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:



A Most Unusual Commission

I recently sent some pieces to Hendricks Gin as environmental decor for one of their many famed Wondrous Affairs.  This one took place in Chicago and while I have yet to find photo documentation of my pieces in action, I trust the entire presentation was nothing short of tremendous.  I've had a friendship with Hendricks for some time, in fact one of my favorite interviews was with their blog back in 2012. Last November a few of their most stylish associates paid me the honor of renting some couture wearables for a Masquerade.
This time around they ordered a few wall mounts and my signature Goat Hoof Candle Holders, but the whopper was a commissioned luminary goat hide rug.  I hustled to get source the parts and get her produced in time, and here's the result:


I scored a hide from Alaska of all places, this specimen was once the beloved pet goat of a local animal control officer.  I'm so touched that she's gone on to live a shiny new jet setting life!


I found the lamp components from Mid Century Furniture, just down the road from my studio, which happened to be open to the public and completely empty of people on the day I needed to find these parts the most.  I didn't like the shade so I made a new one from some leather hide that I also used to line the bottom.  If you look closely you can see the branding:

I was compelled to embellish her, so voila: Pearls (genuine, to boot!), hair extensions and ostrich feathers.




Can't you just picture sitting in a rocking chair with a gin gimlet reading your favorite pen pal letter under the light of this lady?

So that's my latest luminary rug piece; hopefully photos from the event aren't far behind!


Shine on, Belinda.







Windsor

Meet Windsor, a 120 pound Akita who was the apple of a couple (probably more but I only met the two) humans' eyes.  When his time came to pass into the next dimension, they wanted to do something with the absolutely stunning coat he left behind, and that's where I come in.

Thia is actually my second pet preservation dog-hide-turned-rug commission, but my first employing the services of an industrial tannery.  My workload has reached the point that I can no longer tan everything in-house, and hand staking a hide to reach the level of suppleness you see in these photos is beyond cost-ineffective and insanely time consuming. 
So I ceded a portion of the workload (a significant step for anyone who knows me and my history of control issues) to a professional tanner and I couldn't be happier with the results.  I also got some rabbit hides done that I'll post about later.  For now though, just look at this magnificent beauty:


 That's a size 12 Men's cowboy boot to scale:
 



 He drapes like a dream!

 I think this is a fantastic alternative to getting a full life size mount in terms of pet preservation, and am happy to offer it on the regular starting now.  I know my client is happy; she looked perfectly natural with him draped around her as we spoke outside on this freezing, bitter night.  Her darling Windsor keeping her warm even in his afterlife.

 
Bye!

Pumpkin

Back in January I received an email from a grieving woman about her dog whom had just passed away. I always get a pang in my heart upon opening these messages, along with a sense of urgency.  In these cases, it's most likely an unexpected death and the person is unlikely to have the room or desire to accommodate a corpse in their freezer.

Meet Pumpkin:



 Pumpkin was/is the dearly loved Chow/German Shepard mix rescue dog of a young woman who was absolutely heartbroken the day I met her.  It's emotionally taxing to meet new people under these circumstances but rewarding just the same, in that I feel a sense of honor in being entrusted as a steward of sorts of the creature in which this human has poured so much emotion into.  Also as someone who has struggled with vulnerability and allowing others to see me in that state, I feel a genuine sense of respect and compassion for the people coming to me in a state of grief.  I've always been a highly sensitive and compassionate person and these moments are what remind me that we are all made one way or another for a reason.
 
As I'm sure you may have guessed, there are no off the shelf mannequin heads available for purchase in likeness of this specific dog breed.  One feature in particular that would be important to recreate was the fleshy jowls and his goofy smile.  My best bet was a carcass cast.

Here is the silicone mold I made using Pumpkin's head:

I cut it into two parts, took the head out, joined the halves back together into a container and poured the expanding foam inside.  After peeling the silicone away I was left with a perfect cast of Pumpkin's head:

 This would be the manikin for the mount.  From there it was a matter of setting the eyes, making ear liners, adding clay to the right parts and getting the expression just right.


Thankfully I was provided with dozens of pictures as reference material and was able to recreate his happy, sort of silly and completely lovable expression fairly well.  I'm especially happy with the eyes.



 She wanted the hide tanned as a rug as well; this coat was too beautiful to let go:

 


Most of the clay went into modeling the jowls:



And just for fun here's an underneath shot:




See you later, Pumpkin.  It was a true honor to work with you. 


I came BEARing gifts.

 



Har.



Well, it wasn't technically a gift as it was for a client and she paid for it, but the amount of love and time I poured into this piece could warrant usage of the term "gift".







This  rug was a dream project, as I think rugs are beautiful and functional, as well as a joy to make.  I was instructed to "make a bear skin rug with lots of diamonds and flash".



Ideal Diamond Tooth project, yes?



I found the hide already skinned and tanned from a hunter in Maine who had harvested it with a bow and arrow.  Knowing that this specimen had been sourced ethically and the meat was sustaining a family, I proceeded with confidence.







Diamond tooth, check.  Sparkling eyes, check.  Diamond nose stud, chain from nose to diamond stud earring, check and check.







Oh!  And tongue ring!







Diamond manicured paws, but of course.







After hand stitching the entire lining onto the hide I attached the fringe along with my tag along the bottom.  Finis!







I could hardly BEAR to see it go.  The fur was so soft and warm; I know it will feel just divine on a cold winter night.



Would this piece win any ribbons at a taxidermy competition?  Probably not.  It's not perfect.  But I'm proud of it, I think it's beautiful, and I hope she brings my client many a smile.



Elvis was reincarnated as a bear and his skin is on my table.

 



I finally got around to working on a bear-skin rug for a client; she is another really fun individual to work with who basically said, "make it as glitzy and shiny as possible."



Words to live by.



So I set out to source materials and make the sparkliest, most pizazzified bear-skin rug the world has seen.



I bought the skin frmo a hunter who shot the bear with a bow and arrow, harvesting the animal for food.  The cape arrived tanned and fairly soft but I had to rehydrate some parts to soften them up more in order to work with the facial areas.



Opal the cat approves of this fur.







Here is the head form.  I altered it slightly to express a nice Elvis-like lip curl, and proceeded to plaster the top left fang with crystals.







 



Diamond Tooth, indeed!  And this is just the beginning.  Stay tuned for an update on this hunka hunka burning work in progress.



"We call 'em slut bugs."

Today we began working on our coyote rugs, using hides purchased from a distributer already fleshed and tanned.  My fellow student also brought in a huge skin from an Alberta Buck her friend had gifted her, and I helped her flesh it out a little.  I've got a knack for getting my little fingers on a hunk of flesh and ripping it from the skin which is more economical, time-wise, than knifing it out.  My nick-name for the day is "The Ripper."



Here is my head form for the coyote, with artificial jaws set in.  Original skulls are rarely used these days because over time the teeth crack and break.  I think when I'm doing this on my own, however, I will use original skulls, simply because I have a disdain for all things plastic.  Maybe I'll cast metal ones, who knows.







I wanted to challenge myself so I studied some reference pictures and carved a snarling shape into the form.  Creating this expression also involves various sculpting techniques with clay but I'll keep that info to myself.  I'm trying really hard to keep my inner-brat from emerging as my patience grows thin with all this conventional, commercial mounting.  I think when I'm getting paid to do it, I'll have no issue, but I long to be putting jewels on paws, false lashes on eyes, pheasants on stilts, etc.







Pinning the face.  Mine had a scar just inside his eye, and since a typical client wouldn't want to feature that in his prize rug, I learned how to obscure it.  Top secret!!!!







When Mr. B came back from lunch he had a present for me- one of his hens had died over the weekend and when he'd mentioned it to me in passing this morning, of course I asked him what they did with it.  "Well, we usually bury 'em..." ...but surprise!  He brought it in for me!  She's a real looker, too, and she's all mine to mount however I wish.  Stay tuned.



After we finished mounting the head portion of our rugs, the hides were soaked and stretched on a table.  I am not so adept with hammering; I whacked my thumb several times.  What's even more tantrum-inducing than smashing a digit repeatedly with a hammer and staying silent about it so as not to draw attention, is your instructor catching it every time and reminding you  "not hit your thumb with that hammer.  It really smarts."







I noticed several lady bugs on the table; the other student and Mr. B were eager to destroy them.  Apparently there is a huge LB infestation in the area and they are not viewed as the luck-spreading, charming little guys we here in the city know them as.   In fact, they are a different breed.  The LBs up in the Poconos are an Asian beetle which look exactly like Ladybugs, and were brought to the US to aid in pest control.  I guess they then became the pest themselves.  I'm told they reproduce like crazy and clog up vents, eat through stuff, and bite.



Not so cute:











I took the scenic way home, via back roads, and stopped for coffee at a little shop in White Haven.  I'd wanted to stay and enjoy it there while I soaked in the environment, maybe get some networking practice, but it was just myself and the "barista" I doubt he'd call himself that) there and I felt him eyeing my every move so I stepped out.  I hate feeling watched when I haven't made it clear I'm looking to be the center of attention.  I start to second guess my every move and can't think straight.



When I got home, I took a walk around the hilly fields behind the cabin and then took a nap with the dogs in front of the fire while the boys made dinner.  They ate and headed out, and I went to bed.
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