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:



Bird Bird Bird.

Bird is the word.  Here are some photos of a finished pheasant and a mallard drake I mounted for one of my favorite clients.  I finished these pieces a while ago but am only just now getting around to photographing them.
Unfortunately these pictures aren't so great; I didn't set up my back drop for the duck, and the pheasant was difficult to properly photograph because it's a hanging mount.  Alas:






































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.



 

Quacker

Here's a quickie post about my most recent quacker.  A new client brought this gorgeous Mallard Drake to me a few months ago and waited patiently for his mount while I cruised, moved, etc.   He used the breast meat to make a lovely dinner for himself and his gal, which always makes me happy to hear.



Ducks are challenging but I love working with them.  The grease in the skin makes them much more labor intensive than a chicken or pheasant (which is why I think I need to recalibrate my pricing on birds) but as a result their feathers never seem to dry or get brittle like most of the chickens I work with.  Such handsome creatures.  There are scores of them at FDR Park where I like to run my dog, and I can't help but quack at them every time I pass by them with their cute duckie butts wiggling in the water.







 



Some people believe that the number of curly-q tail feathers corresponds to the duck's age, but I don't know if there's any truth to that.







Enjoy your new home, duckie!



 

DIRTY BIRDS









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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



The spoils of duck lipo:



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



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







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



.



Lots of holes:



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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







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







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







And that's the word, Bird.

Squirt.

This morning I was skinning a duck in preparation for a taxidermy demonstration I'll be giving on Saturday.  I plan on having some finished mounts as well as a cured skin to show various stages in the process.  Sounds fine right?  Except it's for children.  Children terrify me.  Last night I was envisioning speaking to them and I cringed at myself as I lay in bed, marveling at what a nerd these kids will think I am.   I was a kid once, and I know first hand they are cruel, and nothing people over the age of thirty do could ever be cool.



Wait, WHY do I care what a bunch of children think of me?  I guess at the end of the day I don't.  Amway, I'm thinking about all this as I skin my duck, and I'm at the head. I'm angling my brain-spoon around the back of the eye sockets to free the eyeball and SQUIRT!  A stream of black eyeball juice lands upon my shirt, my arm, my face, MY EYE.  I have duck eye juice in my human eyeball. This was the first time I popped one, and I never knew how inky the liquid is.  I wonder if it could be used as dye?







After cleaning up that mess I was able to focus on the task at hand, only to find a very broken wing.  Break one, humerus bone:







Break two, radius and ulna:







It's not really that big of a deal when wings are shattered like this but it does pose a challenge when skinning.  It's relatively easy to use the whole arm for leverage when working the skin off, but when the arm is just a pile of mush there isn't much to hold onto.



Thankfully I had my studio mascot there to keep me company while I worked.







Ever since I cleaned my studio and organised it in a fashion which is conducive to how I work, it's been a nonissue having the cats around. Frankie sometimes manages to sniff out any mouse tidbits I have hiding around but aside from that he doesn't care to get into the other animals.  It's very pleasant to have him sleeping at my feet in his little patch of sun while I work.



This is my newly cleaned studio.  It may look cluttered but I have a ton of stuff in a very small space.  Amazingly, everything has a home and I know where it lives.







Work table and mini freezer:







Supply shelving, windows, and Frankie!









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.











Darning Ducks





Yesterday I finally got around to paying the piper in regard to stitching up all the holes I created in my duck skins while degreasing them last week.  The darning process added about an extra hour to the mount time, for the two ducks combined.  Here's some sewn up holes:







One of these Buffleheads was just about shot to bits; there was no leg bone to work with, a shattered wing bone, and buckshot in the beak.  Plus, when I was skinning it I pulled too hard when I reached the neck area and just about tore the entire hood off the damned thing.  Sewing that up yielded no results as the whole creature just looked more pathetic the farther I got.  PLUS I must not have degreased him enough because my fingers kept getting oily as I worked.  I don't mind the finger oil (in fact it feels quite nice on my dry skin) but once I start transferring the oil from my fingers to the feathers on the exterior of the skin, they appear yellowed and dull.  I could always proceed and then clean the feathers  afterwards but that doesn't mean the oil residue on the inside won't bleed out through the skin eventually.



When good ducks go bad. Very, very bad:







I'm not sure how everything went SO WRONG on this one duck but I'm very thankful that all the mishaps were concentrated on him while the other one mounted so easily it was as though I were in a dream-state.



I positioned him on a hat (the 2nd for my Devon Horse Show series) and although he may look slightly unnatural, I wanted the wing to arc around the brim of the hat and frame the wearer's face. I'm trying to achieve just the right balance between whimsy and realism.



Works in Progress

Here are a few pieces I've been working on for a show in Brooklyn opening this week.



This is the bear paw I was administering a manicure to recently.  While making the pice in my mind I was thinking about bears leaving the woods and coming into suburban areas in search of food.  I imagined the bears deciding they like suburban life and getting mani/pedis alongside the soccer moms.  Do soccer moms still exist?  Is that even a relevant term?







I went to the Wagner Institute recently for a lecture on taxidermy.  While there, I took in the massive shell collection.  The notion of combining mammals with shells struck me nad this is the first in a series.







Here is a bufflehead duck; her neck is stretched as an experiment.  I found it extra tricky to get the feathers to lay correctly while stretching the dermis in this fashion but the finished product came out OK.







Finished pieces to be posted shortly.
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