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:

Somebody's Getting Married!

I met with a client last night who has commissioned me to create  her bridal headpiece to wear in her upcoming nuptials.  We hashed out the details over a cocktail and snacks, and as we talked about the wedding, her relationship, etc, we marveled over how much we had in common.  It truly is remarkable that we hadn't crossed paths really, up until recently.

Anyway, all the talk got me feeling nostalgic about my own wedding day, and how much I enjoyed the process of preparing for it.  I created the corsages and boutenniers fo the wedding party as well as my own veil and bouquet.

I made a special hair piece for my maid of honor to wear:

As well as one for my flower girl:

Aren't they handsome?  That's my husband to the left, our officient (and dear, dear friend) in the middle, with the best man to the right.

A close-up of one of the brooches I made for the family members.  This one is pinned to my mother.

It's my dream come true to create pieces for brides.  Perhaps because it is that one day where a girl really can go bananas and express her most extravagant fantasies through attire, and that's the niche my work seems to fall into.  Not every woman wants to stop traffic or look like an exotic creature of fashion every day.  Some of us thrive on the attention generated by dressing unusually, but many of us don't.  The wedding day, however, seems to be the one occasion where it is socially acceptable for all women to truly let their light shine, and I find tremendous joy in being able to help facilitate that illumination.

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.

A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place

Whenever I throw myself into a large project, my studio suffers.  I go into a frenzied state of just trying to get it done right and on time; I can put this away later and find a home for that tomorrow.  Apparently this isn't uncommon amongst artists, as I've shared this gripe with several friends in the last week.

Common or not, I've spent the last five days in and out of my studio, cutting the fat and gifting what I haven't had a use for (and honestly don't think I ever will), vacuuming feathers and organizing.  It's an extremely tight space and I have amassed an impressive collection of trinkets  in the course of my life, so keeping this room functional takes some creative organizing.

Anyway, here's my desk.  I intend to upgrade soon but this little guy gets the job done for now.  All my eye candy is posted on the wall in front of me, as well as the measurements I hastily scrawl onto it when skinning specimen.  To the left is one of my freezers.

The drawer is organized with all the tools/embellishments I need for finishing touches.

Below is my extremely high-tech trinket organization system.  Over time the labels need to be changed to reflect my inventory.  It feels great to have finally updated the system.

Things I collect:

Another highlight: my closet.  It wasn't meeting its potential before, so I moved a bookshelf into it and got cracking.

Bones, skins, mannequins, solvents/chemicals, dehydrated specimen, all live here as well as a few early stabs at the whole taxidermy thing.

And that's my studio, in a nutshell.  I plan on moving to a bigger space in the next year but why not make the most of my humble, quaint little room while I still occupy it?

Now that I'm all clean and organised, I can focus on whats next, like hats to wear at the derby, and several orders for some very , very patient clients.

Welsh Rarebit? Joke's on me.



Welsh Rarebit? Joke's on me.

A few weeks ago I skinned a rabbit for a future project and froze the meat until the time was right for a meal.  That time was two days ago when I accidentally defrosted said rabbit and not the ground raw rabbit meal intended for the cats.  Still coming out of my derby stupor (amongst other jobs) I threw my human food rabbit into a marinade comprised of a Budweiser (door prize beer; my husband and his friends play this game of leaving a shitty beer in the fridge door for one another.  I don't drink beer so I don't get it, apparently) and agave syrup with a healthy dash of salt and bay leaves.  My anemic culinary muscle twitched and I hoped fo the best.

I searched for a rabbit recipe on one of my husband's favorite blogs, Glutton for Life.  This yielded a fascinating entry about Welsh Rarebit, with instructions, so I hastily ("I'm late, I'm late!" ) jotted down the crap I needed to buy and caught the train to whatever job I had to work that day.

That day turned into a clusterfuck of late trains and rainy weather and I had to walk too far carrying too much in the cold to even talk about.  Regardless, it was one of those times where I was eager for a hot meal consisting of warm meat and butter and bread. Then I really read the recipe and laughed at myself.

There is no rabbit in Welsh Rarebit.

I don't know if it's a joke or what but there was no turning back at this point.  I put the meat on a skillet and just figured I could incorporate it into the meal.



That is Jim showing me how to "stream" liquid in to the pan.  Apparently I wasn't doing it right.


When it was all said and done, the whole thing seemed to me like a glorified shit on a shingle.

The color and consistency were drab, gross, even... but the taste was dripping with warm, fatty blissful COMFORT.

Jim took a picture from his side of the table of me eating.  He was kind enough to greet me at the door with a towel and my bathrobe, which I was still wearing come dinner time. This image would perfectly encapsulate the idea of warm and cozy nights, except my hands are so fucked up.  I hurt them a bit with all the delicate work I've done on Derby stuff (plus aerial training) the last few weeks but JESUS, I've never wanted to go to finishing school more than I do now, looking at my awkward paws man-handling the fork and knife like some savage.  If I'm ever going to famous I need to be composed around a table setting, for crying out loud.


So that's the Diamond Tooth version of Welsh Rarebit. It was tasty, gooey and good.  Not good enough to repeat, but a moment in time worth noting nonetheless.




Running for the Roses

I love horses.  I've never wanted to own one, I don't even really enjoy riding them...rather, I prefer observing them.  I could watch a horse move for hours.  In my eyes, there is no more perfect example of the balance between strength and agility, brute force and beauty.  I also love horse people.  There is something in their blood perhaps, that I can relate to.  Seeing as all things equestrian tend to be on the financially steep side, one would think that there would be a sort of elitist vibe that could frighten a Bohemian artist such as myself.  I couldn't find that notion further from the truth though.  At every equine event I've attended, I've found myself amongst free-spirited individuals who appreciate a good quirk much more than the proverbial next guy.

That said, it only seems logical to take my love over state lines and partake in "the most exciting two minutes in sports", AKA the Kentucky Derby.  I must confess, the thought hadn't even occurred to me until my sister in law, Danielle, (who dreams big and accomplishes bigger, see here) suggested it over Thanksgiving dinner.  I set my sights on Churchhill Downs for 2011 and since then have worked tirelessly with my miracle worker/facilitator of dreams Meredith Lindemon of Meredith Communications to make it so.  She dove headfirst into the task of getting me not just into the Derby but fully immersed in the entire event.  Contacts were made, sponsorships were proposed.  We worked out this and that, revised the product, toiled and troubled until about a month ago when the pace began to pick up.  Before I knew it I was presented with a ten day deadline to create 4 custom hats for a silent auction and 75 (seventy five!) hand-crafted brooches, hair pins nad combs for gift bags at the Julep Ball.

Remember Barbaro?

I was searching for a Derby related video to include in this post and I fell down the rabbit hole of Barbaro tributes.  I am stunned at just how many of these videos exist (also at how graphic and injury-focused most of them are) and overwhelmed with emotion recalling how the love that so many of us felt for this heroic creature united us that Summer.

And now it's all done and my little army is en route to Kentucky.  I will be following suite next month to attend the Ball as well as Kentucky Oaks and the Derby. Of course I'll need to create something to wear to these events but for the moment I'm going to get a full nights rest and come up for air.  I just wanted to share photos of the newly minted Diamond Tooth Millenary 2011  Derby Line and take a moment to thank these people:

Jim my husband, who never complained while his home turned into a feather filled factory and graciously relieved me of most domestic duties.  Oh, and he happens to be an awesome photographer who shoots all my work for me.

My folks, who have proven to me time and time again that if you ask, you shall receive.  Not just because they're kind, but because they believe in me.

Danielle, my aforementioned sister-in-law who gave me the idea in the first place.

Daniel Wilbur, proprietor of Wilbur Vintage who would open up his shop early for me and patiently allow me to paw through his trinkets in my attempts to amass enough charms with which to adorn all of my creations.

Bailey  (and all my chicken friends!), aka chicken master; without his donations I wouldn't have had any medium to work with.

Gregory Andrew Powell, millenatrix extraordinaire and my arch nemesis who was kind enough to momentarily bury the poison-tipped hat pins and  share some of his wisdom.

And of course Meredith, who wasn't afraid to push me to reach higher even while I was being a brat.

Sun Hat:

This a Panama hat embellished with fancy chicken and peacock feathers, swiss dot horse hair and antique veil.


Summer Beret:

This little beret is composed of fancy chicken and ostrich feathers, swiss dot horse hair and a vintage brooch.

Oh and look!  Leather tags!


A little something to enhance your up-do; made of fancy chicken wing and peacock feathers, antique ceiling and vintage pearl beads.


That is the back of the comb; it's  a tricky shot since there's so much going on.  I used an antique comb from 1920 and embellished it with the tail feathers of a fancy chicken, some peacock, and a vintage crystal necklace.  I added a poof of antique French veil.

Below is the front.  This one is a real doozy.


These are a few examples from the gift bag items.  I used 24K plated stick pins as the bases and each one is one of a kind and infused with my heart.


The bases for these are silver plated combs; each one is lovingly hand crafted.


Only 5 of these; silver plated base with vintage jewelry embellishments.

Artist Honored Riding a Sound Blasting Vehicle at a Viewing

Andria Bibiloni, 28, of New York, ceased to exist on Mar. 23, 2011 in Philadelphia, where she lived since 2000.  A visual artist and educator, she strove through her work to facilitate a dialog about sociopolitical and interpersonal issues. Known for riding her Blasterbike, 2007, in the streets of Philadelphia, her departing wish was to be displayed riding a bigger, louder, and heavier soundblasting vehicle.  Beth Beverly of Diamond Tooth Taxidermy will be handling the preparations for the viewing, which takes place at the Rotunda in University City on Sunday March 27 from 3-5 pm.  Guests are invited to stay for refreshments.





A little behind.

As anyone who works in a creative field knows, an artist must occasionally supplement her income with tedious, unglamorous jobs such as working gigs on cruise ships down in the West Indies every now and again.   Tiny violins, I hear them.

The down side is, while living on board said cruise ships, no taxidermy gets done. Virtually nothing gets done, since I live in a room the size of a pocket and internet connections are sparse and sporadic at that.  So my apologies, all five of you who read my blog and have perhaps checked in over the last two weeks wondering where I am.  I've been busy acquiring a tan that would make the cast of Jersey Shore green.

Upon my return to dry land,I have hit the ground running, so to speak.  I am in the midst of some prep (some, HA!)  for a really big-time dream project with a deadline that is making me laugh or cry depending on what state of self-medication I am in, I have a thousand or so loose ends to tie up for a performance piece next weekend (I'll post about that shortly) and I'm rehearsing for an aerial dance gig just three weeks away!  Yes, I am a circus performer also.  Someday, my passions will merge together and this will all make sense.  For now, here are some images of samples I made for my mega-project that may or may not be a secret at this point.  Feast your eyes:








Next up: more details on my collaborative performance piece with local artist Andria Biblioni.

Between then and April 9: reruns.

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.

"I've got a stiff black cock in the freezer for you"

That's the text message I received from my dear chicken-master pal a couple of months back when his prized black Dutch Serama rooster died.

It's good to have a sense of humor about these things, and after offering my condolences we set about discussing how he would like his cock mounted. (an interesting sidenote-I am often privately fascinated by different words the same key strokes will produce when texting, such as "good" and "home".  Throughout the process of working on this mount for my friend, we'd often text each0ther back and forth, checking on progress and such.  Every time I try to text the word cock, I get "anal" instead.  The 4th grader in me fins this extremely humourous.)

Here he is, in all his glory:


My friend wanted him mounted in a pose which was entirely new territory to me; back arched, tail up and wings relaxed at the side. Oh, and that chest.  I had no idea their chests actually puffed out so far until meeting some roosters at this guy's coop and seeing it for myself.  I was instructed to emulate this image, and take creative liberty when I where I felt inspired to do so.

While working on the positioning I found other reference images and videos to study online, and became completely enamoured with this little bird.  Such a proud looking creature, completely indifferent to its petite stature. I imagined the muscle strength it must take to arch one's back just so to bring the tail feathers all the way up like that, all the while standing with the chest pushed out as far as possible.  I even tried imitating this pose myself, (as I often do in an attempt to understand muscle structure and anatomy with my specimen) and would up contorted into a shape that I'm sure would make any back specialist cringe.


When the time came to select an environment for this mount, I went through many options but there was one that  couldn't be ignored, as it had been sitting on a shelf above my desk for months.  The horse hoof!  I've been working on my horse hoof platform shoes for almost a year now, and this first hoof I have sitting around was my crash course, so to speak, on fleshing out the actual foot part.  When I paired it with the little cock, the color, angles and gently implied S&M facor all gelled together so perfectly I couldn't help but squeal a little bit.

I live for moments like this, in my studio when it's just myself and my little creatures, when some treasure or trinket I've been holding onto for years meets its mate.




*photo credit: James Coughlin

If we all had our druthers, our pets would live forever!

I understand that my medium of choice when it comes to artistic expression is somewhat provocative, if not downright controversial.

I certainly don't expect everyone to like it, nor do I expect the world at large to share the same carefully laid out map of moral boundaries and ethics I've arrived at myself through a never-ending process of trial and error.  If we all thought the same thing, the world would be a tragically dull place, not to mention nothing would ever get done.

While working so closely with death, I've given much thought to the value of life and how it is appreciated so differently by different people and cultures.  Some people raise poultry for a living; those birds are food to them and nothing else.  Birds are kept in cages, living on top of one another and stepping in a pile of one another's feces until the time comes for harvest.  It's easy to think of these creatures (or even look at them if you've ever been to a live poultry market), and feel heartbroken.  For some, that is.  For others, it's just as easy to look into a cage and see what ranks a few links down on the food chain.  Dinner.  Sustenance, and nothing else.  After years of careful thought and consideration, I fall somewhere in the middle.  My work in the field of taxidermy has brought me in touch with hunters and butchers alike, and through my interactions with these folks I have gained an appreciation for the food that winds up on my plate, an appreciation I never had as a child.  When I've met the animal whose life was extinguished to feed myself (or my cats), I appreciate the meat so much more.  The responsibility of using each part to its fullest weighs so much heavier on me than if I'd bought some prepackaged beef from the market.

My point is this: I understand and appreciate the fact that my sheer existence/lifestyle comes at a price, and sometimes that price is the lives of other living creatures.  For this, I am thankful and move throughout my day with an awareness I wouldn't trade for all the blissful ignorance in the world.  Plus, I love animals, I really do.  I wouldn't have gotten into taxidermy if that wasn't the case.  For those of you who haven't heard this worn-out old story, I decided to get a book and teach myself the craft after seeing so many freshly perished birds on the city sidewalks post-skyscrapers-crash.  The thought of these beautiful creatures just rotting on the sidewalk or being swept into a gutter made me sick.  I wanted to preserve them, celebrate their beauty.  And so I learned the art of taxidermy.

Ten years later, and I still hold the same philosophy.  Of course, these amazing creatures are best when they're living, moving, flying, running, barking, etc.  But everything dies, whether by the hand of man or nature, and why let such beauty go to waste?  This is why I'm happy to take a dead pet off of a friend's hands, and also to use the skin of a chicken, pheasant, or even squirrel before making a delicious meal with the meat.  I do the best I can to be sure my specimen are sourced ethically and humanely, but I hold no judgement for others who have a different set of values when it comes to the food chain.  All I know is what's right for me, and if I've learned anything in my 33 years on this earth it's that the no two people should be expected to share the exact same moral compass.

I've received messages from individuals who are less than pleased about what I do. It would be terribly naive of me not to expect this, and to these people I want to say this:  I hear you.  I recognise what you're saying (even if it's not in the most polite wording) and I respect your point of view.  I want you to know that I'm not thoughtlessly slaughtering animals just so I can wear one on my head.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  This is in no way an attempt to convince you that I'm right, or that you should agree with me, it's just a clear explanation of my philosophy because from the tone of your emails/messages/comments I feel you may not have had all the facts before reaching out to me.

Peace be with yall.



This was going to be an add-on to the last post, but Minky deserves a post all of his own.  Please read:

And on a sad note, those of you (hi honey!  mom, dad?) who have read this blog from it's humble beginnings exactly one year ago may remember Minky, my kindred spirit who made my quite lonely stay in teh poconos so much  more enjoyable, if not magical.  During my stay I loved that cat like he was my own and we forged an irreplaceable bond.  Just minutes ago news reached me of Minky's passing.  His two dads loved him dearly and he is buried by the stream just outside the house where I stayed with him.  He loved to go out and sniff at that stream.  Below are a couple photos of dear old Minks and some links to posts pertaining to him.



Minky:1 Coyote: 0

Minky cave

Taking Minky to the vet

And just because I'm feeling nostalgic, my last day living in the mountains.  Please play the top video.  It's like I'm there again, I want you to be there too.


Good bye Mink, tender I will keep, this place you hold in my heart.


Restoration project and photoshop skills

!!!Update!  I just received some photos of this mout from the owner, exhisbiting the condition before I restored it!!!!  See below:



My chicken & egg supplier provided me with an assignment over the holidays: bring back to life this antique rooster mount which belonged to his good friend, another chicken enthusiast.  The tail was the main issue, as it was broken and sagging as a rather depressing angle.  There were other areas which needed improvement as well, so he just told me to give it the works.

And here is the finished and completely restored piece:

The sad, pathetic, kicking myself in the ass part of this is that I accidentally deleted my "before" pics and there is no hope of retrieving them.  So...through th miracles of Photoshop I will attempt to give a proper visual example of what I was dealing with.

Here is my rendering of the "before" shot focusing on the tail.  That part had completely broken from the rest of the bird and needed to be reattached at the correct angle.  I replaced the steel support rod and with the help of a little magic paste and finesse, got the positioning just right.  I then pruned the feathers a bit and arranged them back into what I imagined would have been their proper place.  Some were quite frayed so I tried steaming them, which helped by opening up the fibers a bit until they relaxed back into a straight (not crimped) state, but didn't entirely alleviate the problem.  Next time I'll experiment with some sort of oil.


The other major issue was the face. The coloring has completely faded into a dull yellow (I'm assuming in life he was a blushing young thing) and the waddles and comb were dried out and crumpled.  I rehydrated the delicate tissue for a few days until it was malleable enough to get into a more natural position without snapping.  After that the flesh was braced for several more days to cure in the straight position.

After that came painting.  After several tries I found the right combination of matte/glossy coats to achieve the slightly rubbery looking appearance these particular features tend to have on living roosters.


And after:

Aside from that there was general dusting of feathers, eyes, beak,feet and base and the usual whispering of sweet nothings into the rooster's ear.  He emerged good as new and the client was pleased.


I don't know why it took so long for that term to come to me.  Before two minutes ago I was calling this thing a "Squirrmaid" and a "Merrrrrell".  None of these names could be considered accurate, however, I suppose a more scientific name would be something akin to Scuiridae Piscis. When it's all said and done though, Squish is just the easiest to say.

This is a piece from my most recent show at Michael Vincent Gallery; he is made from a grey squirrel hailing all the way from Ohio and a Coho Salmon from the Great Lakes..

I'm intrigues lately by the tagging and tracking of animals.  I expect to experiment more with this in the future.

Also, here is the raccoon (still awaiting a name from the recipient)I made for my husband, photographed the way he deserves:

Who, me?

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.



*Photo credits: Jim Coughlin

I have one thing to say:

You'd better work.

And voila:  Here's Elke 2.0, in all her glory.




Feather detail.


So coy:


Up next is Grazyana, also on a pillow.  I like exploring unique environments for my pieces; I think using fabric communicates a sense of luxury that I associate these particular works with.


To the left.


Those are real pearls.


Her veil is gathered into a bustle in the back, secured with the head of an antique hairpin.


sashay, chantay.

*Photo credits: Jim Coughlin

If we catch you stealing, we will stuff you.

I think that was kind of the inspiration behind this piece which my husband, who runs an art supply shop, commissioned me to make last March.  I was fortunate enough to be gifted this road-kill racoon and when I told him what I had on my hands, he practically begged for me to make something special for him out of the specimen.  How could I refuse, really?  This man supported me all through school and has never once complained about sharing his home and his wife with my little army of fantasy creatures.  Creating a custom piece for this bastion of open-mindedness and support is really the least I can do.

Then he told me he wanted the racoon to be making a getaway with a money bag and I inwardly groaned.

How corny!   For some reason, cartoon characters, specifically the silly ones from the Warner Brothers stables, have always made me squirm.  Even as a child I found them intolerable.  It's a disdain I can't quite put my finger on, seeing as I can be a very silly person.  I suppose if I were to dig deep and play armchair psychologist for myself I'd say there is a particular stupidity to it all that most people find humorous but I don't because I fear the stupidity in myself.

I put my own opinion aside, however, and as I worked on Mr. Racoon I began to warm up to the idea of him being a thief.   The theme of raccoons as bandits is popular lore in many cultures and I found this interesting account of some Japanese Racoon dogs in the movie Pom Poko, which portrays them as mischievous little scamps.

He's hanging by one paw to the wall, and I gave him a hint of a smile with slightly upturned lips.  I sewed a bag from off-white canvas and made a $ stencil to paint the iconic symbol on said sack.  It was then filled with bottle caps, sewn shut and attached to Racoon's other front paw.



Here's a more pensive looking shot:


This was my first independent mount after finishing school and I can see how I might have done things differently had I been approached with this project today.  Overall though, I'm pleased, and so was my husband when he received his Christmas Racoon!

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.

Pretty feet, pretty face

I've had these three deer feet from the first deer I ever skinned all by myself, way back last year while I was up in school.  The cape, unfortunately, had some bacteria from exposure (by the time the doe got to me, she had been expired for some time) but I managed to salvage the legs for future use.  I found inspiration in the form of a gift for a couple of dear friends (har har) up in NY who have a deep appreciation for all things art....including the art of looking good.

What we've got here is a  deer hoof with a miniature mirror mounted on the front.  It is to be hung near the door so as to provide one last check yourself spot before heading out for th evening.  Spinach-free teeth?  Check.  No crusty eyes?  Check.


I capped it off with some copper tubing and a hen foot (going with the pedi theme)clutching a gemstone.  Garnished with some feathers and voila!  A Christmas present I'm hoping will please.


Happy holidays!

Taking Flight

Just the other day I sent off a pheasant I'd been working on for a couple of months, to the home of a new client as a gift for his daughter.  He was referred to me by someone I met at the Holmesburg open house, so this was basically my first connections free (no friends, no press) transaction.  I wanted so badly to give him the best possible finished product, and I think he left pleased.

He requested a position which would suggest the bird was about to take flight and emphasized his wishes for the tail to be prominently displayed.  Seeing as I've only observed pheasants in the wild a handful of times and never close-up (a fact I'm not proud of and hope to change soon), I took my time with this bird and did plenty of research.  What I decided upon was this stalking through the grass, poised to take off pose:


He requested a natural habitat with grass and such.  I took creative liberty here and added some decorative reeds and such in an arrangement I found copacetic with the pheasant.


So long, special friend!  It was a pleasure knowing you.


That sure went fast.

It seems like just the other day I was paying a solemn visit to a friends' house to retrieve a recently deceased gosling pet.  While I had initial success mounting Bobby, acquiring the perfect wings took some time.  Patience paid off however, and I was rewarded with a delicious squab which provided the perfect shade and size wings as well as a nutritious and wonderful meal.    After the entire piece was finished drying, I gave him a healthy coat of fairy dust to ensure maximum sparkle while poised atop the tree:



Merry Christmas!

PhillyMag.com | G Philly: "How my Dead Dog Won Best in Show"

by Jennifer Lea Cohan

"I wasn’t surprised when I looked under the side table and found that Elke had died. At age 14, my dear Rat Terrier had been failing for some time. However it was terribly inconvenient...Thank God for gay urban chicken farmers, because they know what to do in these situations. His dead hens are entrusted to his rogue taxidermist friend, Beth Beverly, a 32-year-old artist who works at Diamond Tooth Taxidermy in Philly... So I bagged her, iced her, and put her on the deck."

Read the entire article here: How My Dead Dog Won Best in Show


I have returned from Brooklyn a winner...in so many ways.  The entire two day experience was a blast, the crowning moment obviously being when I was presented the title "Best in Show" at the Carnivorous Nights taxidermy contest.  The evening was a cavalcade of awesome, however, beginning with arriving at the venue and peeking at the other entries.  I felt very timid and nervous, not having any idea how this whole thing was to go down, and lying on the presentation table backstage were some pieces that I would embarrassingly refer to many times that night as "stiff competition".  (Could've been the one too many cocktails to steel my nerves or my complete lack of wit, take your pick).

Melissa Milgrom, author of Still life, adventures in taxidermy, opened up the evening with a brief chat and I was hanging on her every word.  Even though I'd read the book and all that she described was somewhate familliar to me, I always admire a decent public speaker.

Mike Zohn, host of Discovery Channel's new show "Oddities" was the key-note speaker and I loathe to admit that his speech was lost on me because at that point my nerves were starting to get the best of me.  My hands were shaking and I was trying to go over my presentation in my head while fighting off the near-crippling fear that I would say something stupid. Thankfully I was seated next to my dear friend Thea who brought her recording equipment and was producing a piece about the event.  I look forward to listening to her material so I can refresh myself on what I may have missed. Behind me was Daisy Tainton, who I traded quips with throughout the evening.  She specialises in insects and snark.  Seriously, her presentation has me spraying red wine out my nose.  In fact, I found most of the contestants to be quick with a joke and very humorous.  I, on the other hand, was possibly just the right combination of awkward, sad and sweet.

Here I am describing my first entry, Elke 2.0.  She was the beloved rat terrier to a local Philadelphia family for 14 years before she passed recently in her sleep.  I spoke of getting the call from a friend about the friend I was about to meet, and my trepidatious handling of the manner.  Basically what I tried to convey (and I believe reached everyone present) is my undying, unconditional love for animals and my goal to treat them with utmost respect after death. It was slightly emotional.


Next to Elke 2.0 is Grazyana, a Polish hen which belonged to another friend of mine.   I buy fresh eggs from him whenever they're available and this little gal didn't make it to laying age.  She was petite and so special; I imagined her as a Princess Bride.


On my head is a piece composed of a Selama hen, also a donation from my chicken master pal.  I basically mounted her in a position which would hug her to my scalp, with a wing fashionablly covering one side.  Lately I've been inspired by the beauty of feathers and how the dermis can be manipulated into different positions which accentuate this natural beauty.  I'm enjoying the attempt to mount creatures in ways that would not be found in nature.



Winner!  I went out to celebrate with my gracious hosts that night and celebrated until 3am.  I woke up exhausted but still elated.  Thankfully that elation stayed with me, through my ten block walk down 7th ave (after getting dropped off at Penn Station instead of 42nd street) while clutching a giant trophy and 3 foot long box of taxidermy sculpture, as well as my navigation of the Broad Street line and subsequent walk home from the station.

There were several impressive write-ups covering the event including a piece in the NY Times, and the Wall Street JournalDrew Anthony Smith is a photographer I met who took some really terrific pictures of the event several blogs covered the night's festivities quite nicely.  I suggest reading these (Love Train for the Tenebrous Empire, Pink Slip, Stars and Garters, Big Bad Bald Bastard, to name a few) for more coverage on the other contestants since every entry was fantastic and I'm only telling my own story here.

Design Phan: "These Hats Stop Traffic"

by Caroline Tiger

"Some might call Beth Beverly, proprietress of Diamond Tooth Taxidermy, a strange bird for creating a hat so lifelike it looks like a squirrel is attacking the wearer’s head. Others might say her work makes total sense in this time and place, when the craze for Victoriana/the cabinet of curiosities/natural history is as strong as ever."

Read the entire article here: These Hats Stop Traffic

New York Tmes: "Stuffed, to the Limits of Taxidermists' Imaginations"

by Jed Lipinski

"Beth Beverly, 32, who works at Diamond Tooth Taxidermy in Philadelphia, presented two entries: a rat terrier dressed as a princess and a dazzling Polish hen in pearls and high heels gripping a 'virginal pillow.' 'She never grew old enough to lay eggs,” Ms. Beverly said of the hen, 'so I imagined what her life might have been.'"

Read the entire article here: Stuffed, to Limits of Taxidermists' Imaginations

Brooklyn Bound

I've been getting all my ducks in a row (that would be a great pun I guess, if I were using ducks this time around) for my trip to Brooklyn next week where I'll be participating in the annual Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy contest.  I'll be a first timer, but not a forgettable one.


I'm entering two pieces, the one below has been shown most recently at Vincent Michael Gallery but I've reconfigured some crucial elements to take her to the next level.  Obviously none of these photos will be of the entire creature; full shots to come next week after my hopefully triumphant return.


This second entry is my best work to date.  I'm quite pleased with how she turned out  and look forward to showing the final results.  Two hints:


And sparkles!



Of course no event would be complete without a new headpiece so I've got one of those in the works as well:



See you next week!

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.

Put up your Dukes!

I was recently commissioned by a local Academy student to create a squirrel in a boxing pose-high chamber, I reckon it's called- to be employed as a reference for a series of paintings he wanted to create.  I sourced a nice specimen from storage and got to work, quite enthused.  While I am happy as a clam to be doing any type of taxidermy at all; it's these unusual requests the really float my boat.  The squirrel form required some altering of the arms to present the correct posture, but the rest of the job was pretty cut and dry.    Nature didn't bless my little friend with the best tail in the world, but nimble fingers and glue can work wonders.

The front paws are set to resemble curled fists; I believe the client is creating a pair of miniature boxing gloves to be donned at a later date.

Snapper's Delight

I'm working on a couple of pieces for an upcoming taxidermy competition, one of which involves a fish.  Any excuse to buy a decent snapper, right?  I was excited to sweep this beauty up at the local fine foodery; the fish monger seemed perplexed that I didn't want him to fillet it or anything but I like to think that gives me some foodie cred.

The skinning was a snap;  I packed up the dermis in the freezer to use later and got to work on creating a snapper stew.  The meat was cut into small chunks and I saved the head and bones to use in a fish stock later.  As for the stew, it was probably simplest meal I've made while still being palatable ( I don't have the best track record in the kitchen).  In fact, it was a hit!  I cannot sing the praises of my crock pot enough.

Snapper Stew:

1 1/2 pound red snapper fillets -- cut in 2" pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic -- minced

1 large onion -- sliced

1 green pepper -- cut in 1" pieces

1 zucchini squash -- unpeeled & sliced

15 ounces whole tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon leaf basil

1/2 teaspoon leaf oregano

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup fresh mushrooms -- optional

Literally throw it all in the pot and keep it on low setting for six hours.

Then serve to friends and dazzle them with your culinary prowess!  I wanted to get some feasting shots but the stew was gobbled up too fast!

Squab, anyone?

I recently obtained a pigeon to complete a custom order for a client who dreamed up an angel-like tree topper for the upcoming holiday season.  I'm just about finished that piece but in the meantime here is what I did with the pigeon squab meat:

Potrawka Z Golebi (Polish Squab) 



3 Onions

1 c Meat stock

2 Tart apples

3 Mushrooms

1 Lemon; juice of

1 sm Glass of Madeira wine

1 tb Butter

1 tb Flour

1 c Sour cream

Quarter the pigeons; Saute in butter for 15 minutes. Remove from butter

and slice three onions into pan.  Fry onions until done.

Add meat stock, sliced apples, mushrooms, and lemon juice.

Mix well and bring to boiling point.

Add wine. In another pan, brown flour in butter and thicken the mixture.

Dip pigeons in sour cream, return to mixture and cook until tender.

Quite delicious, and nutritious!
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