneaky Peeks

Just a few shots of whats brewing at Diamond Tooth: All these claws are future talon charms and should be available for sale shortly.  Say I love you for Valentine's day while flipping Hallmark the bird.



[caption id="attachment_1487" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="chicken claw with vintage amethyst charm"][/caption]



 



 



[caption id="attachment_1488" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="chicken claw with unicorn charm"][/caption]



 



 



[caption id="attachment_1489" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="XXL chicken claw with genuine lead crystal charm"][/caption]



 



 



[caption id="attachment_1490" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="XXL mutant chicken claw"][/caption]



 



 



[caption id="attachment_1491" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="future headpiece for future show in future city..."][/caption]



 



There are plenty more of these on deck, and I will be professionally shooting them in a few days to load on my etsy site.



XOXOBB

Twenty for Twenty #7: Cherie Lily

Behold the goddess known as Cherie Lily.  I have been an admirer of hers since I first met her, briefly, in the ladies room of some bar in Austin during South by Southwest, 2010.  (Which, technically should make her ineligible for this project since it's about folks I've never met but nobody cares so there).  She was wearing a spandex get-up not unlike the one you see pictured below, and washing her hands. I walked in with my friend and exclaimed, "Great outfit!  You look awesome!", to which she replied, "Hey thanks, I'm performing upstairs if you're interested!", and I was too embarrassed to tell her I had no money to see any ticketed shows; I was only there to catch the free performances on the outskirts of the SXSW event...so I just peed and left it at that.







Cut to two days later when my friends and I went to see the free GWAR show, and among the day long line-up of performers, there she was!  Cherie Lily, onstage with Andrew WK, aerobic dancing and looking like a neon spandex glamour queen.  In between songs, the audience was treated to multiple aural doses of positivity, feeling good, loving yourself, and being beautiful no matter what anyone says.



Does that sound hokey?



Well then go fuck yourself.



Sorry, harsh.  What I mean is, if that sounds hokey it's probably because self-acception/celebration is an unfamilliar concept to you.  And that is sad.  Forget what your family/acquaintances tell you and embrace your body, your dreams, all of it.



YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.



This attitude in mind, I started with a felt hat from a vintage collection I received as a gift from a friend (more about that in the future), a bright kelly green one because of the strength represented in that hue.  It had some wear and tear; I re-pressed it ad gave it a new shape, but some of the small pock marks couldn't be erased.  That's ok, I thought, they're the small imperfections which document a full life lived.



I placed the taxidermy accent pieces under a studded flap on the side of the hat; chicken feathers, red squirrel tail, dyed deer tail, and some blue dyed feathers which I acquired with another vintage hat. When worn, this would be the straight-on view:







It's on the small side, meaning that it's more like a fascinator since it won't fit snugly on the head; it will need to be set in place with combs or a hair pin.  I sewed two combs on the inside, envisioning her pulling it back over her thick hair and it resting in place.  But, this is an unsolicited gift for a woman I can't even say I know, so all I can do is touch wood and hope it works out on her head.  I did get a thank you email from her this morning, all full of kind and gracious words, but I can't help but wonder if maybe it didn't fit well enough.  Alas, she said she can't wait to wear it so I'll eagerly await any possible sighting of her in this little ditty.







Finally, as a detail, I incorporated an old wrestling pin I rescued from the trash heap in my brother's room.  The ten year old in me can't help but chuckle at the homoerotic-ness of these two spandex clad men in such an embrace, and I thought, as a gay icon, she would appreciate it.



As a gay man with lady parts, I know I can.







Let me know if you see her wearing it, New Yorkers!



And thanks Cherie Lily, for inspiring self-confidence in little freaks like me who never felt they could possibly fit into any of the factory modeled forms provided.

20 for 20 #2: Turd is the Word









I got a sweet note from my newly minted overseas pal The Fashion Turd, so it's safe to post about what I sent her:









The Turd received a custom created, larger than life, bird talon hair stick!  Based on photos from her blog, she's got a head full of colorful locks, which made the job fun to the power of awesome because 1) dread locks are thick and strong, and therefore can hold pieces with a bit of heft, and 2)someone who deliberately works their hair into this style is most likely open to wearing items that are less than conventional.



That said, I felt free to go bonkers.  I started with the talons of a very large chicken (sourced from one of my farmer friends) clutching a chunk of electro-formed copper with a crystal embedded in it.  Once this was mounted on the hair stick, I embellished the base with dyed deer tail, rabbit fur and pheasant feathers.  I felt free to get as far out as my heart could carry me, knowing this gifteewould appreciate the outlandishness of it all.







Due to the size and weight of the claw end of the stick, some balance was needed both for aesthetic and functional purposes.







This was achieved by running a large link chain from the top, to a cap which would attach to the bottom, so the stick could be worn securely like so:







I'm sure she'll make it look even better than I am in this photo.  Now that it's in her little paws, I am excited to see how she wears it.  I imagine it could even serve as a unique sweater/kilt/cape/shawl closure clasp, not to mention sharp pointy self-defense mechanism for those late night crawls home from the bar, er...pub.  Mind the gap, ye!



xoxo, BB



ps: I don't mention it in every post but it should pretty much be assumed that all product shots seen on this blog, as well as on my etsy and website, are done by my on site photographer and husband, Jim Coughlin.  He also is a musician and painter; check out his stuff here: SnapBlamSplat



 



Up next: a client update or two



Coming soon on the 20 for 20 project: girl hunters, drag queens and another fashion dragon from the UK!

20 for 20, # 3: Put a Zoe on it.

I just finished making a hat box which is housing the halo fascinator I just finished custom making for Rachel Zoe.  I doubt she's aware of myself or this blog so I feel like the risk of ruining the surprise by posting this before she receives it is minimal. While this is technically the third piece I've created for my 20for20 project, #2's gift is still traveling through the postalverse and I know she reads this so I don't want to spoil it for her.  So there's that.



In a few hours, this piece will be en route to Madame Zoe, by means of which I don't care to bore you with.   The box is somewhat hastily made and it shows, but what's inside was made with plenty of love and thought.







 







I used a vintage halo-shaped fascinator base and built on it with feathers from a variety of foul, along with some salvaged antique mink tails.  My impression of Rachel Zoe is romantic hollywood gypsy, and while I know very little about her personally, I selected her for this project because I love her style, I admire her tenacious drive, and am inspired by the better-to-apologise-later-than-ask-first attitude I imagine her to have.







Unfortunately I don't have a blonde wig but I anticipate the brown velvet and feathers popping quite nicely against her light hair.  The charms make a nice tinkly noise and their translucency in the sunlight gives this piece a very gypsy feel.







I just hope it fits her!  That's the tricky part about designing unsolicited gifts for people-how to predict sizing.  I have very thick hair though, and that's underneath the wig (ha!  I wish this luxurious mane were my real hair!), so there should be a small amount of wiggle room.







Fancy chickens, pheasants, grouse, and vintage trinkets.  Let Madame Zoe look into your future.....







 

Twenty for twenty

I was chatting with friends at polo a few weeks back and two of them, almost simultaneously said, "I could see Kat Von D in your hats."



My reaction was "Really?  Wow."  I'd never seen LA Ink but I've seen many photos of her-and I love her look.  She's absolutely stunning.  "Too bad she has no idea who I am," I sighed, defeated, ready to move onto another topic but my friend persisted, "No, ding-dong, just send her a hat."



This sentence rolled around in my head for a while and set into motion a brainstorm which gave birth to my newest project, an interactive "piece" I am calling Twenty for Twenty.



I began by simply imagining that Kat had put an order in for a custom hat and said, "Beth just make it me.  However you see me."  I went with my heart and created the hat you see pictured in this post.  As I worked on it, I took a moment to really explore this feeling coursing through me, this in-the-zone elatedness I get when I'm not even thinking about my work but just letting my hands and eyes do all the talking.  I began to embrace this feeling of following my heart and creating something wonderful even though nobody asked for it.  There was no demand. Not yet.



That didn't seem to matter to me at the time.  I just focused on custom work and how right it feels.  I thrive on connecting with (nice, good) people and creating for them.  It just feels right.







After I finished Kat's hat, I was re-reading segments of an online book called "The Art of Earning" by Tara Gentile.  Toward the end there is a passage which inspired me to turn this good feeling about custom pieces and reaching out to people into a project. I decided to come up with a list of twenty individuals whom I've never met  but have been inspired by in some capacity or another. Some of them I'm just a plain fan of.  I would reach out to each of these people and make a connection through my work.  Like good old-fashioned fan mail!



This ties in to my love affair with the postal service.  Anyone who knows me well has received a note from me at some point in our friendship.  I love sending thank you notes.  At times when we are more organised, my mister and the kiddies and I would create our own holiday greeting cards to mail out each year.  I'm a sucker for that tangible piece of "hello" from the mailbox.  Like a long, convoluted paper-cup-telephone on a string.



I complied my list of twenty, and began the process of reaching out to them.  Some are more accessible than others (twitter is amazing for this), and some might never happen.  It's hard to tell (any of you guys tight with Gwen Stefani's team?)  But the responses I've gotten so far have been overwhelmingly positive and I'm so very excited to reveal more names (and why I'm inspired by them) in future posts.  I'm hoping that by following through with this brainchild, I can not only get more of my product on more people's bodies (I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a hint of self-promotion in this) and gain some exposure, but also to fully express the gratitude I feel towards individuals whom I am happy to know exist in this sometimes glum and banal planet.  Also, I want to remind people how rewarding it is to receive a gift in the post, a piece of art that someone spent hours of their own life to make.







And that, my friends, is that.  I'm tapping into something deeper than taxidermy and hats, so bear with me as I explore this.  I'd love to know your thoughts.



For now, here is Kat's hat.







I used one of my gifted vintage bases and spent oodles of time fastening the perfect chicken wing and feathers/pelt to it.







Inspired by her military meets goth meets doll type style, I used an vintage Trifari gold tasseled baton brooch and tied it all together with some chains and such.











Up next: My larger than life and circus inspired piece for The Fashion Turd!



Felicia's Fascinator

Such a creative title, hmmmm?  I'm starting to think my wit went on vacation and left the rest of me in this South Philadelphia brick oven.  Alas, there are some wonderful things I've been cooking up in said brick oven.



HIYO!  There's that whip-smart writing style, peeking out through my sleep deprived haze.



I met Felicia recently and was instantly smitten at her zest, pep, zip, and rabid enthusiasm for all things culinary.  Upon being introduced to them Felicia then became somewhat smitten with my pieces, and it was then that we decided she must wear a Diamond Tooth custom crafted fascinator to an upcoming wedding at which she would be a guest.







I met up with her this morning at the Reading Terminal Market and watched her order an assortment of baked goods from Termini Bros with the panache that comes from years of tasty experience.



Yes, this gal knows her sweets.



I could hardly keep up with her, in fact she only slowed down to take her fascinator out of the box and give me the thumbs up.  When she learned that I used the wing from a chicken which had belonged to a dear mutual friend of ours, the approval rating went up.







I need to get a shot of her wearing it; the wing curves around from the back of the head and hugs the side before gently peeking out just a wee bit around the front.  I embellished it with hand curled ostrich feathers and vintage crystal-studded lace patches.







She strikes me as a woman of understated elegance so I wanted to keep it subdued and gentle.  I threw in some pheasant feathers and a chain detail that can dangle from the comb and over her hair, and called it a day.







Hopefully the sun will catch the crystals and make her pretty head sparkle at the wedding.  I hope you enjoy her, Felicia, as much as I enjoyed crafting her.



Happy Birthdays!

I was recently commissioned to create a custom flight-of-fancy-hat for a friend's mother.  It was a birthday present and, seeing as the giftee shares the same big day as yours truly, I poured even more love and care into this piece.*



I was given the parameters of a making a piece that was a bird alit on a wide-brimmed hat and given creative freedom as far as the rest goes.  I found this lovely sun hat made from woven horse hair and got to work on a recently sourced hen from my dear chicken master buddy.  She was rather large- a little too large for this purpose, but I was so enamoured with her coloring I plowed ahead and taxied the skin onto a smaller, altered form.  I posed her to be perched, curious, holding back part of the brim with her wing; almost an extension of the wearer's head.







I gave her a pair of oversized eyes and lined them with crystals, as well as embellishing the original coat with some brighter pheasant feathers.  A gold and diamond chain around the brim completes the look.







Look at that beautiful fuzzy bum!  The blueish feathers underneath the tail are the pheasant accents.







I added a poof of white with some belly down at  the end of the chain, and called it a day.   Well, there were some structural issues to address but I took care of those earlier.  When one is wearing such a monumental structure on one's head, it helps to have straps on the ready to hold said structure into place.  I rather enjoy the pomp and circumstance of dressing up in this way-having an entire creature on my head makes me taller, it makes me stand up straighter, and I am so much more aware of how I move my head.  It feels very elegant.  I am eager to see how well my birthday sister and recipient of this gift wears it.







 



Photos by James Coughlin



 



*I never actually put more love into any one piece than another.  I adore all of my children equally.

"I've got a stiff black cock in the freezer for you"

That's the text message I received from my dear chicken-master pal a couple of months back when his prized black Dutch Serama rooster died.



It's good to have a sense of humor about these things, and after offering my condolences we set about discussing how he would like his cock mounted. (an interesting sidenote-I am often privately fascinated by different words the same key strokes will produce when texting, such as "good" and "home".  Throughout the process of working on this mount for my friend, we'd often text each0ther back and forth, checking on progress and such.  Every time I try to text the word cock, I get "anal" instead.  The 4th grader in me fins this extremely humourous.)



Here he is, in all his glory:



*



My friend wanted him mounted in a pose which was entirely new territory to me; back arched, tail up and wings relaxed at the side. Oh, and that chest.  I had no idea their chests actually puffed out so far until meeting some roosters at this guy's coop and seeing it for myself.  I was instructed to emulate this image, and take creative liberty when I where I felt inspired to do so.







While working on the positioning I found other reference images and videos to study online, and became completely enamoured with this little bird.  Such a proud looking creature, completely indifferent to its petite stature. I imagined the muscle strength it must take to arch one's back just so to bring the tail feathers all the way up like that, all the while standing with the chest pushed out as far as possible.  I even tried imitating this pose myself, (as I often do in an attempt to understand muscle structure and anatomy with my specimen) and would up contorted into a shape that I'm sure would make any back specialist cringe.



*



When the time came to select an environment for this mount, I went through many options but there was one that  couldn't be ignored, as it had been sitting on a shelf above my desk for months.  The horse hoof!  I've been working on my horse hoof platform shoes for almost a year now, and this first hoof I have sitting around was my crash course, so to speak, on fleshing out the actual foot part.  When I paired it with the little cock, the color, angles and gently implied S&M facor all gelled together so perfectly I couldn't help but squeal a little bit.



I live for moments like this, in my studio when it's just myself and my little creatures, when some treasure or trinket I've been holding onto for years meets its mate.



*



 



 



*photo credit: James Coughlin

Restoration project and photoshop skills

!!!Update!  I just received some photos of this mout from the owner, exhisbiting the condition before I restored it!!!!  See below:







 







 



My chicken & egg supplier provided me with an assignment over the holidays: bring back to life this antique rooster mount which belonged to his good friend, another chicken enthusiast.  The tail was the main issue, as it was broken and sagging as a rather depressing angle.  There were other areas which needed improvement as well, so he just told me to give it the works.



And here is the finished and completely restored piece:







The sad, pathetic, kicking myself in the ass part of this is that I accidentally deleted my "before" pics and there is no hope of retrieving them.  So...through th miracles of Photoshop I will attempt to give a proper visual example of what I was dealing with.



Here is my rendering of the "before" shot focusing on the tail.  That part had completely broken from the rest of the bird and needed to be reattached at the correct angle.  I replaced the steel support rod and with the help of a little magic paste and finesse, got the positioning just right.  I then pruned the feathers a bit and arranged them back into what I imagined would have been their proper place.  Some were quite frayed so I tried steaming them, which helped by opening up the fibers a bit until they relaxed back into a straight (not crimped) state, but didn't entirely alleviate the problem.  Next time I'll experiment with some sort of oil.







Tada!







The other major issue was the face. The coloring has completely faded into a dull yellow (I'm assuming in life he was a blushing young thing) and the waddles and comb were dried out and crumpled.  I rehydrated the delicate tissue for a few days until it was malleable enough to get into a more natural position without snapping.  After that the flesh was braced for several more days to cure in the straight position.



After that came painting.  After several tries I found the right combination of matte/glossy coats to achieve the slightly rubbery looking appearance these particular features tend to have on living roosters.



Before:







And after:







Aside from that there was general dusting of feathers, eyes, beak,feet and base and the usual whispering of sweet nothings into the rooster's ear.  He emerged good as new and the client was pleased.

Your Reputation Preceeds You...

I think I'm on the verge of being known as "the woman who wears chickens on her head", which couldn't delight me more.  I certainly seem to be going through a hen-phase, as far as what inspires me.  Or perhaps its the availability of chickens as specimen?  It's hard to tell.  I very much enjoy working with them; the plumage is unique and beautiful, plus the skin resilient and quite easy to manipulate.



So last week I decided to check out the opening of the new Jonathan Adler store in  Old City.  The designer himself was to be in attendance, and I learned that he'd raised chickens with his family as a boy so I wanted to wear a new head-piece in his honor.



I dried and fluffed a gorgeous rooster and toyed around a bit in my studio, waiting for ideas.  I took the legs and head and used them for a different piece, then played with the rest.  It was freezing inside and just to see how it felt, I put the entire pelt on my head.



Warmth!  Unbelievable warmth!  Well, duh, I thought.  We don't fill our coats and duvets with down for nothing.  Seriously though, I was impressed at how much heat was retained atop my head.  So...why not?  I would wear the whole thing as though it were a feather wig.  The result was dramatic and over-the-top.  Here's one shot I got from my computer before leaving for the event:



 







 



And here's another taken of me while there.  The shop looked fabulous although I had to go back yesterday to really check out the merchandise, since it was packed to the gills that night.







As you can see, it's just a little silly but totally glamorous.  If nothing else, it's absolutely a conversation piece.

Hen Party

My local egg connection had the misfortune of losing one of his hens prematurely and he wasted no time letting me know.  One man's trash, as they say...



She was a fancy chicken, curly feathers and all and on the small side so I wonder if maybe she'd had some sort of defect from the start which limited her time with us.



The skin was thin but tough (like a wet swimsuit) and dreamy to work with.  I basically just pulled it off with my bare hands in no time at all; no delicate surgeon cuts necessary. Just another reason I love working with chickens.



 



Almost finished.  I love the messy and curly feathers; the whole thing reminds me of a Jim Henson puppet.







Look at that poof!  I have been dreaming of working with one of these ever since I met them and I am quite pleased with how she turned out so far.







Her feet are drying around balls of clay because I have something very special in mind...



Here's Dolly!

Yesterday I paid a visit to a friend's urban chicken farm just a mile away from my own home.  I had no idea such a vast array of hen species existed mere blocks away from me.  I imagined a few chickens in a little coop but what I saw was astounding...the back yard opened up, curled around the house and everywhere I looked, chickens, chickens chickens!  Unfortunately I didn't have the foresight to bring my camera so I grabbed a few stock images to show as examples of some of the many breeds I saw.



Baily, the chicken master,  explained to me the different types, but I'd be lying if I said my eyes didn't partly glaze over as I imagined the wonderful challenge of mounting each beautiful specimen.  The types with the feathers on their feet  (I call them Mummers), the gene mutation which results in curly feathers, the poof on the head...etc.  He had 'em all.  I was surprised at the minimal odor and noise.  Quite a feat to manage so many creatures on such a modest property.  Very impressive.











The main purpose  for my visit was to purchase some of his eggs, as his hens have been rather productive lately.  I got 2 dz (1 for my family, one for a friend) and carefully loaded them into my bag.  I had some other items from grocery shopping that I had to move around to make room for the eggs, and I have never been more nervous riding my bike home.  Such precious cargo!  I was so worried about breaking one.  I've ridden my bike with eggs purchased from the supermarket before and gotten home to find a busted one a few times, but it never bothered me much. They were just mass-produced, anonymous eggs.  But now...after I'd met all the hens, held some of them, talked to every one, called them by name....their fruit was so much more valuable to me.  This is the type of appreciation I strive to have for all things I consume someday. 



I scrambled one for dinner (seen here with cottage cheese and capers) and savored each delicious bite.







This is why I want to source my own meat.  I want to break out of my own pattern of blindly consuming with no real appreciation, knowledge or responsibility (aside from financial) for where my nourishment comes from and how it came to be.  This experience inspired me to finally get off the fence and sign up for my trapping/hunting safety course in September, a legally required step in order to obtain my bow hunting license.  Come October, with the help of some experienced friends, hopefully I'll harvest my first deer and have sweet, healthy venison to eat for many months!





Some of these things were never like the others...

Here are some new pieces that I just got around to getting decent pictures of, thanks to my full time live-in photographer James Coughlin.  You can see more of his work  at Snap Blam Splat.  Honestly, I don't know what I would do without him.  Well, I do actually, I would pay through the nose to rent the equipment and go insane trying to figure it all out. Dude makes a wicked tie-dye too.



This is the hen from a month back; I just got her back from the "Other Nature" how at BahdeeBahdu, which received a nice write-up on Cool Hunting.  I wound up going with the name "Nascita Typica".



















This is the hat I wore to the Polo Cup;it's a female Bufflehead which has been embellished beyond the point of no return.



















And this is the male Bufflehead hat I wore to the Devon horse show a couple of weeks ago.  He's naturally flashy so I let his real colors shine.











A Good Lay

I dropped my finished hen off at a gallery yesterday for a show that opens on Thursday.  No pictures yet until she's been properly unveiled but here are some progress shots:



I posed her mid egg-lay, with one already out.  I wanted the eggs to be hatching, and unique.  I drilled many, many holes and set tiny little gems all over the shell.  This can be very stressful but I used to decorate hollow eggs quite frequently as a little girl and have kept my fingers nimble so I found the experience rewarding.







Of course, all the muscle memory and dexterity in the world can't save me from my inner klutz and I rested my hand in a paint puddle which I then brushed against the hen and parts of the base.  When I saw this happening I freaked out and dropped the entire thing, egg shells and all.  Miraculously, nothing broke and the paint came off.







Here is a close-up of the hind-section of Mrs. Hen.  It's kind of gross but I consider it a valiant effort to accurately portray the "birth" of an egg.  I'd like to try again, now that I have more experience to build upon.







I will decide upon a title for this piece today...the term "Typical Birth" kept running through my head as I was creating it.  This is mostly because I overheard a trifling and pretentious old witch of a gallery owner/NY art scenester exclaim very loudly that my work was "SO TYPICAL"  at the show in Brooklyn. It really stung...and I've thought about it quite a bit.  After so much reflection though, I realise that I'm not insulted by what she said.  I know my work isn't typical.  Yes, taxidermy is on the rise- especially the subgroup that my work falls into but there are many nuances which set my pieces apart from the rest.  I think what bothers me most is the way she announced it so flippantly, surrounded by her little circle of employees who know where their bread is buttered so they smile and nod and humor her while she carries on her one-woman show.  I suppose I could've made a dig at her, like "Those who can't DO,  critique." but I know that's not entirely true and what would that accomplish?  I think when I saw her lapping up the attention of all those around her and mistaking it for genuine respect, I was reminded a little of myself in my more obnoxious, drunken look-at-me moments.  And I was grossed out.  I suppose I should thank this woman for inspiring me to be a better person.



Obviously, I haven't let it go for one reason or another, but it's got me exploring the concept of "typical" and wondering when is it ever a good thing to be refered to as.  Regardless, "Typical Birth" sounds boring.  Perhaps in Italian?



nascita tipica



Not bad.  If all else fails I'll just go with plan B and call her "A Good Lay".

"We call 'em slut bugs."

Today we began working on our coyote rugs, using hides purchased from a distributer already fleshed and tanned.  My fellow student also brought in a huge skin from an Alberta Buck her friend had gifted her, and I helped her flesh it out a little.  I've got a knack for getting my little fingers on a hunk of flesh and ripping it from the skin which is more economical, time-wise, than knifing it out.  My nick-name for the day is "The Ripper."



Here is my head form for the coyote, with artificial jaws set in.  Original skulls are rarely used these days because over time the teeth crack and break.  I think when I'm doing this on my own, however, I will use original skulls, simply because I have a disdain for all things plastic.  Maybe I'll cast metal ones, who knows.







I wanted to challenge myself so I studied some reference pictures and carved a snarling shape into the form.  Creating this expression also involves various sculpting techniques with clay but I'll keep that info to myself.  I'm trying really hard to keep my inner-brat from emerging as my patience grows thin with all this conventional, commercial mounting.  I think when I'm getting paid to do it, I'll have no issue, but I long to be putting jewels on paws, false lashes on eyes, pheasants on stilts, etc.







Pinning the face.  Mine had a scar just inside his eye, and since a typical client wouldn't want to feature that in his prize rug, I learned how to obscure it.  Top secret!!!!







When Mr. B came back from lunch he had a present for me- one of his hens had died over the weekend and when he'd mentioned it to me in passing this morning, of course I asked him what they did with it.  "Well, we usually bury 'em..." ...but surprise!  He brought it in for me!  She's a real looker, too, and she's all mine to mount however I wish.  Stay tuned.



After we finished mounting the head portion of our rugs, the hides were soaked and stretched on a table.  I am not so adept with hammering; I whacked my thumb several times.  What's even more tantrum-inducing than smashing a digit repeatedly with a hammer and staying silent about it so as not to draw attention, is your instructor catching it every time and reminding you  "not hit your thumb with that hammer.  It really smarts."







I noticed several lady bugs on the table; the other student and Mr. B were eager to destroy them.  Apparently there is a huge LB infestation in the area and they are not viewed as the luck-spreading, charming little guys we here in the city know them as.   In fact, they are a different breed.  The LBs up in the Poconos are an Asian beetle which look exactly like Ladybugs, and were brought to the US to aid in pest control.  I guess they then became the pest themselves.  I'm told they reproduce like crazy and clog up vents, eat through stuff, and bite.



Not so cute:











I took the scenic way home, via back roads, and stopped for coffee at a little shop in White Haven.  I'd wanted to stay and enjoy it there while I soaked in the environment, maybe get some networking practice, but it was just myself and the "barista" I doubt he'd call himself that) there and I felt him eyeing my every move so I stepped out.  I hate feeling watched when I haven't made it clear I'm looking to be the center of attention.  I start to second guess my every move and can't think straight.



When I got home, I took a walk around the hilly fields behind the cabin and then took a nap with the dogs in front of the fire while the boys made dinner.  They ate and headed out, and I went to bed.

"Easy, Biscuit"

Monday, 1/11/10:



I managed to get my hands on a deer and an avian grab bag of sorts over the weekend which I was super excited about bringing into school today.  So excited, in fact, that I got on Rt 80 the wrong way and by the time I corrected my mistake and made it to school I was half an hour late.  I walked in on the middle of a fish demo.  We are in the midst of the bird course but a friend of Mr. B's is dying of cancer and called him over the weekend begging him to mount this trout that he's caught, ASAP as he only had however many days/weeks left.  I hear so much about cancer; it seems that everyone in B's family has survived/succumbed to at least one form of it, and the other student is all too familiar with it as well.  Is it a mountain thing?



Amway, he began by hand carving a form out of foam, and then gutting the fish.  The skin was stretched over the form and sewn shut in back .  I'm simplifying, obviously, because I can't be giving the entire process away...



Here is the trout face, with paper towels keeping the cheeks puffed out.   They will be removed later.  Look at that tongue!







Bottom view of head-Epoxy will be applied after drying to fill in gaps where form is exposed.



Bottom view of head; you can see the foam form peekng through a bit.  This will all be epoxied over after drying time.



Mounted Trout, with fins carded to keep them in an attractive and spread condition.







After the Trout was mounted and drying, we began skinning our Mallard ducks.  I found this to be more challenging than pheasants, since they are so fatty.  I managed to put several holes in my skin when degreasing it.  A slight reprise though came when I simply cut the entire head out of the duck, instead of inverting it and needing to clean the skull, which is SUCH a drag.  Apparently the beaks on Mallards simply have too much fleshy tissue on them so the method of choice is to airbrush artificial heads and stretch the skin over them.  Here is my removed duck neck and head.







I'm learning more and more about regulations on what I may and may not possess as a taxidermist.  The amount of permits I need to acquire to do just about anything is dizzying and somewhat disheartening, but I'm determined.   In class, I'm a frequent inquirer, constantly asking "do people eat that?", "How do you kill those?" and today my queries included but were not limited to making Trout-skin purses, the degree of edibility of fish eyes and applications for duck fat.  The answers I receive aren't always enthusiastic but I think he's accepting the fact that I won't stop pressing.



After school I went home and practiced on my hoop in the barn.  I'll take some video of that shortly; it's a fun structure to spin in.   My hosts stuck around and made dinner for Sarah and myself.  I brought her up to keep me from feeling too lonely and to give her an opportunity to work on some essays for school in a quiet environment.  Over dinner we learned the completely astounding circumstances which brought R & W to their dog, E.  A story book detailing this caper is in the works so I can't say much more but to say it's nothing short of mind-blowing would be the undeniable truth.



After our meal, the boys left to drive back to Philly and Sarah and I relaxed with Martinis (her first!) and "Flight of the Conchords".



Oh, and here's a taste of the local grocery experience:







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