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 Sharp Dressed Man

Every girl is crazy about 'em.  Well, every girl ought to be, in my book.

This ZZtop video is actually really awful.  This is the first time I've seen it but I wanted you, dear reader, to listen to the song whilst reading this post.  This has long been my favorite ZZTop song (well, next to La Grange, of course) simply because of the lyrics.  It's like this song was written for me.  I've always been enamoured with men's accessories, and any guy who opts to incorporate these little extras into his daily ensemble earns high marks with me.  I used to buy gaudy, bejeweled vintage cufflinks at flea markets knowing that someday I'd meet a man to give them to.

To some it may appear a little fey, but I think it speaks volumes when a man takes time getting dressed, thinks about the way his clothes fit his form, and is thoughtful about embellishments, etc.  It makes me sick to see how the vast majority of the opposite sex has given up on fashion, wearing a uniform of cargo shorts, flip flops and baseball caps.  Men: do you take no pleasure in the art of "getting ready"?  Whatever happened to putting your best face forward?  Take one look outside my house and I should consider myself lucky guys are able to get their jeans up to the bottom of their asses nowadays. It really turns my stomach, especially when I see these offensive creatures walking around with women who clearly invested some serious time in their appearance/ensemble.

Ladies!  Put your stilleto-clad foot down!  Send your beau back inside to change and don't let yourself be seen with him until he is dressed to match your caliber.  Do not lower your worth by letting yourself be paraded around by a slob!

Men!  Stop letting yourselves go!  Some of you complain about not having as many options as women in the shopping/clothing arena but really, you can personalize your look with any or all of the following:

cufflinks (easy)

ties (duh)

bow ties (not for the faint of heart)

belts (very easy)

tie tacks (easy/moderate)

a monocle (difficult, not for amateurs)

watches (easy)

rings (takes panache)

pockets squares (fun and endless ways to fold!)

stick pins.  So easy, so elegant, and speaking of:

I apologise for the poor quality photos; my in-house photographer was not available at the moment and I clearly  am not skilled with a camera.

This is a custom lapel pin I just dropped off  for a dear friend and fellow sharp-dressing enthusiast, Adrian Hardy.  He is also a talented purveyor of music, I believe the term is DeeJay although I cringe when I hear myself say that because for some reason (perhaps due to my complete lack of a night life) I feel like an out-of-touch poseur when I use that word.  Irregardless, Mr. Hardy and one of his partners-in-crime over at LOTis Media had a fairly significant event last night in Philadelphia to tend to and Adrian requested I whip up something fancy for him.  I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love doing custom work.  Pieces are so much more special to me when I've got a specific client in mind.  That said, it also makes for a much more harrowing experience as I hand it over, wringing my hands and praying they like it.  I'm pretty sure this one went over well; I'll have to troll for pictures online to see.

The parameters given to me for this lapel-pin were Arian's personality and what I know of it, and the fact that this particular event was a "white party".  I used a bed of Polish Hen  plumage and added feathers of pheasant, peacock, and mourning dove.  I also embellished it with some rabbit fur and a dazzling vintage charm.  All of this atop a 24K gold-plated stick-pin!

And there's more where that came from, folks!  Just check out my Etsy shop!

Say it with me, ladies and gentlemen: men's return to fashion starts RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW, with ME and team Diamond Tooth.


Beth Beverly


***update: Here is a photo of Senor Hardy last night Courtesy of Philly Chit Chat: Not too shabby, eh?

art of earning

meaning behind my work

yes, meaning for ME< but for others?  never crossed my mind.

2x men at shows came to me with tears in their eyes over a piece which had touched them

A special comb for a special gal

Here is a comb I was recently commissioned to make for a friend as a gift for her sister-in-law.  Commissions are my favorite assignments; I thrive on personalizing things for specific individuals.   The recipient in this case has reddish hair, and appreciates a flash of bright color.  I incorporated a cameo because it reminded me of the couple who commissioned the piece.

According to my friend, the cameo resembles her sister-in-law!  My personalised work seems to somehow magically blend in perfectly with the wearer's style and personality; I truly think this is where I excel.  These are the times when I follow my instincts and it works.

Here's a full-sized image.  I just had to get these shots quickly since I had to run out and deliver the piece.  It's comprised of pheasant, peacock and misc bird feathers; some were manipulated and curled.  I also incorporated vintage gems and beaver fur.


And here is another picture.  It is so ridiculously hot in here and I can't think.  Words hard.

The Patron of Christmas Tree Farms.

I've met Kathy.  She really is the patron of whatever team she's playing for.  Super classy lady.  I wonder if I can be the Tanqueray of taxidermy?

Sure, why not.  One of the players complimented our headwear during the lap; you can hear me thanking him.


In case you couldn't tell, yet another Sunday was well spent by yours truly taking in a match at Brandywine Polo Club!  I gathered up two of my favorite gals and tried out two new fascinators on them.


Pearl is sporting a piece fashioned from one of the vintage hats recently gifted to me; I used a chicken of the frizzled breed with spiky, featherless feathers.  Perfect for holding jewels!


I attached a quail head-piece I've been working on to the "muppet" fascinator from the vintage set.  None of these pieces are finished quite yet; this was a test run on some works in progress.  I'm not entirely happy with this one.




This was the first time that I lazed about on my blanket during halftime, opting out of the traditional divot stomping.  My belly was full of black licorice, champagne and happiness.  AS you can CLEARLY see from this photo there was a horse-drawn carriage on the field, complete with a heralding trumpet player announcing its arrival.  That carriage actually seems to show up at every match; I think I need to start rubbing elbows with that lot.

If I could only get up.


Here is Maria trying to cut the end off a particularly sharp spiky feather vein that kept poking Pearl in the neck.  I had no intention for the hat to be so dangerous.

Did I mention she's using the serrated-edge mini-blade on a wine opener?  After two bottles of champagne that can be hazardous.

Alas, all ended well.  We stuck around and I talked hats with some of the club members; we nibbled on strawberries and called it a day.

A very, very fine day.

Twinkle, twinkle, little bat. I wonder what you're at.

Remember when I mentioned a few months back that somebody was getting married?

Yes, yes...while the nuptials haven't quite taken place, the party has been presented their headwear for the big day so I am free to share them with you, my little doormice (all 8 of you!)

Birthday?  My dear child, this is NOT a birthday party.

Is this getting curiouser and curiouser?  My apologies, but "Alice through the Looking Glass" is such an irresistibly quotable story.  It's also the theme of this bride's wedding.  Without knowing this, I suggested using a petit lapin as the taxidermic element to her fascinator:

This is a detail shot to show just how delicate this little guy is.  I used an antique hand-made glass eye to give the face more expression, depth, and dolliness.  This ain't your mamma's March Hare.

For the 5 bridesmaids I made a collection of combs with similar elements/color, but each unique in its own fashion, just like the girls themselves!  Each one is based on a pheasant wing, with a bird (mostly pheasant) talon and then embellished with vintage findings:

Read the directions and directly you will be directed in the right direction...

It would be so nice if something would make sense for a change.

Off with their heads!

And here is the bridal piece, in its full glory.  I'm very proud of this one; the tatted lace base was provided by the bride and blends with the rabbit perfectly.  I am eager to see photos of all the beautiful girls wearing these on the Big Day!

While looking for a fun little video to insert into this post, I found a gem series called "Alice on the Wall."  Oh boy.

Vintage Hat Surprise!!!

First, you take about thirty vintage hats and fascinators.

Next, you put them in some fabulous antique hat boxes (stack the hats thusly, please):


Then, you give them all to ME!

Me?  Did someone say....ME?  Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.*

Anyone who knows me really well can spot two of the most special people in the world gracing the outer edges of that picture above.

Seriously, though, how amazing are these boxes?  I want to live in a time where items are crafted this well out of materials that AREN'T plastic.




This Stetson box had an inner structure to support a top hat, but it was so worn the actual box didn't quite survive.

I'll take time to photograph the hats better in the future, but here are a few I hung up in my studio.  Several of them were too perfect to alter, so they're in my dressing room awaiting a wearing.  The rest are a bit worn/tired, and just begging to be embellished/repaired.


This little number I call "Blue Haze".  It consists of a simple navy cap swathed in a cloud of blue veiling and white flowers.


Judging by the hand stitching over the tag, I'm guessing this hat was a homemade creation, embellished post-purchase.  Discoveries like this make me feel closer to some woman I never knew.  DIY at its finest.


A simple black cap:


A green bow fascinator!  Perfect for a wedding...I may taxiderm it up and add it to my Bridal collection.


A cream fascinator with white florals.  This ones a doozy!  I can't wait to show you what I've done with it.

There were some veils in the bunch as well.  More for the Bridal collection....

Also, sorry these pictures aren't so great.  It's clear to me I need to invest in some new display heads.

Here is a darling little black veil with white silk flowers on top!  I almost love it the way it is too much to change it.....almost.

These roses! J'ADORE!


Here's another veil, off-white with some red roses.  A little worse for the wear, but I love the idea.


I call this one the muppet poof.  It's already been switched up a bit; another potential Bridal piece in the works.


This is a simple black velvet wire base fascinator:

And another, non velvet....


I've been having a very exciting morning pairing natural/animal elements with these vintage pieces and everyone is getting along swimmingly.  Updates coming soon!

*a reference to one of my favorite videos:



A HUGE thank you to my mother, and her pal Carol, without whom this well of inspiration would not have happened for me.  XOXOXO!


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.

Birthday Surprise!

Here's a quick little ditty about a hair pin I made for a very special gal who celebrated her birthday yesterday.  I didn't have a ton of time, and I was given some very basic guidelines (she's kind of girly and likes shiny things!) so I ran with it.  The other caveat (for lack of a better word) is that the birthday girl sports a massive mane of dreadlocks.  Long, thick, beautiful dreadlocks, so a typical fine toothed silver plated hair comb wasn't going to work.  I opted for a pin and combined dyed deer tail (typically used for making fly-fishing lures), pheasant feathers and a vintage gem earring.

When my friend opened her gift; her joy was unmistakable.  I wish the happiness I glean from giving other people something they genuinely love could be bottled and used as currency.  It feels better than money.  Not really knowing her style or preferences, I went with my gut and wound up with a product that, accordingly to the recipient, was an uncannily perfect fit.  This brings me so much joy and seems to be a recurring theme in my custom pieces, which is more than I could have hoped for.  I will touch upon this more when I post pictures of the bridal pieces I presented recently to a client- but until the wedding those details must remain under wraps.




Ladies Day 2011

"Oh hello there.  Like the view?  This is what a winner looks like, dearie, and don't forget it. "

Well, at least I was viewing this from the shaded and breezy environment inside the winner' box whilst sipping my ice-cold Cartier champagne.  Those ladies had to roast out there for a good fifteen minutes.

Do I sound catty?  Bitter?  It's no wonder, given the fact that after making two special pieces for the hat competition at Ladies day at the Devon Horse Show, with the goal of winning the Mad Hatters category, we missed the entire judging. Unbeknownst to us, (with any sort of update suspiciously absent from the website), the judging had been moved up by over an hour.  I heard claims of  excessive heat being the reason for this, but I can't help but wonder if they heard we were coming and decided to slide one in under the wire.

Paranoid delusional, you say?  Maybe.  Maybe not.

Greg Powell, the talented milliner who took last year's blue ribbon, wears one of my fascinators and laughs in disbelief at our crummy luck.

Fortunately we looked too good for anyone to deny us access to the judge's box, so all four of us were invited in to sip on champers and mingle with the winners.  Here is my lovely model Rachel, wearing what was intended to be my mad hatter entry  #1.  She is primarily a photographer when she's not being a good sport and wearing hats for me; in fact she took all the pictures you see on this post. Due to the heat and our massive champagne consumption that day, she feels these photos may not be up to snuff. Please check out her site: rachellynnk.com

And here I am wearing entry #2, with the fabulous Megan donning the tried and true duck wing fascinator that all the gals look great in.  I love her pose in this picture but I'm not sure what my hand signal is saying.

The mad-hatter entries were composed of hand-made visors (something I plan to expand on more for my fall line) and a swirl of fancy chicken wings, outstretched and reaching upwards.  Looking at them on our heads in photos, I already see a million things I want to change.  For a one-off experiment though, I would say I am pleased.


Maybe I was asking for a close-up shot of my eyelashes.  Pony lashes, to be specific.  Carson Kressley noticed them right away, maybe because they were framing my huge, sad, about-to-burst-with-tears eyes as I watched all the winners being announced and he said "Where were you?  You were late!"


We made our way up to the stands to watch some horse action (I guess that's why we're all really there) where we were joined Lauren St. Clair Lynch.  As gracious as ever, she only had nice things to say about my hats while we enjoyed light snacks and sipped on a creation I'd like to call a gasoline shandy.


Looking good:


Looking very, very good.  All winners in my book.

Rachel and I:

Discussing plans for Ladies Day domination next year, which include but are not limited to: camping out overnight, sprinkling tacks on all surrounding roads, and planting moth eggs in the closets of our competition.

Actually, that was Megan, a very experienced rider, giving us the scoop on side-saddle.  I never fully appreciated how difficult a skill set this is, to ride mounted with legs draped on the same side of the horse.  All I can think of is how sore the rider's back must be afterwards.  I believe the reason this method of riding originated was to protect a woman's purity, both figuratively (a woman straddling a large beast could be quite unbecoming) and literally (it was thought that her hymen would not remain in tact unless her legs were firmly shut).

As I watched these graceful ladies make their way around the course, moving seamlessly with the horses despite the intense raging heat and the added difficulty of handling everything from one side of the horse, I thought about how throughout history women have been thrown extra challenges, just because of our bodies and the fear they evoke in the opposite sex.  Foot binding, corsets, all the little hoops the fairer sex has been made to jump through (by men and women alike) that have only bred a stronger and more adept, versatile woman over time.  Try keeping an air bubble from rising up in the water; use your hands, use machines, whatever device the mind can think up, but the plain and simple fact is that the air will rise up to the top.  Time is on our side.

Did that just get weird?  Here, look at Greg, watching in awe as horses jump over a five foot tall oxer (two obstacles placed closely together).


Outside the fairgrounds, I turned to a tree stump for sympathy.  I'm not going to lie; I was crestfallen for the rest of the day.  It's really hard on the heart to have expectations and not meet them.

Fortunately, every day is an opportunity to be a better person then the day before, so I listen to the wise words of Aaliyah and TImbaland and motor on.

Horses? What horses?

My Memorial Day was deliciously taken with white wine and cheese-filled, prosciutto wrapped figs at the Brandywine Polo Club with a side of horse action.

My two lovely hat models accompanied me and supplied the picnic:

We had front row seats for all the action.  I'm still getting a grasp on exactly how polo works, but despite all the things I don't know, I can say with absolute certainty that it's an event I could watch for hours.  The athleticism, the pageantry, the uniforms...

My GOD the uniforms....

Unfortunately my action shots are embarrassingly low-rent, but I know someone who took about five hundred OUTSTANDING photos and her name is Amy Dragoo of akdragoophoto.com.  Please please check them out; you will not be disappointed.

I almost think she and I were the only ones watching the game!  Polo is fun like that; there is so much eye candy and great conversation, it can be hard to concentrate.  I was rewarded for my focus by seeing several truly fantastic plays, none of which were caught by my camera.  It's much, much better in person though.

At the mid-game break, the fans are invited to step onto the field and stomp the upturned bits of earth back into the ground.  It's fun to watch people accidentally jam their shoes into some fresh horse crap.

These are the fascinators I worked on for the event.  The one on the right has actually made an appearance at the club before but it complimented the ensemble better than the one I had just finished, so that one will debut at another time.  Polo matches are the perfect place to wear fantastical head-gear; not only is the the sky (literally) the limit but they act as a magnet for other fun people to strike up conversations.

Also, I think it's polite to dress up for the horses who are working so hard.

I'm hooked. You might be too...take a gander at what's available at Diamond Tooth so you can get gusied up for the next match!

See you there...


Hands Down

I've been in an equine hole the last two days, working on hats for two horse-centered events  while in front of my computer watching every episode in the two season cache of the show "Jockeys.  I can't quite seem to find words that can accurately express how much I love this show but I will try.

For anyone who may not have seen , the show is a reality series covering the lives of several jockeys during a thirty-day period known as the Oak Tree Meet at Santa Anita Park in California.

There's the couple who competes against one another:

There's the young hot-shot, Joe Talamo:


and the newbies, the old heads, the injured, the bitter, the hopeful,etc.  They're all in a different spot in their career which gives a perspective from a myriad of points.  In the first season there is heavy concentration on the new jockeys just trying to break their way in and get a chance to race.  Kayla Stra came all the way from Australia to see if she could cut it and I couldn't hold back my tears watching footage of her being turned down repeatedly by owners and trainers not willing to hire a no-name* jockey.  I can relate, as an independent artist, feeling completely hopeless and exasperated sometimes and wondering if it will ever all come together. These guys have to look failure and rejection in the face time and time again and they greet it with a smile.  There seems to be an unspoken rule that if you're not grinning, you'll be ostracised.  The horse racing word is riddled with superstition and from what I gather, a jockey who isn't positive for one second or who lets even an iota of doubt cross their mind will be seen as the racing equivalent to a broken mirror or a black cat.

How do they do it?  When people ask me how the taxidermy business is going, I try to emulate this good sport attitude even when things aren't so great.  It's no easy task trying to find your own way, especially when you encounter rejection.  I get really emotional thinking about how much these men and women inspire me with their fearlessness and drive.  More than that, it's almost impulsive: there is nothing else on earth they could possibly do with themselves.  They were born to ride horses.  I feel the same way about creating.  I don't know how to do anything else, at least not happily.  I know I'm not alone; there are so many of us out there just trying to make it.  It's hard not to blame one's self for not being where they had hoped they'd be in life, while overloooking the plain truth which is that there are too many factors at work in the universe to make success for one individual such a simple and clear-cut path. My favorite jockey, Aaron Gryder, sums up the feeling pretty well in this clip:

So we motor on, focusing on the future, hoping for that break.

And when that break comes, people respond, but they probably have no idea how many hundreds of hours were spent putting in nonpaying/underpaid work, being exploited/used and feeling terrified/uncertain of what's to come.  These jockeys risk their lives every time they get on the track, sometimes only to clear $17/race.  We all notice the ones who place, the ones who are in the money, but for each of those there are many more who walk away virtually empty-handed.

The second season is even better, exploring more controversial issues like performance enhancing drugs for horses and conflict between riders.  The whole series gears up toward the biggest race of all, the Kentucky Derby.  As someone who went to the derby and left still feeling puzzled over how the betting works and what exactly odds even are, I wish I'd seen this show before the trip.  There are one-on-ones with a professional better named Jimmy Hats who breaks down the betting system for the viewer, and a slew of nuances are covered like how greatly starting gate position affects the odds for each horse.

The only thing lacking in the series was good music. I'm not sure if it was too difficult to obtain the rights to use certain songs but the songs which were used are just awful, in my opinion.  Of course, this is coming from a gal who has Ke$ha and Nikelback in her current workout rotation...so take that with a huge grain of salt.

I just wish there was a season three.


*no-name by their own local standards, or course.


P.S: I was definitely a horse in a past life.

Release the Hounds!

But after I've unstuck my pink stilettos from the grounds, please.

The soil is quite moist from the precipitation we've been experiencing.  I aerated (free of charge!) about 80% of the green you see below:

When I wasn't feigning absolute comfort in the most impractical shoes in the entire place, I was relaxing in style under the -speaking of which -Philadelphia Style Magazine tent.

What is this event,you ask?  Why, the Radnor Hunt Steeplechase of course!  I was the very fortunate guest of my dear friends at the Brandywine Polo Club who joined forces with the Style mag to produce the most luxurious tent-mosphere I've ever had the privilege to enjoy.  The furniture, the florals, the displays, all were thoughtfully arranged and delightfully polo-philic.

These mini arrangements were scattered throughout the infield seating area.

These chaise lounges were borrowed from my future powder room:

Lush, green grass is a nice touch.

If I hadn't been wearing fishnets I would've taken the heels off and dug my feet in.

Look at the bridle bits!  My love for all things equestrian is making it hard to write.

Below is a solid gold chair crafted by hand from three generations of British royalty on loan from Will & Kate's personal collection.*

In the tailgating area the classic cars enjoyed their moment in the sun.

The theme this year was the Great American Novel.  First person to leave a comment correctly naming this story gets a taxidermy treat from me!

I'm sure this tasted just like chicken.

Old Man and the Sea, complete with Mr. Hemingway himself!

I met a lovely woman named Heather who had a daughter competing in the hat contest (thankfully there is a child's division so no "accidents" had to happen to the little dear); they invited me to this particular tailgate where, along with the Old Man, I encountered an entire roast pig!

Some friends of the Polo Club (and female players!) were hosting this tailgate, the theme being Moby Dick

Up by where we'd set up the  Polo Club table, there were some tres classy air-conditioned portopots complete with pump flush action.  This stall came with enhanced instructions.  It's hard to see the wording but some clever little scamp wrote "otherwise you might catapult shit onto the ceiling".

She may have been overestimating her strength just a tad.

Back down infield at the Phila Style tent, a handsome gentlemen stopped by with his horse to chat.  I wasn't able to catch it but his four-legged pal took out a woman's mojito in one gulp.  Can't blame the furry guy.

My new friend Claudia!  She's one of the players at the Polo Club.  I can't wait to watch her play.

More friends of the Polo Club.  I just adore how effortlessly well they all match.  Total eye candy.  Listening the Portuguese being playfully shouted back and forth didn't hurt either.  At least I think it was Portuguese.

My all too gracious host Branden Walsh,  polo-phile extraordinaire, with a beautiful mystery woman standing on a chair.  Note the flip-flops.  Very intelligent.  All the ladies seemed to know what they were doing and wore flats or wedges.

This adorable little lady wore boots.  The nicest boots I've ever seen, I might add.  She was learning how to shake hands and properly greet people when we were introduced, but her and I made a silent agreement that shaking hands is totally gauche and real ladies curtsy.  And so we curtsied to one another and if I had gotten a video of it your heart might break.

Parked next to us was a gentleman and his wife and their antique Packard.  Silly of me not to get a picture of the entire car but I certainly enjoyed posing inside of it!

That damned smirk...

Oh!  Right.  That's my ribbon for taking third place in the ladies hat contest.  While I am absolutely thrilled; I really need to work on getting a different color ribbon.  I thought the blue hair would clue the judges in on what I was aiming for...

Thanks to the Daily Local News for this lovely photo in their online coverage of the day:

Back to that Packard: I had the presence of mind to take a shot of my view from the steering wheel, seeing as I have no clue when I might get the pleasure of sitting at the driver's of one of these ever again.


Oh hello!  The owner was emphatic in telling me that my sitting in his car had added a significant amount of provenance to it.  I replied that his Packard had done likewise for my seat.  And there begins the slippery slope of dirty jokes that I'll leave up to your imagination.

Considering the world was supposed to end on Saturday, I think it's fair to say I would've gone out in style.  Speaking of which, it didn't occur to me until late in the day that every stitch of clothing/accessories I had on was from WILBUR Vintage.  I didn't even plan that; but I guess I love the shop that much.

For more pictures covering the event, please check out the photographs my new pal Juan Vidal took throughout the day.

*Bev-tale?  You decide.

Like a ________ with its head cut off.

Specifically, a pheasant.

I recently came into contact with the striking and fabulous Kiki Hughes, proprietress of Kiki Hughes Boutique in Philadelphia.  Word to the wise: click on that link and check out her store if you're near Philly.  There are some truly, truly gorgeous wardrobe pieces in there (like my ostrich feather skirt!!!) and all the clothing is merchandised in such a clever and unique fashion that you'll kind of get sucked into a time warp and forget how long you've been there ogling at the displays.

Anyway, Ms. Kiki has this lovely pheasant head hat from her personal collection which her cat made into a sacrifice one night by ripping the head clean off.  What killer instincts!

My cat Frankie, a.k.a the Diamond Tooth Studio Mascot, seems to not care less about anything feathered which makes him an ideal work buddy, provided I keep all things mousey out of his reach.  For the most part, he just wants to be near whatever I'm doing.  Example:

Upon closer inspection, this bird was more than just decapitated.  He was straight ripped.

I started by sewing binding tape over the cracks and along the edge of the head which I then reinforced with an adhesive.  This would provide a stronger  bond once the whole thing was sewn back together.

Cotton filling back into the head:

Next was the binding tape along the edge of the bottom half:

Finally it's time to sew the head onto the body.  This is where curved needles come in handy.

After the head was securely reattached, there was still the job of filling in the blank skin spots with feathers.  Fortunately I have an abundance of pheasant plumage on hand and was able to find the right shade/size.shpe to blend in with the originals.

And he's finished!  Top view:

Side view:

Other side view:

So the moral of the story is:  I do repairs.  Please feel free to contact me should an old piece of taxidermy in your collection need some new life breathed into it.

Last Ride

I recently collaborated with fellow artist and compadre Andria Morales on a performance piece titled "Last Ride".  Formerly known as Andria Biblioni, Ms. Morales wanted to mark the moment in her life where her maiden name (and previous self) ceased to exist.  We both share a fascination with death and how we as humans approach/accept it within our various cultures.   Coming from a Puerto Rican background, Andria has personal experience with the practice of posing for photographs "with " the departed at their funeral.  Being of Irish and German descent myself, there aren't any notable funeral practices I've personally experienced.  I still think the act of embalming is extremely bizarre, and dare I say...pointless?

Which is why I'm all for the outrageous viewing displays created by Marin Funeral home in Puerto Rico:

If you're going to embalm a body, why not make it interesting?

All of this led to us performing a "viewing" for Andria where we transformed the space at local venue the Rotunda to look like a funeral home.  This required some manual labor, elbow grease, and the occasional frightening ladder climb by yours truly:

I designed the ensemble and provided the taxidermy mounts scattered throughout the scene for ambience.  Here is our subject, looking positively stiff.

We got a decent crowd of friends and relatives flowing in and out to pay their respects; my favorite was dear friend Bailey Hale and Jennifer Cohen who came with the two little ones in tow.  I believe she said something about opting for the fake viewing over gymboree that day.  The tots were stoked.

Every viewing has its downtime.

The view from behind:

Another mourner:

More photos HERE.

This event was several weeks ago and this past Friday the gallery edition of "Last Ride" opened at Air Space which is where Andria currently resides as an artist in residence.  We basically recreated the Rotunda set-up with some tweaking, including substituting a mannequin for Andria, who stoically held still like a real body (with my rigging help) throughout the entire two-hour original viewing.

Now that she has ascended, Ms. Morales is currently entrenched in some other activities with artist Maya Escobar.  You can learn more by checking out their Are You My Other (self portrait dialogue exchange) project and the AMerican MEdia Output project .

Kentucky Fried Chickens

Team Diamond Tooth is back from a whirlwind tour of Louisville and the myriad of Derby-related events taking place there.

We drove through the night, leaving at 9:30 pm on Wednesday and arriving in Kentucky about 12 hours and many rest-stops later.

By sunrise we were coasting through some gorgeous country farm landscapes.  We stopped at a gas station for a fill, some coffee, and a bathroom.  The lady's room had a tub with a hose for washing the cow crap off your boots.

Just outside of Louisville, we stopped in a Starbucks to change and freshen up for our first appointment in town.  Here I am, very sleep-deprived and high on adrenaline.

We caught a celebratory cocktail at a sushi joint  just across from Seviche.  I marveled at the fish in the tank.

After Seviche we drove across the bridge into Indiana for a tasting at Bristol.  Our generous hostess then regaled us with tales of the tradition known as "Thunder over Louisville" while we enjoyed the view of the city from our vantage point.  Unfortunately we arrived after the show had taken place, but check out the video below for the action:

We checked into our room and closed out eyes a bit before getting gussied up and heading out to the Barnstable Ball.  Unfortunately we were a little early...

like 24 hours early. Rule #1: sleep is important Staying awake for 36+ hours straight can do unusual things to one's perception of time.  No worries though, we made the best of our fabulous selves and headed to a local bar on 4th street Live where my serama hat caused quite a stir. We then took a cab back to our room. Rule #2: derby rates apply in cabs during this time of year, meaning that patrons will pay about $10/mile. Your best bet is to bring a bicycle or get a room reserved early enough to secure a spot in the middle of town.

The next morning found us sampling chocolates at Gyhyslain, which isn't a bad way to start the day if you ask me.

Next we moved onto Doc Crows for a bourbon sampling where the owner was extremely generous with his time and knowledge, schooling a couple of newbies like us on the ins and outs of Kentucky bourbon.

We then hit up Kentucky Oaks for some infield action.  Meredith fully immersed herself in the experience like the good sport she is.

I hear it's ok to order your wiz wit in any native tongue you please. That's Southern hospitality for you.

Off to the Barnstable Ball, for real this time.  Here I am from my patio perch, surveying the madness on the lawn.  I'm wearing a hair comb composed of quail feathers and head.

Inside the mansion this book was on display.

I found the title an interesting juxtaposition to our surroundings.  Perhaps I should go look te book up before I go getting snarky and whatnot.

Off to the Julep Ball!  By the time we made it, the auction was over and three of my pieces had sold!

The comb went to this lovely lady.

What a great smile!  Her name was Ryan, but that's all I remember.

I then encountered these stylish women sporting my other two pieces.  They were kind enough to permit me to make adjustments.

Gorgeous!  I cannot fully express how honored I am that women with such a unique range of style find my work desirable.

Look!  My Summer beret!

I want to hang out with these gals.

Oh and by the way that's Mike Mills accompanying this lovely pair.  But I'm sure you knew that.  Unfortunately in my excitement I completely forgot both women's names which is my loss because they really strike me as potential kindred spirits.

Derby day.  It all leads up to this.  We dragged ourselves out of bed and proceeded to spackle enough makeup and clothing on as it would take to make us look human.

Or something close to human.  I think we embraced our inner 60's secretaries that day.

Mimosas will always take the edge off.

Derby rule #3: Don't even try driving to Churchill Downs.

The pink tractors belonged to Vinyard Vines, a fashion label that has truly enmeshed themselves in all things derby.  I'm a fan of the pink whale.

Here's a couple of wild and crazy gals posing in front of Secretariat.

Unfortunately I didn't win any bets that day, but it was the experience of a lifetime, and over before I knew it.  We scoffed at the advice given to us by many and left our change of comfy shoes at home.  That is why we hobbled to gate 10 that evening and caught the first pedicab we saw:

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?

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