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:



Saints and Frizzles


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














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


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

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

ORKA


 http://thefarmershusband.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/img_0815.jpg


This is Orka, the beloved sheep of my dear friends Bailey and Thomas who write on the blog The Farmer's Husband. 
She passed away during a complicated pregnancy; you can read all about it here.
If you are at all familiar with me or my work, you know I source almost all my specimen from this farm.  They take their work very seriously, just as I do, and do their best to be sure all their animals travel through life and death with the dignity and respect they deserve.

This past weekend my two favorite farmers in the whole world got married, and as a gift I mounted Orka for them.  Here's her horns on the sheep form I got from Mckenzie's:

Since she had to be put down via shotgun shot to the head, there were some realignment issues when it came to anchoring the horns to the form.  I did my best.  There were also some alterations I had to make since this is the form of a different breed of sheep.

 

That's what skin looks like when it's initially put over the form, in case you are not a taxidermist and were wondering.


And this is what it looks like after the skin is lined up, stapled, sewn, pinned, poked and coaxed into place.  Taxied, if you will, hence the term "taxidermy".


And now I'm feeling the rush of cold blood coursing through my head and down to my fingertips as I realise I have been spelling this creature's name wrong THE ENTIRE TIME. So that there above is her name, misspelled.    My husband Jim sanded and stained two pieces of reclaimed wood with a walnut ink he made himself from black walnuts.  He also did the hand painted lettering of her name.  I told him to spell it that way.
I am so mortified.


I included a plaid woven scarf since her head was cut off a bit close to the face and I wanted to have a long neck coming out from the plaque.  Also, it just looks really nice.
My apologies for the not so well lit and scant photos; we took them at an ungodly hour in the morning before hitting the road to get up to the farm for wedding prep.  This is why I should never rush.  It just doesn't suit me, my work or the choices I make.


But Orka's a good looking girl.  I'm happy with her, as were the grooms.  I'll get more photos the next time I visit, and maybe Jim can turn that C into a K.




Hoof It











A taxidermy calf hoof bows as deeply as possibly to present light to whomever wishes to receive it. A simple an elegant gesture, this piece will add allure to any table scape or bathtub meditation.
Solid and sturdy build that will last through many candles and memorable evenings.




Calf Hoof Candle Holders, Pair:







Contemplate the future while gazing into this glass orb poised atop a preserved calf hoof. Keep this piece in a sunlit room to see the light refract in the loveliest ways.
Stands on its own, this is a solid piece that will stand the test of suns, moons, spells and dreams.









Two elegant and eternally youthful legs dangle from a gold chain, eternally entwined in playful pose with one another.
Can be worm as a necklace or hung up as decor, dangled from a rearview mirror and anywhere you want to look at something sweet and tender and beautiful.








Sort out the fine print with this elegant magnifying glass and be sure to take in every detail of the contract before you. Or look for stray hairs and other clues to whatever modern day mystery confounds you.
A solid and sturdy piece that will stand the test of many a query, while enhancing your mystique cred at the same time.





Orca was a much beloved sheep living on the Bearded Lady Farm in upstate New York. Sadly, she perished while giving birth due to complications. One her miracle offspring lives on however, and Orca's spirit also lives on in the light cast from the glow of candle burning in this pair of holders fashioned from her back hooves.
These are delicate and while they stand on their own, it is recommended to secure them with a dab of museum wax on the bottom as they are sensitive to hips bumping into the table and strong vibrations from feet stomping on the floor.
Viva Orca!




Mouse & Rat Fetus Ornament:
I made a limited run of a dozen or so of these Christmas ornament snowglobes with tiny fetuses inside.  They're selling too fast to bother listing on Etsy so I'll just share them here.  If you'd like to place an order, there are a couple left so please email diamondtoothtaxidermist@gmail.com to claim one.


It's heart breaking to open up a specimen and find that she was carrying a little family inside of her, and I don't take those moments lightly.  I've held onto my petite "nursery" for a few years now, and I want the little guys to go out and experience the world.

I hope they can bring some cheer to a few warm and fuzzy hearts.





New Taxidermy Talon Charms plus a TREAT at the end!


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


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











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












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











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












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










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















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










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











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

















Not Listed Yet:



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


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








Possum Tail Necklace:

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


 




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

Let Dolly Help:

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



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


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

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


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

Actually, that would be kind of magnificent.

Twenty for Twenty: #10, Amanda Palmer

I hadn't done a Twenty4wenty piece in so long that I had to go back in my blog and check how far along I was.  I am honestly kind of shocked to see I'm only up to 10!  In my mind I was up to 16. 
Oh well, the list changes as I evolve, so I suppose it's a gift to have more breathing room than I'd thought.
Which is fantastic because while I've always taken comfort and even refuge in the Dresdon Doll's album of the same name I can't genuinely say I'm a fan of Amanda Palmer because while I love her voice and to this day am still positively enchanted by the lyrics in The Jeep Song and Girl Anachronism, I never made the effort to explore any more of her body of work.
Then I heard her Ted Talk.  Like the uncannily precise lyrics I liked her for, this talk stabbed me in the heart.  Money is something I obsess over.  Do I have enough of it, how can I get more, where will I get enough to be able to do this, I hope my ankle isn't actually broken because that means I need to wrangle up more money. 
Sometimes I think, what if there was no money?  What if we all just did what felt right and provided our services and goods as needed or requested and trusted in the fact that it would come back to us?  The more I think of it, money is seems more like a middle man, an annoying wind that moves masses of itself from place to place but doesn't MEAN anything. 
These are just the thoughts that swirl about my head though, I'm not describing Amanda's talk in any way the does it justice.  See for yourself if you haven't already:

Imagine my surprise when the stars aligned and the universe presented me (OK, I cajoled a bit) with the opportunity to pass a gift onto Amanda Palmer with just one simple middleman. 
I think she's positively dripping with juju so it only seems fitting that she receive a Baculum Charm.  Also from what I gather she travels a shitload, and handing over a hatbox to someone about to take a bunch of planes and trains seems like a rude thing to do.
SO VOILA:
Thanks Kyle Cassidy.
 This is the charm, in all its glory.  I just ran out of steam but I think I said all I want to say. 
10 more to go?

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.

My, what large...3D printed antlers you have!

Another fun Christmas commission I can now write about (recipient is pleased, no spoilers, etc) involved a collaboration between myself and another very accomplished jeweler named Doug Bucci.  Mr. Bucci's first role in my life was that of teacher: he taught my stone-setting class in college.  Being as Philadelphia is a small city and the artistic community a tightly woven one, Doug and I have loosely kept tabs on one another throughout the years, along with most of my other jewelry school survivors.   It felt like a war, sometimes, and we have the PTSD to prove it.



BUT.  I digress. Doug and several others in my jewelry clique have moved onto the art of 3D printing. An example of Doug's outstanding work in the CAD arena:







 



Despite the fact that my studio-mate owns and operates one of these crazy newfangled things in the space we share together (I have seen it work with my own eyes), I cannot wrap my mind around this phenomenon.  I don't quite care to.  I'll let my hands do the talking and leave the techno stuff to the experts.  However, I am quite happy to endorse, receive and benefit from the articles produced by these machines.  (Have you seen me sporting my Loop Hoop earrings by the amazing Maria Eife?)



 



Loop Hoop Earrings  by Maria Eife



 



Imagine my excitement then, when Doug approached me about making a jackalope using antlers designed & printed from this technology.  This piece was to be a gift for his daughter and I was instantly smitten with the idea of not only a dad commissioning such a cool piece but also contributing his own talents.    He designed, printed and cleaned up the antlers, brought them to me and I got smurfin'.



front work in progress



These days I always seem to have at least one rabbit head (and feet, skin, etc for that matter) in my freezer, compliments of my boys at the Farmer's Husband.  I thawed one out, cleaned his skull and built a form around it with clay.  The antlers were deliberately large; we thought an exaggerated look would be fun.  After all, this creature doesn't exist naturally so why not make it as fantastical as possible?  This thought process is Rogue Taxidermy at its best, in my opinion.



underneath work in progress



I was nervous about supporting the weight of these bad boys on my rabbit's head but I drilled holes through the skull and wired it up.  Success.



 



profile in progress



I got swept up in a Victorian theme, leather & lacing the shit out of this thing.  Much to my delight, I might add.



full slight left



I used grey fox eyes instead of the anatomically correct hollow black glass ones to give him more personality.



I'm a terrible photographer and this piece, due to its dimensions, was difficult to capture.  These photos are disappointing to me but I suppose they get the point across.



profile left



He's snarling.  Those are the rabbit's actual teeth.



right turn



And that's Jackelope.

Tryin' to get a nut to move your butt.

Here's some photos of a fun piece I was commissioned to do for a friend this Christmas.  Apparently his lady friend has a disdain for squirrels (I'm hearing of this more and more; are squirrels taking over the city?  Do you all have any idea how tasty they are?  No kidding...) and seeing a stuffed one under her tree channeling some devil vibes seemed to be the ultimate gift.



 



 



face



So here's the little scamp mounted on a piece of garland, stealing a glass ornament.  Devil horns and all.



above



I took some liberty with the eyes; obviously in nature squirrels do not look like this.  But when touched with the evil stick, some artistic interpretation is welcome, I'm sure.  Also, these peepers are antique hand-crafted glass eyes that I've been looking to use for ages.



full left



 



Man, he looks pissed.



 



left



Merry Christmas!

Rabbit for Reggae

Remember my Twenty4Twenty project? I know it seems like I may have forgotten it but fret not, I'm just stretching it out.  Some of the people on my list are quite hard to reach; others I've just decided I'm not so wild about anymore.



The piece I'm writing about today falls in the fan art category but isn't quite a Twenty4Twenty gift as I orchestrated a trade for this mount.



If you know me personally, you know that I'm a rabid consumer of podcasts.  Especially the ones falling into the comic variety.  While I get a tremendous amount of laughs from these podcasts, they are also quite thought-provoking and mentally stimulating.  Comedians are, in my opinion, the most observant, intelligent and unique people on earth.  Recently I added another podcast to the weekly roster and it quickly become my favorite. It's called Twisting the Wind- check it out.  The host, Johnny Pemberton, incorporates music samples into the already captivating material and that's what gave me the idea to reach out to him and propose a swap:



face right detail



Every song I've heard on this podcast was new to me.  And wonderful.  It took me back to my grade school days of mixtapes, where I discovered most of the music I still love today.  Perhaps I'm aurally lazy but I just prefer my favorite songs be spoon fed to me.  Record shops are among my least favorite places on earth to be, right up there with live music venues.  If someone else has really great taste, it only makes sense to me that I glom what I can off them.



SO.  I wrote Mr. Pemberton on a whim and proposed I send him a custom piece of taxidermy in exchange for a custom mix tape.  And he responded yes.



This was going great.  I was working on the rabbit I'd dispatched with Farmer Thomas, and trying out a new mounting technique (new to me, at least) in which I taxied the skin over the rabbit's actual skull and not a form.  I also tried out a new type of ear-liner which produced mixed results.



straight on full



The mount itself is riddled with technical issues but it's still pretty rad- he holds a little mirror in his rabbit hands to serve as a "last check" point: something to look at before seeing another person or people, and make sure there is no food in your teeth or gunk in your eyes.



mirror detail



He also has a small tiara type embellishment because he's dripping with meaning, history and charm.



left  full



I'm quite pleased with his exposed teeth- the neat and perfect little rabbit chompers are what inspired me to incorporate the skull in the fist place.  It was a great experience to try something new and still be able to share it with someone while getting something in return, to boot!



right face detail

Millenery Boomerangs.

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



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



Let's start with mom:







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



















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







I added miscellaneous feathers and sourced gems:















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







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































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



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

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.

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...

Twenty for Twenty, # 4: Georgia Pellegrini

When I first heard of the mythical creature called Georgia Pellegrini, I thought "NO WAY."  It was as if someone took all the things I wanted to be in an alternate life and made them into her.  Does that sound creepy?  I hope not.



I came into contact with Georgia through her brother, whom I met via mutual friend.  He told me (and rightfully so) that somehow, someday, our worlds should collide.  So I looked her up.  DANG.  She hunts.  She prepares exquisite meals out of what she hunts.  And she looks amazing while doing all of it:











While so many of us (myself definitely included) are experts at talking the farm to table, local slow food talk, she is living it.  And writing about it.  Her first book, Food Heros, details the noble endeavor of 16 food artisans from around the globe striving to honor their respective culinary traditions.  Her second book, Girl Hunter, is out now and in it she shares the stories of sourcing all her own ingredients for a great meal.   I am starting to feel like a sixth grader writing a book report so I'll just sum up my geekery with a simple "Shes rad."  I hope someday to do some of the things Ms. Pellegrini is doing, with as much gusto and panache.



Another great thing about this gal: she's approachable.  When I initially contacted her about this project, she was completely receptive and eager to participate.  I knew she would be a bit different to design for, given that she is constantly on the go and leans toward all things practical.  What I'm trying to convey is, Georgia isn't wearing a large feathered headpiece out in a field while trying to shoot a turkey.  So I made her a brooch, imagining that she could pin it to the lapel of a blazer or on the band of a small, sensible cap.







The foot is from a chicken which was once part of my friend Bailey and Thomas' flock, and it's wedged tightly into the brooch base along with feathers of pheasant, chicken and peacock.  There is also the tip of a red squirrel tail in there, just for fun.







The puffy soft feathers are from  the tail area (read: butt) of the chicken; these have been a favorite of mine lately because they have a fur-like appearance and move so nicely with the wearer.  I'm constantly astounded by the range of color, shape and texture of the fathers all coming from one bird.



For an embellishment on the brooch base, I found an old pin from my street gift collection that apparently was some prize or medal for 25 years of faithful service in the state of Georgia.  Perfect!  I filed down the back, bent it to the correct shape and attached it to the brooch.







I left the talon colors as is and didn't fuss too much with the natural state of the elements in this piece.  Although we've yet to meet, Ms. Pellegrini strikes me as a true creature of her own element, grounded and proud of it.



Cheers, Georgia!



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!

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!



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.



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.



If we catch you stealing, we will stuff you.

I think that was kind of the inspiration behind this piece which my husband, who runs an art supply shop, commissioned me to make last March.  I was fortunate enough to be gifted this road-kill racoon and when I told him what I had on my hands, he practically begged for me to make something special for him out of the specimen.  How could I refuse, really?  This man supported me all through school and has never once complained about sharing his home and his wife with my little army of fantasy creatures.  Creating a custom piece for this bastion of open-mindedness and support is really the least I can do.



Then he told me he wanted the racoon to be making a getaway with a money bag and I inwardly groaned.



How corny!   For some reason, cartoon characters, specifically the silly ones from the Warner Brothers stables, have always made me squirm.  Even as a child I found them intolerable.  It's a disdain I can't quite put my finger on, seeing as I can be a very silly person.  I suppose if I were to dig deep and play armchair psychologist for myself I'd say there is a particular stupidity to it all that most people find humorous but I don't because I fear the stupidity in myself.



I put my own opinion aside, however, and as I worked on Mr. Racoon I began to warm up to the idea of him being a thief.   The theme of raccoons as bandits is popular lore in many cultures and I found this interesting account of some Japanese Racoon dogs in the movie Pom Poko, which portrays them as mischievous little scamps.







He's hanging by one paw to the wall, and I gave him a hint of a smile with slightly upturned lips.  I sewed a bag from off-white canvas and made a $ stencil to paint the iconic symbol on said sack.  It was then filled with bottle caps, sewn shut and attached to Racoon's other front paw.







 



 



Here's a more pensive looking shot:







 



This was my first independent mount after finishing school and I can see how I might have done things differently had I been approached with this project today.  Overall though, I'm pleased, and so was my husband when he received his Christmas Racoon!



Pretty feet, pretty face

I've had these three deer feet from the first deer I ever skinned all by myself, way back last year while I was up in school.  The cape, unfortunately, had some bacteria from exposure (by the time the doe got to me, she had been expired for some time) but I managed to salvage the legs for future use.  I found inspiration in the form of a gift for a couple of dear friends (har har) up in NY who have a deep appreciation for all things art....including the art of looking good.



What we've got here is a  deer hoof with a miniature mirror mounted on the front.  It is to be hung near the door so as to provide one last check yourself spot before heading out for th evening.  Spinach-free teeth?  Check.  No crusty eyes?  Check.







 



I capped it off with some copper tubing and a hen foot (going with the pedi theme)clutching a gemstone.  Garnished with some feathers and voila!  A Christmas present I'm hoping will please.







 



Happy holidays!
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