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:

"Easy, Biscuit"

Monday, 1/11/10:

I managed to get my hands on a deer and an avian grab bag of sorts over the weekend which I was super excited about bringing into school today.  So excited, in fact, that I got on Rt 80 the wrong way and by the time I corrected my mistake and made it to school I was half an hour late.  I walked in on the middle of a fish demo.  We are in the midst of the bird course but a friend of Mr. B's is dying of cancer and called him over the weekend begging him to mount this trout that he's caught, ASAP as he only had however many days/weeks left.  I hear so much about cancer; it seems that everyone in B's family has survived/succumbed to at least one form of it, and the other student is all too familiar with it as well.  Is it a mountain thing?

Amway, he began by hand carving a form out of foam, and then gutting the fish.  The skin was stretched over the form and sewn shut in back .  I'm simplifying, obviously, because I can't be giving the entire process away...

Here is the trout face, with paper towels keeping the cheeks puffed out.   They will be removed later.  Look at that tongue!

Bottom view of head-Epoxy will be applied after drying to fill in gaps where form is exposed.

Bottom view of head; you can see the foam form peekng through a bit.  This will all be epoxied over after drying time.

Mounted Trout, with fins carded to keep them in an attractive and spread condition.

After the Trout was mounted and drying, we began skinning our Mallard ducks.  I found this to be more challenging than pheasants, since they are so fatty.  I managed to put several holes in my skin when degreasing it.  A slight reprise though came when I simply cut the entire head out of the duck, instead of inverting it and needing to clean the skull, which is SUCH a drag.  Apparently the beaks on Mallards simply have too much fleshy tissue on them so the method of choice is to airbrush artificial heads and stretch the skin over them.  Here is my removed duck neck and head.

I'm learning more and more about regulations on what I may and may not possess as a taxidermist.  The amount of permits I need to acquire to do just about anything is dizzying and somewhat disheartening, but I'm determined.   In class, I'm a frequent inquirer, constantly asking "do people eat that?", "How do you kill those?" and today my queries included but were not limited to making Trout-skin purses, the degree of edibility of fish eyes and applications for duck fat.  The answers I receive aren't always enthusiastic but I think he's accepting the fact that I won't stop pressing.

After school I went home and practiced on my hoop in the barn.  I'll take some video of that shortly; it's a fun structure to spin in.   My hosts stuck around and made dinner for Sarah and myself.  I brought her up to keep me from feeling too lonely and to give her an opportunity to work on some essays for school in a quiet environment.  Over dinner we learned the completely astounding circumstances which brought R & W to their dog, E.  A story book detailing this caper is in the works so I can't say much more but to say it's nothing short of mind-blowing would be the undeniable truth.

After our meal, the boys left to drive back to Philly and Sarah and I relaxed with Martinis (her first!) and "Flight of the Conchords".

Oh, and here's a taste of the local grocery experience:

Day Four

Today I skinned and stuffed my second pheasant, putting it in a closed (standing, wings shut) mount.  After skinning and removing all bits of fat and flesh, I gave it a bath.  Here it is drying.

After the bath the skin gets tumbled in sawdust for about five minutes and then dried and fluffed with a hair dryer.  I had a little more trouble working the wires through the legs of this guy, but again I am pleased with the result.  I am hoping that over time my speed improves, however; I feel like molasses every time I look over and see the other student about four or five steps ahead of me.  Thankfully she smokes so she can go outside and rest while I catch up.

The feathers are set with plastic wrap and my eye mistakes fixed with pins for now.  Later on I will create a proper environment for him to occupy, with reeds and moss, etc.

Later on we learned how to use our airbrush kits; I am not taking to it as easily as I'd like.  Once I master the control factor though, I should be golden.  After we had the basics down, we gave a bit of color to some duck feet and even painted some artificial Mallard heads!

I went home nad worked on my hoop, then ran errands and tidied up the cabin.  Afterwards I fixed myself a martini and watched "The Mother", which took two more martinis to undue the trauma inflicted upon me by the sheer unexpected and shocking content

Day Three

Today I finished my pheasant mount from yesterday; it is an open mount which means flying/wings spread.  I am quite pleased with the results, and take comfort in that the foundation of success in a craft such as this lies in taking the right steps in the right order.

The weather is the #1 topic of conversation around here; hunting being #2, and sometimes the two are mashed together.  Everyone talks about how cold it is but honestly I haven't found myself chilly at all.  Not like down in Philly, anyway.  Perhaps it's because I am in a house with adequate heating and the only time I'm really outside is to walk the ten steps to my heated car.  No biking in the harsh Philly winds for me!  I fear I'll get soft, but at least I've got my hoop to work out on and keep me somewhat conditioned.  It is cold out in the barn, but since I'm moving  I really don't feel it.  Plus I'm layered to the nines.  Every morning I usually put on at least two pairs of tights, thigh-hi socks, leg warmers, and steel-toed knee-hi combat boots.  I won't even go into the entire operation that is dressing the top half of me.

I am trying to wrap my head around the political views of the people I've met up here; I prefer to stay mum and keep an open ear before I form an opinion.  All I know is that I get confused when they talk about how much they miss Bush being in office, yet get really heated when the subject of global warming comes up: "these guys said there's no such thing, heh.  Look around!  The evidence is everywhere!  Idiots."  Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't it the Bush administration that paid scientists to deny the existance of global warming?  Seriously, correct me if I'm wrong because I keep myself in a bubble and could be completely misinformed on this stuff.

I practiced on my hoop today and realised that leaving a metal ring in a below-freezing environment overmight not does not an ideal practice condition make.  I had to wear my gloves for the first twenty minutes which made gripping quite a challenge.  By the time I had warmed it up enough to be able to touch with bare hands, iI only had about 5 minutes of light left before it was pitch black.  The novelty of spinning upside down in the dark wore off quickly.  Tonight the hoop stays indoors with me.

Right now I am watching "Vanity Fair" and drinking a white russian.  I relate to this Becky Strong character; maybe it's the vodka talking but I feel I have the ability to adapt to any situation I'm thrown in and thrive .  I wouldn't call myself a social climber but I also wouldn't shy away form the term opportunist.

Day Two

We started the day off skinning deer heads; the two which belonged to the other student in fact.  We put the capes in the back room, salted them, and left them in a pile with the other skins to be sent to the tannery.

We then began working on our own pheasants.  Mr. B gasses the pheasants so the skin and feathers remain flawless, but it renders the meat inedible.  I'm dealing with the guilt of knowing this animal died just so I could make art out of it, and nothing more.  My morals are somewhat compromised but it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make for this education.  As I scrape meat off the bird skull with my fingernails, the smell of Dead permeates my nose and I force myself to like it.  I've never been too intimate with my meat, and in the past I've only used scalpels to cut specimen-never my bare hands.  I try to drink coffee while I work in a bizarre attempt to condition my stomach.  We learned today that when a skin isn't fleshed out and salted quickly enough the rot takes over and it really starts to stink.  These capes are called "spooks" and will taint the other skins.

Mr. B calls me "girl" when he comes by to check on my progress, always with a smile.  I think he has a soft spot for young women, particularly those who are easy on the eyes, so I embrace it.  I'll even be so bold as to say I might remind him just a bit of his granddaughter, whom is the apple of his eye.  He's also generous with the positive feedback which, in a scholastic setting, I am not accustomed to.

I rigged up my hoop in the barn when I got home, so I can practice aerials during the week.  Plus, I'm nowhere near a gym and the terrain isn't ideal for running outdoors, so this will basically be my sole source ofexcercise.  Unfortunately by the time I figured out what beam to use as a rigging point, and how to get up there, then actually hung it, it was too dark to use.  I went inside and did some yoga in front of a fire insteadwhile I watched "Donkey Skin" on DVD.  It's the only movie I brought up with me, and it has inspired me to only speak seulement en francais while I'm alone in the cabin with the cats.

The first half of my morning commute.


It's jazzy, right?

The Thaw

This is video footage of me going through the various treasures form my freezer; often I'll forget what I've stashed in there until I take it all out.

I also wished to acknowledge my appreciation of my place in the cycle of life.

First day of School

Day one:   I left the house a little after 6AM, the earliest I'd been out the door since my bagle-mongering days.  Mortified at the idea of being late on my first day,  I imagined the teacher- a sturdy and stoic army vet- towering over me and shaming me in front of the other students who would most likely all be guys.  I took a wrong turn and panick began to set in as I raced down the dark roads and finally pulled up to the school.  Oddly enough, there were no other cars in the parking lot.  I walked in to discover that not only was I early (class didn't begin until 7:30; I'd had 7am in my head) but there would only be one other student-a female!  Cripes.  I got my pathetic little frozen squirrel out of my bag and put it in the freezer just as the other student arrived with two enormous deer heads, a doe and a 7 point buck.  To say I felt inferior would be a slight understatement.

After a brief tour, Mr. B put us right to work fleshing out some deer capes and he taught us how to split lips and noses, and turn ears.  I took to it quickly, and was even told that I got an a+ for the day.  My insecurity faded.  Later he gave us a demo on skinning and mounting a pheasant, from A to Z.  I took notes furiously, and drove home to crawl into bed.  I dreamt that I ran a race and won.  Not just 1st place in my age category, or first female to cross, but WON.  The WHOLE DAMNED THING.
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