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:



pssssst: hi.

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







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



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











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







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







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











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



That sure went fast.

It seems like just the other day I was paying a solemn visit to a friends' house to retrieve a recently deceased gosling pet.  While I had initial success mounting Bobby, acquiring the perfect wings took some time.  Patience paid off however, and I was rewarded with a delicious squab which provided the perfect shade and size wings as well as a nutritious and wonderful meal.    After the entire piece was finished drying, I gave him a healthy coat of fairy dust to ensure maximum sparkle while poised atop the tree:



 







 



Merry Christmas!



Only four months until Christmas!

Operation gosling-tree-topper is in full swing and on I'm just about on the home stretch with this project.



Dried and fluffed: that skin had to be one of the softest things I've ever felt.  Part of me wished it was mine to use as I wished; I would've fashioned a pair of earmuffs out of it.







While drying the skin I was presented with a new fronteir: molting.  I had been completely unaware that birds went through this process until my friend Bailey the Hen-Master enlightened me to this phenomenon.  While skinning the goose I'd noticed some skin peeling off his legs, not unlike a snake, but thought nothing of it.  But when the downy feathers around his neck began falling out en masse while drying, I started to panic. I looked up "goose molting" online and found out that young geese molt for the first time at 8-10 weeks, at which point their flight feathers come in. ( I also learned that geese are one fo the few monogamous species occurring in nature and mate for life.)  Molting occurs annually and is a family experience.  They try and stay close to the water at this time as an escape plan from predators, since they can't fly.  Reading this, I was reminded of a night, weeks ago, when two friends and I were cutting through a field out in the suburbs to walk to another friend's house.  There were geese everywhere and it looked like  we'd just missed a giant pillow fight.  Now I understand why.  It's molting season, and Bobby the goose must have been just entering his first molt when he passed.



I managed to handle the skin very carefully and keep the loss to a minimum.



This was not an easy mount by any means; the skin was extremely delicate and I had to handle it with surgical precision to keep  from losing any more feathers. The underformed wings presented a challenge as well, being completely new territory to me.  Needless to say, once I had him sewn up and carded, my sigh of relief could be heard from blocks away, I'm sure.











I've still got more to do, but I'm over the hump and quite pleased about it.

Perhaps the only nursery I'll ever feel comfortable in.

Today I was gifted with an unexpected litter of little ones while skinning what I had initially thought was just a chubby mouse.  I was splitting her open and couldn't seem to keep the guts under wraps, so to speak.  I just kind of figured I'd have a messy one on my hands and then I really looked at what was spilling from inside the carcass.  Two little fetuses!  I gasped, apologised to the mouse and left the studio to collect my thoughts.











I'm constantly surprised at what rattles me in this practice; I'm OK with death, guts, blood, gore, just about everything that comes with the territory.  This marks my first encounter with a pregnant specimen, however, and I'd be lying if I said my heart didn't break just a little bit.  I recalled finding the mama mouse on the sidewalk while on a jog through South Philly and sticking her in my spandex so I could get home and put her in the freezer.  While I ran, I speculated on the cause of death, which I assumed to be poison seeing as it had no marks and was just lying right in the middle of the concrete.



Then I thought about how I never find female specimen; I'm always skinning male mice, male squirrels, male foxes, and lamenting over how annoying it is to work around their genitalia.  I get my first female and she's a total doozy!



I collected myself and got down to business, extracting each adorable little unborn mouse from the carcass and burning sage for every one, which totaled 8.  EIGHT!  I can't believe there was room for all of them.  Most still were encased in their umbilical sacs:











I carefully freed them all from their casing and laid them all out. Each one was in just a slightly different position; some had arms outstretched while others kept their itty bitty paws crossed.  I saw what was clearly the runt of the litter, much tinier and paler than the others with an underdeveloped left foot.  I imagined the types of personalities they might've developed had they come to term, and then I thought about something a friend said to me once' about fetal positions.  I'd been remarking to her about how I constantly sleep in this one pose with my arms up and crossed behind my head, to the point of cutting off my circulation nightly.  She suggested that perhaps I'd slept like that in the womb, and the notion stuck with me.



So what am I doing, a taxidermist assigning personalities to unborn mouse fetuses?  My instructor would laugh at me if he were to read this.  The very hunters whose business I desire might wonder just why they should entrust me with their fresh kills.  Well, I guess having emotions doesn't affect my skill set.  Perhaps this experience just triggered something in me, seeing something so tiny and vulnerable that never even got a chance.  When I resumed skinning the mouse, I saw that the cause of death was a blow to the head.  Her skull was cracked and bleeding internally.  Note the dark red spot on the head:







Maybe she fell, or got hit by something, I'll never know.  But I feel honored that I was the one to find and preserve her and her family, saving them from an undignified end like rotting on the street.  I hope my honestly as far as how this experience has affected me feel doesn't rob me of any street cred, per-se, in the eyes of potential clients.  What I'd like to convey is that I understand death is a part of the way we live, I accept it, I embrace it, and I treat the dead with respect and compassion.  I think this philosophy holds true with most taxidermists; something the general public would be surprised to learn.



As I write this, I've got my litter sitting in a jar, preserving, keeping me company.  My morbid little nursery.







Next up was a baby bird, of sorts, one that deserves his own post.  More to come!  For now, I need to turn up the volume on the Bill Burr podcast I'm listening to so I can drown out the sound of what could possibly be my biological clock ticking away.
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