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:



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!

Lamb Fetus Hat, proper.

 I finally got around to shooting my lamb fetus hat, now that it's back from Maryland. Unfortunately I had some issues with the flash and I'm not a very skilled photographer so the pictures are somewhat lackluster.  I'm still sewing the lining into it, which I'll post photos of later, with these, when I list the piece on etsy. For now, though, I wanted to share this very special little gem with you.




























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!  

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!

VINTAGE POST: Blackbird Pie (4/6/2010)


I'm not sure why but Black Bird Pie seems fitting for Easter time.  Maybe it's my mind making the connections between Jesus supposedly returning from the dead and emerging from that tomb, with the birds flying out of that pie.  It was the last thing people expected to see, I'm sure.  Some cursory searching online shows that the two have nothing to do with one another but I decided to make the blackbird pie for Easter, regardless.  Here's the poem:



Sing a song of sixpence

AKA blackbirds in a pie
Sing a song of sixpence a pocket full of rye,

Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.

When the pie was opened the birds began to sing,

Oh wasn't that a dainty dish to set before the king?

The king was in his counting house counting out his money,

The queen was in the parlour eating bread and honey

The maid was in the garden hanging out the clothes,

When down came a blackbird and pecked off her nose!




Apparently:

"During the Medieval times, there were occasions when the cook in the house of a wealthy knight did indeed put live birds (often pigeons, but I'm sure it could just as easily have been blackbirds) inside a huge pastry crust, on his own initiative. This was seen as a great joke and the cook would usually have a real pie waiting to bring in when the birds had been released."

So here's my cook, mashing potatoes in with ham and Starling meat, which was then spooned into phyllo dough cups and baked with cheddar cheese on top.  I had two of my girlfriends take over after my competency in the kitchen came under serious question and it was decided that I should simply observe.







While the pies baked, some friends dropped by and joined me in dying eggs.























Later we trickled into the kitchen and tested the pies.  While some of my friends loved them, others refused to try, and my husband and I both voted them as tasting too gamey.  Next time I will marinate the Starling in some sweet wine at least a day in advance, instead of the rush job I did for this occasion, substituting tonic water and agave syrup for the wine I didn't have around.  All is not lost however; the cats practically bit my fingertips off trying to get some of the little morsels so at least the leftovers have a place to go.



This week I'll be skinning out the rest of the black birds and studying them.  I may have an order on deck for one or two, and I intend to use a few others in a hairpiece which I will hopefully finish in time for an event I've got to attend on Friday.

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.

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.

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...

Devon Dressage? More like Bon Voyage!

It's been a hectic couple of weeks and I've neglected this blog.  Did anyone notice?  I hope so.  Anyway, I've been wrapped up in outside jobs like painting pumpkins for a corporate gig and transcribing VHS tapes of reality shows.   I do these things to support my taxidermy habit.   In other words, I work so that I can work.  It's exhausting but thankfully one of my many hats requires me to spend copious amounts of down time lounging on the Lido deck of cruise ships where I catch up on all my beauty rest.  In fact, I'm leaving for one of those trips in just a few hours, and I will soak up every drop of precious sleep that comes my way because once I hit dry land again, it's go time for holiday craft show prep, the annual Carnivorous Nights/MART competition and other projects in the works. Amongst all this hustle bustle I attended Devon Dressage last week.  This week long event features a ladies hat day and as you may recall I received accolades for my squirrel fascinator entry last year.  I believe that my work has improved significantly since then and was quite proud of this years entry, a black rooster bedecked with crystals and gems mounted in such a fashion so that it would appear to be curling up on the wearer's head, and providing bangs out of its wings.  Sadly, I have no pictures from the event but last night my friend Rachel came by for some wine and chat and a photo project so we snuck in a couple shots of the new rooster hat just for fun:



Pardon my dirty mirror; let  your eyes instead be dazzled by the giant cock on my head.











Anyway.  Devon Dressage.  I didn't win a thing. Nada!  Zilch!  Can you believe it?  I couldn't, but then I saw this guy was one of the judges and figured I should take his millinery opining with a sizable grain of salt.  I know I'm a winner and that's that counts, (or so mother always told me) so I gracefully let the other women take what I thought should be mine and spent the rest of the day in heaven with two dear friends, watching beautiful horses and insanely skilled riders perform the horse ballet known as dressage.



So now it's almost midnight and I have to decide if I should just stay up a few more hours or try to get a tiny bit of sleep.  I'm all packed with plenty of Diamond Tooth goodies in tow (hopefully this time will not be a repeat of DELTA= Don't Expect Luggage To Arrive) so I can properly saturate the high seas with my product.  Plenty of pictures and fun stories to follow, see y'all next week!



xoxo BB

Fashion Night Out Quickie

While I wait for the all-clear form a client to post about a recent project, I will toss these out there for anyone interested. Behold the lovely Meredith, who attended a flurry of NY's Fashion Night Out events  donning two of my creations.  Below is the purple duck wing fascinator:







And another night, another event brings you Meredith in a yamamoto jacket I will steal from her someday , topped off with a masked hen hat.







 







For now, c'est tout.  I have my hands full with more pieces for the 20 for 20 project (speaking of which, it's driving me batty knowing that two of my pieces have arrived at  Ms. Zoe and Ms. Von D's respective locations and I have no idea how they were received and may never know  UGH the bain of sending unsolicited gifts), creating a fascinator for this Sunday's season closer at the Brandywine Polo Club, two more competitions on the horizon, an Alice in Wonderland themed fascinator commissioned by a client,  pieces for a holiday craft show and today I am skinning a cat.



Yes I am aware that there is more than one way but I'll be happy to master just one for now.



 



 

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:







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.

Eye Candy





I was quite fortunate the other day to receive a disc in the post from a recent test shoot by photographer Jenna Stamm.  I provided a hat for one of the looks and I just adore the final product!  I very much enjoy seeing how other people style and wear my pieces; it inspires me to keep creating wearables so that every woman and man of substance can be adorned with a touch of Diamond Tooth.







These images are all very similar but I loved each of them too much to pick just one.







The hat may look familiar; it's one of my absolute favorites.  Coincidentally, it was almost exactly a year ago the materials for this piece were sourced.







Happy Birthdays!

I was recently commissioned to create a custom flight-of-fancy-hat for a friend's mother.  It was a birthday present and, seeing as the giftee shares the same big day as yours truly, I poured even more love and care into this piece.*



I was given the parameters of a making a piece that was a bird alit on a wide-brimmed hat and given creative freedom as far as the rest goes.  I found this lovely sun hat made from woven horse hair and got to work on a recently sourced hen from my dear chicken master buddy.  She was rather large- a little too large for this purpose, but I was so enamoured with her coloring I plowed ahead and taxied the skin onto a smaller, altered form.  I posed her to be perched, curious, holding back part of the brim with her wing; almost an extension of the wearer's head.







I gave her a pair of oversized eyes and lined them with crystals, as well as embellishing the original coat with some brighter pheasant feathers.  A gold and diamond chain around the brim completes the look.







Look at that beautiful fuzzy bum!  The blueish feathers underneath the tail are the pheasant accents.







I added a poof of white with some belly down at  the end of the chain, and called it a day.   Well, there were some structural issues to address but I took care of those earlier.  When one is wearing such a monumental structure on one's head, it helps to have straps on the ready to hold said structure into place.  I rather enjoy the pomp and circumstance of dressing up in this way-having an entire creature on my head makes me taller, it makes me stand up straighter, and I am so much more aware of how I move my head.  It feels very elegant.  I am eager to see how well my birthday sister and recipient of this gift wears it.







 



Photos by James Coughlin



 



*I never actually put more love into any one piece than another.  I adore all of my children equally.

My hair looks like a bird's nest?

Why thank you.



Well, more like a chicken coop I suppose.  Regardless, my head is honored to be the vehicle for exhibiting these lovely specimen, donated to yours truly by my local organic chicken/egg connection.



This is a rooster beret I made recently.  I wore it on New Year's Eve.  I've been told that it's customary to eat chicken on December 31st, as they are scratching backwards into the dirt...reflecting on the past, I suppose.



I'd prefer to wear my poultry.



*



Right here is the Serama hen hairpiece I wore for the Carnivorous Nights taxidermy contest last month.  I look forward to trotting her out again.



*



Look at those gorgeous feathers.  Perhaps she'd like to take a ride on someone else's head for a night.



*



Ladies?



*Photo credits: Jim Coughlin

Your Reputation Preceeds You...

I think I'm on the verge of being known as "the woman who wears chickens on her head", which couldn't delight me more.  I certainly seem to be going through a hen-phase, as far as what inspires me.  Or perhaps its the availability of chickens as specimen?  It's hard to tell.  I very much enjoy working with them; the plumage is unique and beautiful, plus the skin resilient and quite easy to manipulate.



So last week I decided to check out the opening of the new Jonathan Adler store in  Old City.  The designer himself was to be in attendance, and I learned that he'd raised chickens with his family as a boy so I wanted to wear a new head-piece in his honor.



I dried and fluffed a gorgeous rooster and toyed around a bit in my studio, waiting for ideas.  I took the legs and head and used them for a different piece, then played with the rest.  It was freezing inside and just to see how it felt, I put the entire pelt on my head.



Warmth!  Unbelievable warmth!  Well, duh, I thought.  We don't fill our coats and duvets with down for nothing.  Seriously though, I was impressed at how much heat was retained atop my head.  So...why not?  I would wear the whole thing as though it were a feather wig.  The result was dramatic and over-the-top.  Here's one shot I got from my computer before leaving for the event:



 







 



And here's another taken of me while there.  The shop looked fabulous although I had to go back yesterday to really check out the merchandise, since it was packed to the gills that night.







As you can see, it's just a little silly but totally glamorous.  If nothing else, it's absolutely a conversation piece.

Some of these things were never like the others...

Here are some new pieces that I just got around to getting decent pictures of, thanks to my full time live-in photographer James Coughlin.  You can see more of his work  at Snap Blam Splat.  Honestly, I don't know what I would do without him.  Well, I do actually, I would pay through the nose to rent the equipment and go insane trying to figure it all out. Dude makes a wicked tie-dye too.



This is the hen from a month back; I just got her back from the "Other Nature" how at BahdeeBahdu, which received a nice write-up on Cool Hunting.  I wound up going with the name "Nascita Typica".



















This is the hat I wore to the Polo Cup;it's a female Bufflehead which has been embellished beyond the point of no return.



















And this is the male Bufflehead hat I wore to the Devon horse show a couple of weeks ago.  He's naturally flashy so I let his real colors shine.











Duck Doilies

I've been working on two male Bufflehead ducks the last few days, and shoot are they full of fat.  They're also gorgeous.  Sorry I don't have any pictures of the exterior at this point but they're tanning right now; I'll post images later.  Besides, all the pretty iridescent feathers are covered in fat and blood.  Gender role reversal is a constant thought running through my head while I work on birds; the males are always so pretty and flashy in order to attract the females while the "fairer sex" is usually drab and brown in order to blend in and protect her young.  In humans it seems to be quite the opposite although I suppose with there is a flashy breed of male out there...but for the most part its us gals doing the primping.  I also find worth noting that the male ducks seem to have much more fat on them than the females, at least the ones I've worked with so far.  The two female Buffleheads I worked on took considerably less time to degrease than the males I just finished up with.







I don't have a degreasing machine yet so I've been doing the dirty work by hand.  It's a slow, tedious task but one I enjoy.  As someone who relishes the satisfaction of successfully extracting gunk from clogged pores, the site of a fat-covered pelt waiting to be trimmed excites me.  It's an easy solution; no thinking involved really.  It does take concentration though, since just underneath all that fat is tissue-paper-like skin.







It's common to wind up with little holes in your skins when degreasing by hand, hence the term "duck doilies".  I don't mind so much; it's just more sewing work down the road.



Here's a visual on how fatty these boys are.  The left circle is pre, the right one, post.  It gets tricky cutting just the right amount off without going through the skin.







This is all the fat blobs I got off the last one.  See all the oil in the paper?  I feel like I should be cooking with this stuff.







More holes...







More lipo....







More holes..







Here's the second female I mounted last week.  I'm using her for a hat that I plan to enter into a fancy hat parade of sorts, an event which is part of the Devon Horse Show.  I want to make several head pieces and convince some of my girlfriends to wear them around the fair while handing out cards for me.  This hat is obviously far from finished but I'm very pleased with the positioning.  I think it will most certainly turn some heads.







Stay tuned!



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