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:



Wendy the Woodcock


Hi!

 

 This lil sweetie was possibly my most humbling mount to date (well, aside from that Sharpie Hawk) because of its petite size and tissue paper thin skin.  Above, you can see all the holes I made while skinning it.  A colleague used the term "wet toilet paper" to describe their dermis, which is pretty spot on.
  But she turned out pretty swell, in my opinion, and my client's-which is what really matters.

They use their very long beaks to root around in the dirt for bugs, which they locate with their ears that are at the base of those long beaks, by literally putting an ear to the ground!
Their enormous eyes are located high in the head, and their visual field is probably the largest of any bird, 360° in the horizontal plane and 180° in the vertical! Definitely unlike any other bird species I've worked with.

 My fingers will look like this someday, but more veiny.

 She wanted him perched on a brick to convey an urban environment.  I was dubious at first but it turns out woodcocks look great on bricks!



 OK, that's all for now.  See ya sweetie!


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!

Hawk Eye


In what has been a long an arduous process (not for me, really, all I had to do was sit back and wait) the folks at Bartram's Gardens acquired a Federal Salvage Permit so that I could become their on call taxidermist for such fantastic specimen as the Sharp Shinned Hawk I'm writing about today, a sweet little Vireo and above all, a Great Blue Heron.  The Heron was the impetus for obtaining my services and the permit, but these birds came with the territory, so to speak.
Because I'd never mounted a hawk or a heron, and this is for educational purposes, and I just plain adore Bartram's Gardens I am providing taxidermy services for free and just ask that my supplies are covered.
Even so, I don't feel any less flat about my lackluster job on this hawk.  I did the best I could but what I didn't realise going in was that while structurally these birds are very similar to the hundreds of feathered specimen I've skinned and mounted over my years as a taxidermist, their feathers have a texture and lay pattern unlike anything I'd ever encountered.  I ought to have done more research.



You can see that instead of a tight, compact aerodynamic shape, his feathers look a little ragged, like he just took a roll in the hay or something.  I rehydrated him, used pins to painstakingly place every feather that wouldn't lay flat, wrapped him in hosiery and heat dried him (which has worked wonders for me on other misfit birds) to no avail.  After 6 months it's time for me to accept that I can't win them all.  And it's not terrible.  Just not perfect. 
 

 I am quite pleased with the feet though.  What gorgeous talons he has!  I guess I can't take credit for that, but I can for the positioning.
 The camera in untrained hands yields odd photos; I like how the flash kind of implies motion though.


 I've started noticing these hawks around Philly since I began working with this one.  They're such majestic creatures.  I was waiting for a bus out near the airport one morning, super early, as the dawn was just throwing open her closet and letting the blue spill out onto the sky, and saw one Sharpie sitting on a telephone wire.  Suddenly another flew out of nowhere and perched next to the first one, on the line.  I imagined them exchanging pleasantries and discussing what they might catch to eat that day, how yesterday's hunt had been, where some baby squirrels might be at, etc...
 And I took comfort in this fantasy conversation between the two hawks, thinking well, if they live hand to mouth and are never quite sure where their next meal is coming from, but confident nonetheless in their ability to acquire it, what's so wrong with an artist like me who is perpetually in the throes of of financial insecurity? 
Did I just pull the curtain back too much?  This is quite a revealing post. Back to the bird.
 So yeah, you can see the flaws, but I think he still looks quite regal.  It certainly has been an honor working with him.  The Blue Heron is on deck now, and believe me when I say I'm doing my research and planning every step with extreme focus and care.


Chichi

Meet chichi, a pet preservation project I recently completed after about 7 painstaking months.  I believe she is a Pyrrhura Conure breed, but will gladly accept corrections.  Her human was quite distraught when she brought her to me, and spoke very little English to boot.  What I could tell is that this bird wasn't in great shape.  I know very little about the world of keeping birds as pets other than it's a high maintenance labor of love.  These little bundles of love can develop all sorts of ailments, and it seemed this one had plucked out just about every feather within beak's reach.  She was also in her early thirties so perhaps feathers fall out with age as well, I can't say.  I am not even a novice, let alone an expert.

bald tail area

What I am is a passionate people and animal lover with an unparalleled work ethic.  A shrewd business person would have turned this project away because the profit margin is basically nil after all the hours spent bringing the animal back to a presentable state, but once my heart takes over, my emptypockets are left to flap in the wind. 
I mounted the bird and put her aside for a few months while I worked on other pieces.  All the while, she playfully glared at me, bald and pathetic.  I scoured etsy, ebay and online taxidermy forums for feathers to no avail.  The large colorful primary wing feathers seem easy to come by but what I really needed were the tiny green neck and belly feathers, among others.
Then the universe does what it always does when I am patient with it, and while a client was dropping off her coyote recently she glanced over at Chichi and said, "oh, my parents have that same bird.  It's always shedding.  I'll see if they can hook you up".  A week later a ziplock baggie full of all the feathers I need arrives in the mail.  Perfection.

Here is her filled in belly and armpit, which were previously bald.



(before)
 



another bald tail shot:


Her one wing was very crudely clipped so I positioned her with that one tucked and the other outstretched, head cocked to the side in a playful way.

I realise that she isn't perfect, there is still some thinness of feathers on her head, but I poured all I had into this little girl who is so close in age to me, and this is what I got.  I know how if feels to be a little rough around the edges but loved regardless.


Now she just needs to go home! Take flight, sweet Chichi!

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!  

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.

Revisiting my TWENTY4TWENTY Project, a Vintage Post:


Twenty 4 Twenty #8: Temple Grandin

It’s hard for me to write about Temple Grandin because I usually start welling up with tears at the mere thought of her.  I cry just watching the trailer to her movie.  I saw her speak the other night and felt my eyes filling up at several points throughout the evening.  She was speaking at the Academy of Natural Sciences, and her presentation was very similar to her TED talk, if you’d like an idea:


Please watch this.  If you’re anything like me, you will be saying YES YES YES at so many points throughout her talk.  I think why I get so emotional over hearing her story and thoughts is how I relate to her.  Obviously, I’m not autistic and have in no way braved the type of adversity as Ms. Grandin but I am, like Temple, a visual thinker who struggled with school and various aspects of life due to the fact that I just couldn’t wrap my mind around certain things.  I still to this day cannot figure out space and direction.  I memorize routes by visual points but I have no idea what direction I’m going in and still get turned around and lost in my own city, especially if it’s dark when I’m leaving some place I arrived at during daylight.
The point is, I spent the first thirty years of my life convinced that I was stupid. All because I was presented with examples of intelligent minds and how they functioned, unable to relate to a single one.  The fact that I was compelled to play with dead animals didn’t help things.   Thankfully I was equipped with an abundance of social awareness and empathy which gave me the ability to charm, feign wit, and feel out even the subtlest of social cues so I could “play the game” and interact with other people even when it was painful to do so.  Don’t get me wrong; I love connecting with people.  It brings tremendous joy and meaning to my life when a real connection is struck.  It’s just that there are many, many social situations where I feel everyone is speaking a language i don’t understand and I have to smile and nod because I can’t relate in any way to what’s going on.
What I’m expressing isn’t that unique; I realise now that I’ve become comfortably enmeshed in a community of like-minded thinkers, that I’m not at all strange, and that there are in fact, many different kinds of minds. All different but none less.  That’s part of what’s so important about this talk that Temple gives.  Kids need to hear this.  They need to be encouraged.  I was fortunate enough to have parents who indulged my artistic whims and let me dress in outfits that made absolutely no sense in the context of 4th grade playgrounds.  Most children aren’t that fortunate however, which is an absolute shame.  There are some truly truly outstanding minds in this country and our education system isn’t nourishing them.
Maybe if the world could cast aside its hangups about the little boy who likes to paint his nails pink , or the shy middle-aged woman who enjoys spending all her time finding ways to communicate with extraterrestrials, maybe if everyone (you and me) could just ONCE have their whims indulged, the world could take a collective deep breath and sigh it out in contented relief.   After all, these thoughts and desires we all have are real, and come from a real place.  You can’t discount that.  Somehow shame crashed the party and stuck on all of us like foul smelling plaque.
What touches me most about Tenple Grandin is that she appears untouched by shame.  She just does what she does and if you think she’s weird, then fine.  She could not care less.  It doesn’t matter what you think because she is fulfilling her destiny.

I made her this brooch because I know she wears those colorful Western shirts and thought this would be a nice accent.  It’s very soft and feminine though, which I am not sure is her taste.  I gave it to her, in a box, after I saw her speak on Tuesday night.  She put it aside on her book signing table (thank goodness, I feel so awkward when someone opens a gift in front of me when they’re in front of an audience) and for all I know it’s still in that box.  She said thank you, asked what I was, and I said “artist.” I shook her hand and as I was walking away she said “What kind of artist?:
“Taxidermist,” I replied.
“Oh.  OK.” she said as she turned to the next person in line.
She is completely unfettered by the social expectations most other people would feel compelled to adhere to like smiling, nodding, inserting witty statement here, etc.  And I love her for it.

I don’t even feel like talking about the brooch, who cares.  I got to look Temple Grandin in the eye and shake her hand.
I hope the world makes more like her.

VINTAGE POST: LADIES TEA & HAT COMPETITION AT DEVON


Devon Horse Show LaYDEEEES day: 2012 edition

Early Wednesday morning my friend Mearah swung by to primp and prep for our first Ladies Tea at Devon. Neither of us had attended such an event but thankfully it was the first one of its kind  so all of us were excited about having no expectations.  Upon arrival we’d be meeting my other friends Beth, Claudia and Sharilyn who all were kind enough to be my hat models for the day.  We arrived in time for the contest and “parade” and while Caron Kressley was not in attendance (he did so adore my duck hat from 2010, poo) I managed to hit it off with Bill Henley who made for a great consolation prize.  We paraded ourselves in front of the judges and Diamond Tooth emerged victorious, placing fourth among excellent company.
Image from the magnificent Susan Scovill
I of course chose to wear an entire Guinea Hen on my head which, being the most in-season option my butcher could provide, made for a sensational dinner as well as a fun hat.
photo by Brenda Carpenter, http://brendacarpenter.com/
You will see this same hen make a guest appearance in a few weeks as part of a short video profile about taste makers in Philadelphia: she was a dream to work with.  Absolutely no drama.   But I digress.  I fasbricated some new, and sourced some classics for the rest of my gal pals ranging from tastefully conservative to somewhat more exotic.  When I’m not crafting my own hat bases for my pieces, I pair up antique hats gifted to me or sourced from flea markets that I collect.  Along with all the trinkets I collect from the street, it’s profoundly rewarding to marry up materials after having held onto them so long.  Of course, what I’m doing is certainly nothing new or that shocking- I just hope that I can do the legacy of high society ladies from the late 1800s justice with my interpretation of their taxidermy hat fashion. I do understand that taxidermy is not for everyone, as I’ve said many times.  How boring would the world be if we all had the same tastes?  Lucky for me I was in the presence of some classy, kind and open-minded ladies.
Thank you Susan Scovill!
As you can see, my ladies and I had a great time.  Beth, on the left, is wearing the Prairie Chicken Hat from my website while Claudia sports a gorgeous Bantam rooster saddle mounted on a vintage brown velvet beret.  Next is Mearah with a rehabbed vintage blue cap with a rooster wing and glass charms affixed to it. I couldn’t find any shots of all of us together but here is Sharylinn (below, center) wearing a fascinator I made from (tada!) more Guinea hen feathers and some antique cage veiling.  It’s hard to see but some rooster tail feathers are peeking out here and there as well, plus assorted gems:

After we did a little winners’ photo trot, the whole gaggle of us headed across the grounds to the Ladies’ tea, of which my friend Jen McGowen did a sensation job planning.  I was actually on the planning committee with a dozen or so other women, but spreading the word and promotion was about the extent of my planning.  Jen seemed to shoulder the bulk of managing this event with the grace and panache of the Fresian horses I was drooling over later that same day.   Once under the tent we ran into some old friends and made new ones.  I was making every attempt to visually memorize all the beautiful dresses and shoes I saw:
Again, thank you Susan Scovill
I could sit and watch pretty ladies, dressed up and socializing for hours.  Sometimes I still feel slightly intimidated as my financial status does not allow me to dress in much aside from second-hand or hand-made, but seeing as one cannot buy style, it levels the playing field for me a bit.  Not like I needed it: these ladies are all so kind and friendly and sociable it just makes for a truly enjoyable and uplifting experience.  It warms the cockles of my heart to see a great group of women from assorted backgrounds coming together to not only sip champagne and nibble cucumber sammies (my FAVE) but also to simply enjoy each other, our health, and how amazing life is that it allowed us to spend such a luxurious morning together.  Just look at these happy faces!  I kind of fell in love with the three ladies in cream in the left of this photo.  I didn’t actually learn their names but they were a dream team.
Photo from Constant Contact
After the tea wrapped up, a few of us stayed back to soak up some pony action.  Ladies side-saddle is a perennial favorite of mine to watch, and this year I caught some of the Fresian dressage (I could be wrong and probably am- it looked kind of like dressage but not quite.  The riders wore top hats and brightly colored coats, and in one event the horses pulled them in little chariots!).  Of course I need to bone up of my pony facts but I do absorb a thing or two from other spectators who are generous enough to share their knowledge with me.  Example: there is an entire industry which manufactures hair extensions for horses!

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.



 

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.

Something Old, Something New,

-Something Taxidermied, and Something Blue!  Perhaps the Blue Quail Fascinator, below?



If you're in Philly and planning your wedding, perhaps you already have leafed through the pages this most recent issue of Philadelphia Wedding Magazine with a mug under your face to catch the inevitable drool.  There are some gorgeous pieces in there.  Diamond Tooth had the honor of being featured as an Editor's Pick and they included my treasured Blue Quail Puff Fascinator in their bridal shoot.







 



 



 







 



 







 







I really do have a mega soft spot for weddings sometimes I fantasize about having mine over and over again just so I could wear every type of dress that struck my fancy.  Seeing as that plays out much better in my fantasies where logic need not apply, I'm just as thrilled to work with brides-to-be on their head adornment fantasy.  Just knowing that a piece which I have poured so much love into can be an integral part of someone's very important day makes my heart swell.



 







In fact, this Blue Quail Puff made an appearance at a real life wedding in Philadelphia recently:







 



Such a handsome couple!



So ladies, if you're floating down the aisle any tim esoon, please peruse the Diamond Tooth Bridal page for ready-to-wear pieces as well as inspiration for any custom head piece you can dream up.



Thanks to Meredith Communications for bringing the right people to the right place for this shoot!

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.

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!

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.

Arrrrrt Starrrr Craft Bazaarrrrrrrr

I've come up for air after the Art Star Holiday Craft Bazaar, if only for a moment.  The weekend was a success and I feel pretty good about how my first time at the rodeo went.  It didn't hurt to pair up with Art Star veteren Maria Eife wh also has an international show plus the Martha Stewart Holiday Craft Show under her belt.



I presented (and sold!)  an assortment of combs, pins, picks, joined earrings, hats, and talon charms.  Below is a smattering of the pieces I've been toiling away in my ivory tower creating:



A chicken feather hair pin with vintage jewelry elements,







More chicken feathers with more vintage jewelry,







And look!  An equestrian flair!  I finally got around to creating those horse shoe themed pieces I promised my polo buddies so many months ago!  Perhaps this Summer I'll actually follow through and sell some at the Friday Night matches...







Some of the combs were feather based while otehrs were built around entire taxidermied wings.  Below is an in betweener, comprised of the taxidermied tail of a chicken.







Oh look!  A frizzle chicken wing!  Perhaps now would be a good time to let you know that 90% of my feathered elements come from my dear friends Bailey and Thomas.  They are quite possible the sweetest, kindest and most compassionate farmers this world may ever know.  Yes, My opinion is totally biased.  They keep an outstanding blog in which they document their adventures in farming, please give it a read: The Farmers Husband.







Another winged comb.  I would also like to give a shout out to my dear friend Daniel who owns Wilbur Vintage for letting me purchase his odds and ends of vintage gems.







For those who choose not to sport a long mane, fret not!  Stick pins are always within reach.  Pop one into your hat, your lapel, blouse, sweater, bag, etc.







This one belwo didn't sell, much to my surprise.  Instead, it and one cimilar to it are en route to a faraway city as I write this, where it will make Christmas gifts for a pair of very special friends.







The gang!  (some of them, anyway)







I also made a trial run of these fur bangles with tails for the show.  People responded quite positively so I intend to tweek the design a bit and create a series.







Perfect for gesticulating wildly at cocktail parties...







I also created three new higher end head pieces for the show, as my little neon signs to lure in passers by.  They absolutley did the trick, and had many a lady tryign them on.



Right here is a vintage rabbit fur pillbox hat to which I added a chicken tail, with feathers from other birds.







Here's a view of the side.  Can you guess what that super fluffy soft yellow plush is?







It's gosling!  Compliments of another farmer friend of mine, Jeannie. I sewed another patch on the opposite side:







Next up: A vintage velvet fascinator base with a pair of chicken wings on one side and down on the other:







It's hard to see form these photos (all of these hats need to be reshot on a model's head, but I also added a small metal crown jewel charm to each side; a reference to my new logo, which you'll see below.







Laslty, my fave piece of all, this vintage black felt hat base with chicken wings, vintage jewelry adn a tassel made by yours truly.  I have a thing for fringe and tassels, and I think you do too:







That's actually the side view.  Below is the hat, straight on.  The curved shape frames the wearer's face beautifully.  I just adore this hat.







On Friday night my husband came and got a few shots of our booth.  Here it is, our gypsy caravan in all its glory:







My "side" of the booth:







Like that fox? I worked with the very talented designer Dave Seater to create it and a more cohesive look for all my online presences, which you will be seeing soon.  He's the best.  The fox with the crown was entirely my idea though; I think it really embodies the Diamond Tooth philosophy.







Here I am making a sale!  Yippee!  Like I said, I feel pretty good about how I did this weekend, as a greenhorn.  I visited with Sue Eggen at her booth, Giant Dwarf where she not only promised to play hat model for my next set of shots but also to toss some much needed (my words, not hers) pearls of wisdom my way in regard to navigating through this wild and wacky craft show life.  Sue, I'm holding you to both these things!







And that is all for the craft bazaar, now its time to work on my entry for this year's Carniverous Nights competition.  If you plan on coming, buy your tickets now!  ALso coming up: A cat, a fox, a hamster, a rabbit, more bridal pieces and the next 20for20 gift which is going to a mystery man that some of you may have dressed as for Halloween as children...

Here's a hint....or seven

I did a search for a video with the word "hint" and this came up. Listen while you read; it's invigorating ( I think she's saying, "I love wearing taxidermed birds on my head Beth Beverly should be rich and famous by now she is a god in my heart"):











So I've lapsed a bit in my writing and for that I feel bad.  This tends to happen when I work on multiple projects all at once; there is a period of holing up in my studio and then a burst of online activity once it's all finished and photographed.  Another thing pulling at me in administrative issues.  Paperwork, licensing, biz shizz, etc.  It's time-consuming and profoundly mind numbing to me, but necessary.



So while I have no new pieces to report on, I have several works in progress, such as:







Can you guess what this mystery item is?  Come and see it and others like it at the Art Star Holiday Craft Bazaar next month!  Friday the 18th is the preview party; part with a few shekels and be the first to browse all the wares whilst sipping cocktails made with my favorite spirit, Root.  I'll also be peddling many of these:







and these:







Oh! and several pairs of these:







Along with these smaller trinkets I'll have fascinators, hats and brooches on hand so you, your roommate, your crush/lover/one night stand AND your mom will have something to fit them.  Be gifted!



Plus, I'll be debuting a very unique pair of  shoes.  Hint, hint:







Along with prepping for the bazaar, the PA Hunt Cup is next Sunday.  This is one equine event I have yet to dip my hooves into so I'm not sure what to expect, but you can bet I've got new hats in the works.  Fall themed, of course:











Speaking of hats, I've got two sweet ones, plus a brooch in the works for my next three Twenty4Twenty recipients.  One is a drag queen, another is an fitness goddess and the third is an accomplished and published huntress.  They are inspirations to me and  I get a kick out of their pieces living in my studio together while they come into their own.  Here's a hint of two:











On top of this, I've been forever preparing a custom form for my favorite client's cat.  I want it to be absolutely perfect so it's to my benefit that she is very patient.







There also some other miscellaneous client projects in the works, as well as sourcing materials for my entry in this years Rogue Taxidermy Competition.   More on that soon.



That's a wrap, yall.    And now I'm off to Mexico....again.

Stick it.

 



Recently one of my favorite clients commissioned me to create several custom pieces for her, one of which being two pairs of talon hair sticks: one for her and the second pair as a birthday gift for one of my other favorite clients.  These two gals are so fun to design for because they just tell me what they want and let me go.  They trust me, and enjoy what I create.  It inspires confidence when people have faith in me.



One set is crafted from a pair of feet formerly belonging to the black rooster I skinned a while back to make a hat out of.  I just remembered I need to photograph the hat; it's really quite smashing.  Anyway, the spurs on this cock's legs are a force to be reckoned with and I got such a good energy from this specimen that I really wanted to use it for this project.







The foot itself is mounted on a stick I sharpened and textured myself, and accentuated with rabbit fur and feathers of peacock and rooster.  The talons themselves are treated to a glossy pearlescent coat of color.







The second pair is slightly larger in size; I used pheasant feet and from there it's basically la meme chose as the first pair.







I used repurposed mink fur with pheasant feathers this time around.







And that's that.  I'm eager to see how they look on the ladies as they both are quite striking women with full heads of thick black hair.



As usual, thanks to Jim Coughlin for taking such consistently awesome photos of my work.



Philly confidential: Happy Birthday, Shannah!

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!



"We make good trade, John Dunbar"

 







That's what my dear old friend Erin was expressing to me last night when I presented her with her custom piece of fine taxidermic millinery.



Erin is a very talented stylist over at JuJu Salon in Philadelphia and fortunately for me, also one of my best friends.  Several months back we agreed to swap a hair coloring & a couple blowouts ( my ultimate indulgence!  Someday soon I'll be able to afford my weekly vice...) for a Diamond Tooth hat.  I was given instructions not to rush; she wanted me to take my time so her piece would be just right.







I held out just long enough for this green vintage hat to walk into my life which I knew immediately would suit her perfect.  Silly me; I didn't get any before pics but this hat in particular had significant crumple-age; after pressing and blocking it looked like an entirely new piece!  Once the millinery issues were straightened out  I added the squirrel portion.  From there its just a perfect storm of found objects and me being in the zone and loving what I'm doing....and trying not to get too carried away.







 



I brought the hat over to Erin last night and she was pleased as punch!  It fit her like  a dream too, I shall get some pictures of her wearing it shortly. I even got a surprise blow-out!



OK, that;s all the flexing my vocabulary has the energy for.  It's so hot in here and I just can't seem to find any more words. Take it away, Tom Tom Club:







A Sharp Dressed Man









Every girl is crazy about 'em.  Well, every girl ought to be, in my book.



This ZZtop video is actually really awful.  This is the first time I've seen it but I wanted you, dear reader, to listen to the song whilst reading this post.  This has long been my favorite ZZTop song (well, next to La Grange, of course) simply because of the lyrics.  It's like this song was written for me.  I've always been enamoured with men's accessories, and any guy who opts to incorporate these little extras into his daily ensemble earns high marks with me.  I used to buy gaudy, bejeweled vintage cufflinks at flea markets knowing that someday I'd meet a man to give them to.



To some it may appear a little fey, but I think it speaks volumes when a man takes time getting dressed, thinks about the way his clothes fit his form, and is thoughtful about embellishments, etc.  It makes me sick to see how the vast majority of the opposite sex has given up on fashion, wearing a uniform of cargo shorts, flip flops and baseball caps.  Men: do you take no pleasure in the art of "getting ready"?  Whatever happened to putting your best face forward?  Take one look outside my house and I should consider myself lucky guys are able to get their jeans up to the bottom of their asses nowadays. It really turns my stomach, especially when I see these offensive creatures walking around with women who clearly invested some serious time in their appearance/ensemble.



Ladies!  Put your stilleto-clad foot down!  Send your beau back inside to change and don't let yourself be seen with him until he is dressed to match your caliber.  Do not lower your worth by letting yourself be paraded around by a slob!



Men!  Stop letting yourselves go!  Some of you complain about not having as many options as women in the shopping/clothing arena but really, you can personalize your look with any or all of the following:



cufflinks (easy)



ties (duh)



bow ties (not for the faint of heart)



belts (very easy)



tie tacks (easy/moderate)



a monocle (difficult, not for amateurs)



watches (easy)



rings (takes panache)



pockets squares (fun and endless ways to fold!)



stick pins.  So easy, so elegant, and speaking of:







I apologise for the poor quality photos; my in-house photographer was not available at the moment and I clearly  am not skilled with a camera.



This is a custom lapel pin I just dropped off  for a dear friend and fellow sharp-dressing enthusiast, Adrian Hardy.  He is also a talented purveyor of music, I believe the term is DeeJay although I cringe when I hear myself say that because for some reason (perhaps due to my complete lack of a night life) I feel like an out-of-touch poseur when I use that word.  Irregardless, Mr. Hardy and one of his partners-in-crime over at LOTis Media had a fairly significant event last night in Philadelphia to tend to and Adrian requested I whip up something fancy for him.  I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love doing custom work.  Pieces are so much more special to me when I've got a specific client in mind.  That said, it also makes for a much more harrowing experience as I hand it over, wringing my hands and praying they like it.  I'm pretty sure this one went over well; I'll have to troll for pictures online to see.







The parameters given to me for this lapel-pin were Arian's personality and what I know of it, and the fact that this particular event was a "white party".  I used a bed of Polish Hen  plumage and added feathers of pheasant, peacock, and mourning dove.  I also embellished it with some rabbit fur and a dazzling vintage charm.  All of this atop a 24K gold-plated stick-pin!



And there's more where that came from, folks!  Just check out my Etsy shop!







Say it with me, ladies and gentlemen: men's return to fashion starts RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW, with ME and team Diamond Tooth.



xoxo,



Beth Beverly



 



***update: Here is a photo of Senor Hardy last night Courtesy of Philly Chit Chat: Not too shabby, eh?



A special comb for a special gal

Here is a comb I was recently commissioned to make for a friend as a gift for her sister-in-law.  Commissions are my favorite assignments; I thrive on personalizing things for specific individuals.   The recipient in this case has reddish hair, and appreciates a flash of bright color.  I incorporated a cameo because it reminded me of the couple who commissioned the piece.







According to my friend, the cameo resembles her sister-in-law!  My personalised work seems to somehow magically blend in perfectly with the wearer's style and personality; I truly think this is where I excel.  These are the times when I follow my instincts and it works.



Here's a full-sized image.  I just had to get these shots quickly since I had to run out and deliver the piece.  It's comprised of pheasant, peacock and misc bird feathers; some were manipulated and curled.  I also incorporated vintage gems and beaver fur.







 



And here is another picture.  It is so ridiculously hot in here and I can't think.  Words hard.



Twinkle, twinkle, little bat. I wonder what you're at.

Remember when I mentioned a few months back that somebody was getting married?



Yes, yes...while the nuptials haven't quite taken place, the party has been presented their headwear for the big day so I am free to share them with you, my little doormice (all 8 of you!)



Birthday?  My dear child, this is NOT a birthday party.



Is this getting curiouser and curiouser?  My apologies, but "Alice through the Looking Glass" is such an irresistibly quotable story.  It's also the theme of this bride's wedding.  Without knowing this, I suggested using a petit lapin as the taxidermic element to her fascinator:







This is a detail shot to show just how delicate this little guy is.  I used an antique hand-made glass eye to give the face more expression, depth, and dolliness.  This ain't your mamma's March Hare.



For the 5 bridesmaids I made a collection of combs with similar elements/color, but each unique in its own fashion, just like the girls themselves!  Each one is based on a pheasant wing, with a bird (mostly pheasant) talon and then embellished with vintage findings:







Read the directions and directly you will be directed in the right direction...







It would be so nice if something would make sense for a change.







Off with their heads!



And here is the bridal piece, in its full glory.  I'm very proud of this one; the tatted lace base was provided by the bride and blends with the rabbit perfectly.  I am eager to see photos of all the beautiful girls wearing these on the Big Day!





While looking for a fun little video to insert into this post, I found a gem series called "Alice on the Wall."  Oh boy.







Birthday Surprise!

Here's a quick little ditty about a hair pin I made for a very special gal who celebrated her birthday yesterday.  I didn't have a ton of time, and I was given some very basic guidelines (she's kind of girly and likes shiny things!) so I ran with it.  The other caveat (for lack of a better word) is that the birthday girl sports a massive mane of dreadlocks.  Long, thick, beautiful dreadlocks, so a typical fine toothed silver plated hair comb wasn't going to work.  I opted for a pin and combined dyed deer tail (typically used for making fly-fishing lures), pheasant feathers and a vintage gem earring.







When my friend opened her gift; her joy was unmistakable.  I wish the happiness I glean from giving other people something they genuinely love could be bottled and used as currency.  It feels better than money.  Not really knowing her style or preferences, I went with my gut and wound up with a product that, accordingly to the recipient, was an uncannily perfect fit.  This brings me so much joy and seems to be a recurring theme in my custom pieces, which is more than I could have hoped for.  I will touch upon this more when I post pictures of the bridal pieces I presented recently to a client- but until the wedding those details must remain under wraps.



Like a ________ with its head cut off.





Specifically, a pheasant.



I recently came into contact with the striking and fabulous Kiki Hughes, proprietress of Kiki Hughes Boutique in Philadelphia.  Word to the wise: click on that link and check out her store if you're near Philly.  There are some truly, truly gorgeous wardrobe pieces in there (like my ostrich feather skirt!!!) and all the clothing is merchandised in such a clever and unique fashion that you'll kind of get sucked into a time warp and forget how long you've been there ogling at the displays.



Anyway, Ms. Kiki has this lovely pheasant head hat from her personal collection which her cat made into a sacrifice one night by ripping the head clean off.  What killer instincts!



My cat Frankie, a.k.a the Diamond Tooth Studio Mascot, seems to not care less about anything feathered which makes him an ideal work buddy, provided I keep all things mousey out of his reach.  For the most part, he just wants to be near whatever I'm doing.  Example:







Upon closer inspection, this bird was more than just decapitated.  He was straight ripped.







I started by sewing binding tape over the cracks and along the edge of the head which I then reinforced with an adhesive.  This would provide a stronger  bond once the whole thing was sewn back together.







Cotton filling back into the head:







Next was the binding tape along the edge of the bottom half:







Finally it's time to sew the head onto the body.  This is where curved needles come in handy.







After the head was securely reattached, there was still the job of filling in the blank skin spots with feathers.  Fortunately I have an abundance of pheasant plumage on hand and was able to find the right shade/size.shpe to blend in with the originals.



And he's finished!  Top view:







Side view:







Other side view:







So the moral of the story is:  I do repairs.  Please feel free to contact me should an old piece of taxidermy in your collection need some new life breathed into it.

Somebody's Getting Married!









I met with a client last night who has commissioned me to create  her bridal headpiece to wear in her upcoming nuptials.  We hashed out the details over a cocktail and snacks, and as we talked about the wedding, her relationship, etc, we marveled over how much we had in common.  It truly is remarkable that we hadn't crossed paths really, up until recently.



Anyway, all the talk got me feeling nostalgic about my own wedding day, and how much I enjoyed the process of preparing for it.  I created the corsages and boutenniers fo the wedding party as well as my own veil and bouquet.







I made a special hair piece for my maid of honor to wear:







As well as one for my flower girl:







Aren't they handsome?  That's my husband to the left, our officient (and dear, dear friend) in the middle, with the best man to the right.







A close-up of one of the brooches I made for the family members.  This one is pinned to my mother.







It's my dream come true to create pieces for brides.  Perhaps because it is that one day where a girl really can go bananas and express her most extravagant fantasies through attire, and that's the niche my work seems to fall into.  Not every woman wants to stop traffic or look like an exotic creature of fashion every day.  Some of us thrive on the attention generated by dressing unusually, but many of us don't.  The wedding day, however, seems to be the one occasion where it is socially acceptable for all women to truly let their light shine, and I find tremendous joy in being able to help facilitate that illumination.

Brooklyn Bound

I've been getting all my ducks in a row (that would be a great pun I guess, if I were using ducks this time around) for my trip to Brooklyn next week where I'll be participating in the annual Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy contest.  I'll be a first timer, but not a forgettable one.



 



I'm entering two pieces, the one below has been shown most recently at Vincent Michael Gallery but I've reconfigured some crucial elements to take her to the next level.  Obviously none of these photos will be of the entire creature; full shots to come next week after my hopefully triumphant return.







 



This second entry is my best work to date.  I'm quite pleased with how she turned out  and look forward to showing the final results.  Two hints:



Iridescence,







And sparkles!







 



 



Of course no event would be complete without a new headpiece so I've got one of those in the works as well:







 



 



See you next week!

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.
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