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:



Vetabrae Necklace

I've been in possession of a bag of fox vertebrae for some time now; about a year ago I articulated a few with the intention of making a cool neck piece.  I finally finished it today.

Once I'd decided the exact design, I needed to source the beads and hardware.  The beads are glass and I wore them all around my wrists for a week to infuse them with my own energy and also because glass beads around my wrists feel so good.


 This necklace is meant for a long dainty neck, as you can see in these photos its a wee snug on me.  Perhaps there is a young elfin lass who this piece is calling out to?





 The clasp is a no frills, magnetic slide:
 Magic.

C'est Tout!

Devon Ladies Tea, Twice as Nice!



Last Wednesday was the 2nd annual Ladies Tea at Devon, in which over one hundred finely topped women took shelter from the oppressive sun under the shade of a well decorated tent bursting with endless champagne, tea sammies and mini pastries.  This was following the annual hat competition of which this year I had the honor of being a judge.  To think, just three years ago I was a fresh faced hopeful contestant! 
Here I am, roasting in the stands with Bill Henley, the only man brave enough to sit next to the lady with the fox on her head. 



There were, I believe, 130 contestants- by far the most I've ever seen- and I found picking my favorites to be a bit mind boggling.  Thankfully there were several categories so we didn't have to narrow all the ladies down to 2st second and third.
Here's the lovely Gabrielle, who posted some great photos of the event on the Ladies Tea Facebook page that I reposted here:

I just love her ensemble.  It seems this year more that ever women put forth a notable effort in their entire looks, not just the hats.   
Here we are together.  I went with a fox theme complete with tail necklace.  Seeing as the theme was British "proper toppers" I thought it would be cheeky to reference the ongoing feral fox issue currently plaguing London.  It's no secret that I'm a bit of an outsider on the Devon scene; the wise and gracious ladies of privileged zip codes have embraced me and my ilk, knowing that you cannot keep the artists away from where they wish to roam.  And that we enhance whatever environment we choose to inhabit.


It was also nice to be called "Foxy" throughout the event by complete strangers.  I wouldn't mind that nickname sticking.

Here's our panel of judges.  From left to right:
Patrick Champalou (Cartier), MOI, Carson Kressley, Sheila Connelly,  Brenda Waites Bolling  Alicia Vitarelli (6ABC) and Bill Henley (NBC10).


(Photos from the ever present and always fantastic Susan Scovill)

Here's best in show Tiffany Arey flanked by some dapper dudes.  I met her the first time she ever competed and she was taking home ribbons back then too.  I don't think she's ever left a competition empty-handed; the gal is dripping with class and talent. 
Below you'll see Jen McGowan, the mastermind and graceful ringleader who acts as chairwoman to Ladies Tea.  This was only the second of the annual event and it was tremendous.  It will surely get better every year and I'm eager to watch it grow into a time honored tradition.  And oh look she's wearing one of my Gatsby hats!  That would be The Daisy perched upon her lovely head.

 
 Below is Best in Show Robin Sweet.  I can't seem to find a good photo online of her entire outfit; it was a picnic theme from head to toe- complete with watermelon slice decals on the soles of her shoes!  Carson was smitten with her from the start.

 
Below and to the right is Jaden Rhinehart who won Most Fascinating.  I need to track her down and find out where she sourced that sheer butterfly onesie.


Oh Hello there!  Here's a shot Hughe E Dillon snapped of me taking a sun break and watching the ponies.  I almost forgot what Devon was all about!


Keep your skull and jaws close to your skull and jaws.

This is a short and sweet little post featuring four new pairs of joined earrings (also known as "continuous earrings", "earclaces" and "necklings"- I've been making these for 10+ years and have yet to find a way to properly market them for lack of a better name) which are being sold exclusively at Wilbur Vintage on Fabric Row in Philadelphia.  Available in person or on the shop's Etsy page.



These earrings are surprisingly easy and fun to wear; they're lighter than they look and give the wearer something to fiddle with, talk about or just enjoy the movement of.



I struggle to find a tag or reference name to go with pieces like this, as bone art is not actually taxidermy.  The term "osteopathicraft" was recently suggested to me but it's a bit of a mouthful so I'm going to go with "Osteocraft" for now.  If you can com up with something better, please tell me your ideas in the comments!



First up: Rat Skull filigree earrings joined by black silk fringe:







The skull and fringe are both pleasantly lightweight and easy on the lobes.









Next: Pearlized Grey Fox jawbones earrings joined by a double strand of pearl beaded chain.  These are just a tad heavier than the rat skull earrings but completely wearable nonetheless.







I painted a pearlescent paint on the jaw and left a stripe untouched, just for fun:







Thirdly, we have a pair of pearlized grey fox jaw bone earrings with filigree detail  joined by white silk fringe:







Last but not least, Pearlized Grey Fox jaw bone earrings joined by a single strand of pearl beaded chain, with added chain and pearl detail:







Ding-a-ling-a-ling!







I am constantly producing these so if you want something you're not seeing please contact me for a custom order.  Otherwise, get yourself to Wilbur Vintage ASAP and scoop up a pair!

Freshest Head and Neck Fruits from my Hand Labor

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



Behold!



The Pearl:







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







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







The Pomp:







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







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







The Frenchie:







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







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







The Carnival:







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







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







The Bobby:







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







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







Le Roth:







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







The Andrea:







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







The Duchess:







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







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







The Ladyship:







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







 



 



El Gatador:







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







Perfect for any occasion, in my opinion.







 



The Marie:







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







 



The Shannah:







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







 



The Mearrah:







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



 



 



The Isabella:







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



 



Foxy Fascinator:







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







 



Guinea Hen Necklace:



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







Guinea Hen necklace with pearls:







Freak Mutant Rooster Leg Necklace:



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







 



Jawbone continuous earrings:



Fun to wear, lightweight nad a nonstop conversation piece.











Jaw bone continuous chain earrings:



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











 



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



XOXO Diamond Tooth.

My most conventinal fox

Here's a few shots of a commercial mount I created recently for a new client, and I foolishly scheduled to shoot this piece the same day as pick up, which of course is like a glowing invitation for Murphy's Law to come and tap my on the shoulder.  What went wrong?  I forgot to pack the camera battery with the camera.  I didn't have enough time to go home and retrieve it, and I also didn't want to push this pickup back because, to be honest, I needed the payment to get some bills paid.  So, camera phone pictures it is, and I'm quite cranky with myself since this is a mount I'm very proud of.







Paul brought me the fox, and wanted it in this exact pose with a squirrel in its mouth.  I provided the squirrell.  It was a fun and challenging mount, and then I kind of went bananas putting details like moss and embellishments on the trunk.



 







 



What a mouth full!







All boxed up and ready to go.  And that's fox mount.



Foxy Lady

Well, hello.







This sassy little dandy doesn't have a name yet but he's the manifestation of what happens when I ask myself, "if my client were a fox, what would she look like?"



Another commission for Kiki Hughes, one of my fave rave patrons, I was given carte blanche basically,with this piece.  The parameters I was asked to work within were that it had to be a fox, posed luxuriously with some flair.



 







It took almost 8 months to source the right specimen while staying within the ethical boundaries I have set for myself and my practice, but I think this piece was worth the wait.  More important, my client did as well- in spades.  She was simply over the moon with joy upon finally meeting her little dandy, and looks forward to incorporating him into he shop window displays.  If you're in the Philadelphia area, by all means take a stroll down 21st street (259 21st street to be exact) and say hello to Kiki and her fox!



 



 

"Want me to mount him with his eyes shut so it looks like how he did when you shot him?"

This is a playful jab I hear often in the studio between Mr. B and his clients, insinuating that they must have gone sneaking up on a buck while it slept.  This is poaching and it's obviously illegal, but the more people I talk to up here, the more I hear about it happening.  It comes to mind now because as I sit here in bed at 9pm, reading, I was just startled by a loud rifle shot just outside the cabin. I jumped out of bed and paced around a bit, feeling jarred.  There's a decent amount of undeveloped acreage surrounding me and I'd be lying if I said the thought of some psycho perv armed to the teeth and lurking around watching me never crossed my mind.  I'm fairly certain though that the shot I just heard was...well, I can't be sure but I'll hazard a guess that the neighbor saw a coyote creeping too close to his house.  Regardless, hearing a shot pierce through such a quiet evening-I mean, the sound conjured a mental image of a train hurtling through the forest-leaves me somewhat unsettled and mill undoubtedly keep me up past my usual 9:30 sleep time.



Today I finished my second buck; I experimented with positioning the ears in an alert, listening fashion as though he were hearing something slightly behind him.  Here he is, with carded ears and stuffy nose.







I'm getting pretty good at the eyes, as far as the lid creases and positioning.







I cleaned up my coyote's mouth a bit; not much interesting going on here but I was amused at how dentist-like this looks.  My mouth started watering just looking at him, imagining the saliva building up in my mouth during a cleaning and just dying to spit.







As the nose skin dries out it tends to shrivel so it gets a little coat of epoxy which will be painted later.







I got home to find Mr. M had invented his own cozy little kitty den.  I'd piled up the duvet on the guest bed while the cover was being laundered....and can you find the cat in this image?







Tada!







Poor little guy is getting as much rest as possible and barely eating.



I spent my evening watching more Honey West.  I discovered the "vintage commercial" feature on the discs and found some of the adverts amusing.



My favorite is the Mennan shaving lotion ad which starts at 2:53 in the video below.  I don't see anything refreshing about the way those paws are manhandling that guy's face.







"You Betcha."

Today we began prepping our deer forms and capes for a trophy mount.  These are the capes we skinned out back in January, and they were sent to the tannery as a rush job so as to get them back in time.  Usually hides can take around three months to return from being shipped out for tanning, which has me tempted to try it myself.  It's not recommended, though, as it's easy to ruin the skin.  I went ahead though and bought my own solution and intend to tan some of my own stuff in a couple weeks.  Wish me luck!



Anyway, these hides were "wet-tanned" which means they have to go into the freezer immediately upon return, until they are to be mounted. At this point there is usually a little bit of excess flesh that may have escaped the initial round of skinning so we went in and split the ears a little more, opened up the nostrils, thinned out the skin, etc:







Here is the bullet hole, which needs to be sewn up in a specific, top-secret-taxidermist-fashion.  The hair around the point of entry is scorched so you can't just leave it. Plus it'll get stretched over the mount and look terrible.



Those little holes to the right are actually Xs punched in a formation to mark your cape for the tannery so when multiple skins are sent in they won't get mixed up.







Here is my deer form, with the rack screwed in and the eyes clayed up.  This is just practice clay though, we had to set and reset multiple times until we felt confident in our mastery of the shape, size, symmetry, alignment, etc.







All of this under the watchful eye of my fox, sitting behind me on his table.  I hope when I take his ear cards off and finish up his face he appears more serene.  A day-dream face is what I was going for but that isn't translating quite well at this point in the process.







I was feeling particularly cranky because when I stopped for gas on the way home the little snot behind the counter called me "ma'am", and not in a respectful way.  Seriously, what woman likes being called "ma'am"?



I cheered myself up with more of my new favorite show, "Honey West".  I love that womens' bodies looked authentic, and their faces made expressions.  Plus, one punch could knock someone out for minutes and then they'd be right back on the horse again.  Hardly any guns, but they found ways for a fight scene to use everything in a room:











And the dialogue!  Nonstop wit!

"You're bein' too feminine with it."

Today I finished skinning my fox, and de-greased/fleshed the pelt.  Here's a pile of some of the scraped out residue:







That oblong red object in the center would be a fox penis.



I chose a mount in a supine position with one leg curled under its body. This made sewing up the legs a little tricky, but I was up for the challenge.  Unfortunately I was taking too much time and my instructor was getting on me about it, reminding me of the perils of lolly-gagging with skin.







I managed to get him sewn up almost all the way, and had to store him in a cool spot overnight.  I really need to pick up the pace.



My thoughts drifted a lot today as I wrestled with my moral boundaries, and where I'm comfortable setting them.  I hate that fur-bearing animals, like fox, mink, racoon and possum, are typically caught in traps.  It breaks my heart to imagine  this creature snagged by the neck or paw, waiting for the trapper to come finish it off.  I see so much roadkill everyday and am repeatedly thankful for the millions of happy accidents that placed me in the life I have today, as a human, on top of the food  chain, living my dream and doing it quite comfortably.  I silently apologise and thank each animal I skin, imagining a different scenario in which I as a human would be out for a stroll and then snap-my foot is caught in a trap and I wait around for two, four, maybe ten hours before something comes along with a giant rock to break my back.  Or if I was sitting in my living room one day and some mammoth space craft landed right on top of my home, crushing it and my family. The thing is, I love taxidermy.  And I am really, really, good at it.  I don't want to stop.  And I am okay with they fact that death is part of the circle of life.  I just have to figure out where to set my moral boundaries in terms of justifying killing.  I think as long as I face it head-on, and am honest with myself about the fact that this isn't a pretty craft, and as long as I remain thankful and appreciate the fact that what I do costs lives, I'll be on the right track.



When I got home I finished watching "This is it."  It was decent, as far s the dancing and how involved a production the whole thing was, but I found it creepy watching MJ dance suggestively with women.







"You're gettin' all NCIS forensics on me now."

I finished mounting my squirrel today, here is the skin stretched over the form, sewn shut, but not tucked and pinned in the face:







BOO!







I think the blow-drying is one of my favorite parts.  I imagine clipping barrettes and bows on furry heads and tails.  Unfortunately my skin had some oily spots...possibly the grease had transferred from the inside to the outside via the many beebee holes in the pelt.  This will be remedied later after the mount has dried.







Finished mount, hanging in dead pose.  I took particular care when pinning the eyes to give it that "deathly downward gaze" appearance.







A guest taxidermist was in the shop today, skinning a porcupine.  Amazingly, he didn't prick himself once.  I had the bright idea of using a porcupine pelt as a bike helmet cover, and as usual was greeted with blank stares when I voiced this thought.







When Porcupine Guy learned about my penchant for wasting no part of the animal, he gave me a tooth from his specimen.  I was amazed to see how much marrow is stored inside those fangs.







I began skinning my fox, which had been shot by my classmate's husband and generously gifted to me. I spent about twenty minutes combing briars out of the fur with a metal comb before I could begin.







Briar pile:







For lunch, Mr. B treated us to lunch at the local diner.  He said we absolutely had to try the burger; it was an experience. When our meals arrived, I damn near crapped my pants.  The pattie was the diameter of the plate, with a regular sized bun sitting atop it, looking like some kind of joke.  Unfortunately I didn't have my camera at the diner, but I took a picture of my leftovers.   This is the half of the burger I didn't eat.







After lunch we got a brief tour of the area, and Mr. B showed us around his property.  There was a duck pond, a skating pond, barns, tractors, a horse corral, a chicken coup, and acres of woods and fields.  I was a little overwhelmed.  Country life is so different.  It seems just as busy and crowded as city life but in a more autonomous way.



Back at the shop, I finished skinning my fox. The stench of a fox is mind-blowing.  Their diet consists mostly of skunk,  and the odor they emit can best be described as a combination of halitosis and burnt rubber.  I think I lost a little of my tough chick street cred with everyone when I started gagging.



I've always marveled over the colors found inside a skin and assumed it was bruising.  Apparently this greenish hue is actually oxidization on the pelt, which is one of the reasons taxidermists must work quickly.  Taking too much time to skin a specimen allows bacteria to set in, and then once you get the rot, you've got a spook.







We tossed the carcasses outside because they were so stinky.  Because the cold, they will remain undetected by other creatures until they can be properly disposed of.  I took it upon myself to saw the heads off, which had Mr. B in fits.







I guess I gained my street cred back.  It may seem disturbing, but I have a plan for these heads:











On the way back to the cabin, I dropped off "Little Ashes" at the rental joint and picked up Michael Jackson's "This is it".  It was too cold to play on my hoop so I watched a bit of the movie and went to bed at 7:30pm.
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