Diamond Tooth Taxidermy

Exquisite Taxidermy Art and Design

© 2013 Diamond Tooth Taxidermy
Stacks Image 109

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:



Waste Not...

Remember that rat I mounted a few months back?  I also preserved her skull, here are some photos, please enjoy!






Bilal

 This is the skull of Bilal the cat, a beloved member of my dear friends' family.  When he passed, they gave him to me to make something with.  I brain tanned his hide and transformed him into a luxurious fur stole, of which I sadly have no photos.
 W & R were instrumental in my early development as a taxidermy artist; I couldn't have made it without their guidance and generosity.  I was reflecting on this last week when I decided to unearth Bilal's head from my freezer, clean it off and gift them with the skull.
 I've been getting into bone cleaning lately, all these heads are in my freezer that I figured I'd do something with someday.  Now I'm really getting into it.  I don't use beetles, as bone cleaning isn't even a significant part of the services I offer (yet) but I'm thoroughly enjoying the catharsis of scraping brains out, yanking cartilage with my bare hands, pulling, plucking and prying all the messy gunk off the bones.  Perhaps it's a metaphor for some deep self exploration I've been engaging in...
 Bilal had some pretty impressive teeth, although he was missing a bottom fang.
 I articulated the mandible to the skull and drilled a hole for his name tag to dangle from.
Another day in Paradise.

It'll All Be There When My Dreams Come True.




PRESS PLAY.




While editing these photos, a Doors song drifted out of Pandora and it felt so apropos.  Then, and now, Today by Jefferson Airplane is on and it's stopped me in my tracks.  Well, not so much that I can't write but it's taking me to a very specific place.




Almost 20 summers ago, for my best friend in the whole entire world's birthday, I was able to buy 4 tabs of acid from some jabroni in Swarthmore and Susie, myself and two other dear friends tripped on LSD for the first time together.  From that unreal and inconceivable night, a year long courtship with LSD and psychedelics in general began.  We all hung out in Susie's room because we could basically come and go as we pleased, smoke cigarettes, pot, make out, etc.  Her entire house reeked of cat piss and cigarettes so anything we could possibly do short of setting the house ablaze went unnoticed.
This song takes me right back to that summer.  We listened to her Jefferson Airplane CD on repeat.  I can practically feel the grimy, smoky, vibrating, oily sweat on my shiny face as I hear those first guitar notes. There was no such thing as air conditioning so the windows were open and the dampened sound of the occasional passing car would lazily drift from the quiet suburban street into the room.  I can see the ashtray piled full of chain-smoked cigarettes and Susie, in her uniform of white tee shirt and boot cut blue jeans, impossibly straight long brown hair spilling all over her.  She was so nonchalant about everything, and I wanted to be her so badly it hurt.  The acid had me think so many thoughts at once and I thought my brain would crack trying to decide which one to feel, or address, before realising that I'd let another idea sneak into the overpopulated room and I'd already digressed so far away from what I was originally trying to formulate in my head that being able to utter any kind of sentence was out of the question.  Then there was Susie, laying on her back: long, lean and not a care in the world, luxuriously dragging on a Marlboro.  Someday I'll write more on what became of Susie, but just know that to me, for a solid chunk of my formative life, she was everything I wanted to be.


 This dream catcher captures that memory, even though I fashioned it many years after that acidic summer.  The skull was found by a friend, third eye mysteriously burned into its surface.
 Someone had cut the antlers off, so I gave him a toupee of feathers.

There are also chicken wings, and horse ribs I found on a trip to Assateague.  Plus a cross made from dogwood which I got from my Presbyterian Confirmation "Sponsor" when I was 14.  I have fond memories infused into this cross as it represents a time when church was innocent and fun for me.    Before it became a disturbing ritual of self righteousness and brain washing.

 
 So.  Anybody want it?  Trippy times ahead...



Just the Skull, Please

Meet Z the Pitbull.  His humans had planned ahead as he was sick for some time, and brought him straight to me from the vet after euthanizing.  They just wanted the skull cleaned and articulated, the rest was up to me. 
Aside from burying skulls to let nature do the job, my experience in this department is limited to smaller creatures like rabbits and pheasants.  This was a more labor intensive job than I'd anticipated but nothing too difficult.  It really doesn't take any specific skill set to clean a skull, just a willingness to scoop brains out and get your fingernails really dirty underneath.


 After cleaning off as much muscle tissue and flesh as I could with a scalpel and my bare hands, I scooped the brain out with a fondue fork (also doubles as a rabbit ear splitter and cocktail stirrer when I'm in a pinch) and then boiled it for an hour to get the rest of the little bits to loosen up out of their crevices.


Round 2: Getting the rest of the little bits of (now boiled) brain out of the skull cavity,  You can see the bits and bobs in the photos above.  Everything must come out or, come Summertime, the client will have a very unpleasant surprise when flies start dropping their larva off at Camp Doggie Skull.



 There was still some stubborn matter hiding deep in the brain cavity so I reboiled, carefully (too much boiling can crack the bones, and if there is still oil and flesh on the bones it will soak into it, making it greasy.
 After the second boil I cleaned him off with a wire brush and used a needle to pick any little bits of anything hiding between those very serious looking teeth.

 After the last picking and poking, I soaked it in a bleach bath.  Bleach is not recommended for skulls, typically, unless its hair bleach.  I find that a very light mixture (1pt bleach to 10 or 12 pts water) works just fine for a finish and sanitation purposes.  Just keep your eye on it, take the skull out every 15 minutes or so to check progress. 





 Lastly, I drilled holes where the lower jaw met with the skull and articulated it with steel wire.  I left it long enough so that some movement would be possible.
 




Z's human came to get his skull last night and she was quite pleased.  I think this is a thoughtful and palatable option for pet preservation when having your whole buddy mounted just isn't a good fit.



A Quick One While You Brunch

Enjoy one of my favorite Who songs while skimming through this quickie blog post one what turned out to not be such a quickie job:


 Thia song has nothing to do with this ram skull other than it popped into my head when I was writing the title to this post.  And ANY excuse to watch Keith Moon's antics on the drums, and Pete Townsend's pants is good enough for me.



 So a guy brought a ram skull to me last week, wrapped in palstic inside a plastic bin.  Sadly I didn't have the presence of mind to photograph it when it first arrived, but the thing STUNK.  I smelled it before he had even opened the bag.  Once I got to peer inside though, all I saw was a healthy, throbbing colony of beetles occupying this skull.


 I ushered him and his packaged out to the hallway as if we were handling some sort of bio hazard.  Which we kind of were.  There's a reason I don't keep plants in my studio, or anything earthy/alive.  I am absolutely terrified of infestation, especially in a studio so small and packed as mine-beetles, moths, etc could decimate my entire collection easy.

 One "horn" had already come off when I received it, the other slid off as Rammy was soaking.  This is a good thing because I was able to get into all the little crevices and scrub him up real good.
 After the lengthy cleaning process, it was just a matter of reattaching the horns and sealing them up with an epoxy clay. 

 He wanted it to be wall mountable so I attached hanging hardware (screwed in D rings) onto the proper rigging point on each horn.


Dem Bones









What a fun bony song.  It should provide a pleasant aural wallpaper for this story of deer bones.



It's a short story, really, not too exciting but I like the pictures I took of the process so here we are.  The photos are connected to my fascination with connections.



This skull was brought to me by a new client who was referred by a friend who I suppose heard of me through someone else and that's how that chain of connection went.  He had a deer skull in a plastic bag, in multiple parts, for years.  My job was to articulate it  which I did and you can see below:







What I'd received was the  skull, top vertebrae and jaw bone which was split in two pieces.  After boiling and giving the parts a rough cleaning, I adhered the jaw bone together with glue and lined it up with the skull.







It's kind of beautiful how the jaw slips under the skull like that, just behind the eye orb.  Looking at this made me think of sinuses and how if one part of the face is compromised the entire visage suffers.



Because it's all connected.







After lining it up, I made marks where I'd need to drill holes and proceeded.  Carefully.  Once the holes were made I ran steel wire through and "knotted" the ends.











The same went for connecting the vertebrae to the skull:



















And that's it for the bone zone.  Hope you liked this.  I hope you can appreciate how cool our insides are.
See More Posts…

Back to the top of the page