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:



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!



Cat food, in a Snap.

Remember the Snapper I skinned for a project and made a stew with the other week? I had the head and other parts left over so I thought I'd try my hand at making fish stock.  With some gentle guidance from my husband I threw together a pot of stock-making ingredients:



Fish parts, old carrot, old onion, wilted dill and other miscellaneous aging produce all in a pot:







 



After browning it all, I added water:







 



I then let it simmer until about half of the water had evaporated, and then strained it into the crock pot:







 



Next came the chicken legs into the stock which I cooked until the meat just slid off the bones:







 



After the soupy mix had cooled enough, I added a combo of short grain wild rice, sushi rice, and mashed peas, carrots, and sweet potatoes.  Voila!







 



Despite the unattractive gruel-like appearance, it's packed full of all the nutrients and tastes that kitties love, and we're saving a boatload on cat food.  Happy customers include Francis, my studio buddy:







 



Aaaaand Opal, resident diva.  My apologies for the blurry shots; these two gobble so fast it's hard to get a good picture.



Bunny Cheese

I recently received a fresh baby bunny from a friend.  Apparently her pet rabbit's litter was naturally thinning itself out,  or her cat snuck into the nursery.  Either one.  Regardless, look how cute!







Needless  to say, my friend was crest fallen.  She just wanted me to take the specimen off her hands.  I couldn't stop marveling at how adorable this little guy was.  I've only seen creatures this sweet in Disney movies.







I hope I can do him justice in the final mounting stage.  Such petite faces are still a challenge for me, especially when I'm trying to capture just how precious it is.  I'm still not entirely sure what type of mount this will become but it has to be very very special.



Skinning him was delicate, as expected, and I accidentally punctured the dermis several time due to man handling. It's nothing I can't sew up but what really threw a wrench in the gears was this little guy's stomach and its contents.  I always try not to cut through the skin and into the guts because it's never a non-mesy affair, but sometimes the skin is so thin I can't help it.  Plus, the bunny's belly was bloated and kind of in the way.  As I worked the skin off the side, the pressure forced some of the contents of the stomach out and I almost dry heaved.



It looked like ricotta cheese:



* not actual contents because I was too grossed out to think of getting a shot.  But it looked JUST LIKE THIS.



The stomach puncture was like an exploding zit and there seemed to be no way of avoiding all the white puss splooging out onto my work table.  The amount of it was shocking to me and I squealed as I wiped it up with towel after towel.  Shortly though, I noticed that there was no odor.  If this were some sort of massive infection; the equivalent of a zit or cyst (full of dead white blood cells), then it would've stunk like halitosis.  Or like death, at the very least.  However, there was no such scent.  I calmed down a bit and allowed my nose to take in some of it.



Ricotta.  It actually smelled like ricotta cheese. How bizarre  But then I thought about it- it was a baby, the stomach likely full of mother's milk (quite full, I might add, that this little piggy was a piggy) and had maybe somehow curdled during digestion.  Out of curiousity I looked up ricotta cheese and how to make it online.  Sure enough, many cheeses are made with a complex of enzymes known as Rennet which is found in the stomachs of calves.  According to Wikipedia:



Rennet (pronounced /ˈrɛnɪt/) is usually a natural complex of enzymes produced in any mammalian stomach to digest the mother's milk, and is often used in the production of cheese. Rennet contains many enzymes, including a proteolytic enzyme (protease) that coagulates the milk, causing it to separate into solids (curds) and liquid (whey). The active enzyme in rennet is called chymosin or rennin (EC 3.4.23.4) but there are also other important enzymes in it, e.g., pepsin or lipase. There are non-animal sources for rennet that are suitable for vegetarian consumption.



Fear not, vegetarians!  Mass produced cheese is made from alternate methods these days  and the only folks still using sheep and cow stomach are for the most part artisan cheese makers in Europe.  Also, I don't think cheese was ever made inside of the animal's stomach as the method described in the Wiki article states that stomaches were cut up and soaked in a brine of sorts, with the raw milk.



Hmmm.  If I'd had my wits about me I would've saved it and tasted the first ever sample of in-stomach-curdled-rabbit-ricotta!



Or at least fed some to my cats.

Tastes like Chicken!

It appears to be squirrel season over here; I just skinned three last week and was gifted one more today.  Two of the three from last week were harvested by a friend and presented to me with the understanding that I would skin them and bring the meat to a BBQ in the near future.  I'm quite enthused about the sudden influx of small mammal specimen, seeing as I've got several deadlines looming nearby and I adore working with little furry creatures.



Here are the two which my friend caught.   I was impressed by what a good shot he is:  The first one got it right in the neck...







While the second took a shot right in the head.







I kept the bullet.  Or pellet, or whatever it's called.







This may seem cruel but the point is these creatures died instantly and that, to me, is humane.  The last thing it knew was scampering around happily and then-nothing.  I'll take nourishment from this kind of meat source over a mutated chicken with breast meat so abnormally large and cumbersome that it can't even walk five steps in its dark shitty pen, any day.



I marinated the meat in a mixture of Yuengling Lager, soy sauce and honey for 48 hours.  We threw it on the grill and let it cook for about twenty minutes.







The squirrel, plated.







I snatched a bit of the back-strap (most delicious cut of meat from deer, rabbits and squirrel) while it was being plated and bit into it, uncertain of what I'd taste.  It certainly smelled delicious, but this was a city squirrel.  It lived off of local compost so I guess you could say he ate well but...I was still wary.



The first taste washed all doubt away however, as salty sweet sizzling juiciness exploded in my mouth.  The mouth feel was tender and crisp.  Cries of "tastes like chicken!" could be heard from the kitchen as everyone took turns trying the new dish. Success!  I felt validated, I felt like I'd done something right.



I realise that to many people, eating squirrel is nothing new and such ado over this dish could read as discrediting a humble, naturally natural way of life or trying to make it a novelty.  I just want to express that to myself and my friends this was a completely new experience and a rewarding one at that.  I admire and aspire live the aforementioned way of life, where its just a day's work to harvest an animal and live off the land.



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