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:



Dem Bones









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



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



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







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







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



Because it's all connected.







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











The same went for connecting the vertebrae to the skull:



















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

Foxy Lady

Well, hello.







This sassy little dandy doesn't have a name yet but he's the manifestation of what happens when I ask myself, "if my client were a fox, what would she look like?"



Another commission for Kiki Hughes, one of my fave rave patrons, I was given carte blanche basically,with this piece.  The parameters I was asked to work within were that it had to be a fox, posed luxuriously with some flair.



 







It took almost 8 months to source the right specimen while staying within the ethical boundaries I have set for myself and my practice, but I think this piece was worth the wait.  More important, my client did as well- in spades.  She was simply over the moon with joy upon finally meeting her little dandy, and looks forward to incorporating him into he shop window displays.  If you're in the Philadelphia area, by all means take a stroll down 21st street (259 21st street to be exact) and say hello to Kiki and her fox!



 



 

The Great White Pheasant

A local hunter brought a gorgeous white pheasant over a couple of months ago which he'd harvested on a hunt in Pennsylvania.  Until I held it in my hands I'd never even seen a white pheasant but I didn't let him in on that.  Not just yet, anyway.



It's a reminder to me how majestic this species of bird is though, and to think I'd never even seen one of these creatures until embarking on my journey into the world of taxidermy!  Pheasants might just be the world's most underrated birds.  A fun little anecdote:



In a land rich in symbolism and imagery, the Chinese pheasant represented light, virtue, prosperity and good fortune. Good fortune indeed came upon one hunter in Burma who noticed a precious stone in the gizzard of his recent kill. The discovery inspired him to search for the origin of this stone, and after visiting the rooster's old stomping ground, sure enough, he found an emerald mine!



 



My cursory online research tells me that white pheasants are quite uncommon in America and now I don't feel so green for not having seen one before.  To mount it was an honor; and the meat it provided my little felines nourished them quite well.



 







I set up a hanging environment of white birch and some Spanish moss, neither of which I'm guessing coexist with this breed of bird but I don't care because it compliments the pheasant, who is the star of the show.







Along with the possibly inaccurate setting, I made another executive decision to mount it with an open mouth,  as though it were calling.







There's a little rearview shot for you, to show the feet.



My client came by yesterday to pick up this piece, and I'm fairly certain he was pleased.  In my experience, hunters don't tend to emote the way my other clients do (squealing, crying, flowery heartfelt emails the next day, etc) so I just have to take their word for it when they say they like their mount.  I know I would be happy with this beauty hanging in my home.

And I'm TALON You...

Time has been skipping and speeding up quite magically over here at Diamond Tooth.  Maybe I'm not tapping into the voodoo magic of these new chicken talon charms correctly; it would be behoove me to figure out how to slow things down a bit.











Perhaps you'll have more luck.  Behold a slew of new charms; photographed yesterday, while the remaining batch continues to cure on the vine.



[caption id="attachment_1532" align="alignnone" width="1024" caption="Large talon with vintage locket"][/caption]



[caption id="attachment_1533" align="alignnone" width="1024" caption="Fully functional locket whose photo would YOU slip in?"][/caption]



[caption id="attachment_1534" align="alignnone" width="1024" caption="Large talon with original ID cuff still in tact"][/caption]



[caption id="attachment_1535" align="alignnone" width="1024" caption="Small talon with real jade stone"][/caption]



[caption id="attachment_1536" align="alignnone" width="1024" caption="Large mega-feathered talon with glass bead"][/caption]



[caption id="attachment_1537" align="alignnone" width="1024" caption="Look at those feathers!"][/caption]



[caption id="attachment_1538" align="alignnone" width="1024" caption="Medium talon with vintage pink sparkle charm."][/caption]



[caption id="attachment_1539" align="alignnone" width="1024" caption="Medium talon with antique unicorn charm"][/caption]



 



Although I have no magic training and make no claims about the voodoo potency of these charms, I'm a firm believe that teh energy I'm putting into these pieces (and all my creations for that matter) can only bring positive vibrations to the recipient.  It's the same concept as never serving food to someone when you're angry for fear of poisoning them.  Bad vibrations, man.  Just for fun:



"The chicken foot is traditionally used in Southern rootwork and "New World Voodoo" (ie, New Orleans Voodoo) for protection with an undercurrent of "scratching back" against those people, entities, or energies that would harm you."



I'm a believer.



All of these feature chains ending in a lobster claw fastener, to easily secure it to your necklace, hair doodle, rearview mirror, purse, window, etc.  If any of them strike your fancy, don't hesitate.  Your voodoo charm is waiting for YOU!

Beating the Meat.

Immersing myself in a craft that deals with death is a constant pot-stirrir, so to speak.  I got involved with taxidermy in the first place to deal with the profound sadness I felt when seeing recently perished birds lay to waste on the sidewalk, and the disrespectful way their corpses were treated.  I am compelled always to imagine myself in the place of any person or creature when faced with their situation; its my empathetic nature.  So of course when I come across a pigeon laying dead on the sidewalk while busy pedestrians brush past it or absent-mindedly nudge it into the street where it will just be  repeatedly run over for weeks until its essence is completely blended with the pavement, I imagine myself or some other person I love there, dead on the ground, being ignored until I or they decompose.



So I started with pigeons and city birds.  Then I moved onto pheasant purchased from my local butcher.  It occurred to me that I was closing the gap between "farm to table" which back then hadn't become a buzz-term yet.  I just knew that, along with being compelled to preserve these creatures, I had a nagging feeling in my gut telling me to develop a closer relationship with my food sources.  All this meant at this time was actually knowing if the chicken on my plate was even chicken.  Food was a bit of a mystery to me; I never picked up the cursory skills in the kitchen which would allow me to debone and butcher a chicken with confidence.



But it tasted so good with everything and was the perfect source of lean protein!



So I kept turning my brain off for the time being.  Then I watched "Food, Inc.".  My husband and I swore off chicken and meat, unless it was "happy meat" meaning it was organic, purchased at Whole Foods, etc.  This has kind of lasted, on and off, depending on how healthy our wallets are at the time, and then recently this nagging feeling clawed its way out of my stomach and into my frontal lobe.  I cannot ignore it any longer.



My mind has been a swirling perfect storm lately of feeling disenfranchised at the cold and painful realisation that my government is a bloated, bizarre and antiquated machine which cares not an iota for me or my family .  Commercials aren't true.  Magazines lie.  Everything I see and read about anything is some sort of visual or emotional manipulation to sell me something or just fuck with me, and you too.  The latest fiasco with the pink ammonia slime in ground meat is outrageous. Then there's the nonsense with FDA & Monsanto vs. Whole Foods.  That's two headline-hogging recent events out of the millions \ of atrocious and irresponsible things going on behind the scenes with food distribution in the last twenty years.



And I'm not going to point fingers and say that there's a bad guy because it's so much larger than that.  I don't think "the man" wants me and you and everyone we know to eat poison and die.  I just think the human race exploded like a popped kernel of corn and our population, along with its needs, have grown faster than the machine can keep up with.  There are too many people to feed in the fashion the last couple generations have come to expect, and the only way mega purveyors have come up with to supply the demand is to prioritize quantity.  They've lost sight of what nourishment really is, along with most of us.  A steak is something that should be treated gloriously; it can be a warm, sensual, savory experience which, when obtained and consumed properly can nourish one's entire being.  A grace should be said, not necessarily to any god but to the actual cow whose life was taken to make this meat, and the workers at the slaughterhouse who do all the dirty things we can't bear to think of when we buy our nice precut, seran-wrapped goodies at the market.







That's what eating a steak should be like.  But what its become is an anonymous substance which the general population happily shovels into their mouths with nary a thought of where it came from or what's in it.  This fact was grossly illuminated for me as I worked a gig on a cruise ship recently while reading Georgia Pellegrini's "Girl Hunter" in my downtime.  Absorbing her experiences of working in the food industry and deciding to make a change and source her own meat herself, against the backdrop of thousands of folks absent-mindedly shuffling down the buffet line three times a day piling their trays high with mystery meat was a surreal experience.







Surreal enough, in fact, to finally push me over the line and ban meat from my diet.  I don't really consume much to begin with except when I go out to eat so it's not a huge change.  And it's not that I don't like meat.  I love the chemicals my brain releases when I bite into a wild boar taco or a juicy dripping burger.  It's carnal, its sexy, and it's nourishment.  But for the moment, until I can construct a way to be more responsible and involved in the steps taken to land this meat on my plate, I am staging my own personal protest against it.  The exception to this, of course, is pheasants or rabbits I purchase from my trusted and ethical local butcher whom I know sources his animals properly, or any game meat from a hunter I trust.



And this is where my craft/career comes into play.  As taxidermy gains more traction in this country as an art form, a byproduct is cheaply manufactured fur and feather products ( feather hair extensions, anyone?) available at any discount beauty supply store in any metropolis.  There is an exploding demand for this stuff and folks who see dollar signs are too concerned with obtaining their stock to care about just how much of it they're slaughtering and what conditions said stock is living in before getting dispatched.



My career has been making a slow and steady ascent up into the success stratosphere and as I continue to make my way and become more renowned for my calling, I feel the need to distinguish myself as an ethical and humane taxidermist.   I'm constantly testing my moral waters and trying to figure out what my comfort level is, and it changes all the time.  I mounted a fox that was sourced using traps and I'm not proud of it ( I also attempted to make a meal out of this fox so no part of it would be wasted) .  At the time I thought it was OK to use the newer more humane technology but now I just don't feel informed enough to make that call.  I would need to be the person collecting the animal from the trap to see just how it feels to look this creature in the eye, to see it die.



Ms. Pellegrini touches on this throughout her book; the electrifying moment when she would "look her meat in the eye" before she killed it.  And this is my point: I really am not trying to say that there is any right or wrong.  I'd like to eliminate the black and white notion of good vs bad in my mind altogether.  What I do want for myself, and for you and everyone you love, is to be aware.  Think.  Just think the next time you sink your teeth into that chicken sandwich, about the bird and where it came from.  Was it genetically modified to have such large breasts it couldn't walk?  Does the burger pattie on your grill contain more pharmaceuticals than any of us might consume in a lifetime?  If this is OK, fine, eat it.  Just know.  I think if we all took a little more time to connect with where our food comes from, the results would be resoundingly positive.



Am I claiming innocence and superiority?  Far from it.  I have NO ROOM to judge anyone and no intention to do so.  I still eat my daily helping of yogurt and cottage cheese from cows I've never met.  I put the little bit of faith I have left into the "organic" label on the container and hope that these cows aren't a bunch of sad girls hooked up to a maze of tubes all day.  I consume an insane amount of canned tuna and how do I know that just because I bought it at an organic shop it wasn't sourced by unethical fishermen dropping anchor too close to some tiny pacific island, thus "stealing" all the fish form the locals who depend on that food source?



I eat fruit that has never (and will never -well, a heated planet could bring lemon trees to Philadelphia...) grown anywhere near my home and has to be sprayed with chemicals to preserve it for the journey across the country to my local grocer, and who knows how many low wage workers are exposed to these chemicals in the process.  I still work jobs that require me to get on a plane that chokes birds with fumes when they're not being chased off their natural migratory path by airport employees trying to prevent them from being sucked into jet engines.  I wear leather boots.  I'm still bewildered by (yet always thankful for) the phenomenon of indoor plumbing and probably use more water than I should.  I am dependent on contact lenses that come from who knows where and the chemicals that go with them which I am sure have been tested on animals.



It's overwhelming to think of all the ways in which my lifestyle is harmful to animals, but I have chosen not to be bogged down with guilt.  Instead I am making each decision with thought and care, constantly thanking each and every animal or human who sacrificed to bring me the luxuries I've come to expect in my life, like my iPhone and a decent Manhattan.  Because it's only where and to whom I was born that separates me from them.  And we're all connected. I truly believe this with every fiber of my being.



This is a lengthy post and if you are still with me, I thank you. Hopefully something in here struck a chord with you and I invite you to comment on it.  Please.  If you agree or think I'm way off base, please let me know.  Discussion can only bring more awareness and I can always use more of that.



xoxo



Beth Beverly

Paws down, the best charm in town.

I recently was contacted by a lovely gal in Alberta, Canada about a custom rabbit's foot charm.  While I have been thinking about making these for over a year now (it seems so obvious), it took this request to get the ball rolling.  Now I'm excited to get more into production as they can be carried for good luck or hung from key chain, necklace, anything to be touched or held in times of stress, with the pleasant knowledge that every part of this creature was used.







While working on this piece, I did some light research (read: plugged the term "rabbit foot charm" into a search engine) and found out that the rabbit's foot served as a talisman way back in 600 BC when the Celts carried them as good luck charms.  There are specifications as to just what can count as a good luck amulet (according to Wikipedia):



  • First, not any foot from a rabbit will do: it is the left hind foot of a rabbit that is useful as a charm.


  • Second, not any left hind foot of a rabbit will do; the rabbit must have been shot or otherwise captured in a cemetery.


  • Third, at least according to some sources, not any left hind foot of a rabbit shot in a cemetery will do: the phase of the moon is also important. Some authorities say that the rabbit must be taken in the full moon, while others hold instead that the rabbit must be taken in the new moon. Some sources say instead that the rabbit must be taken on a Friday, or a rainy Friday, or Friday the 13th. Some sources say that the rabbit should be shot with a silver bullet, while others say that the foot must be cut off while the rabbit is still alive.




There is also the belief that rabbits are shape-shifting creatures which are actually witches.  So a rabbit's foot sourced under the conditions described above is actually the foot of a witch.



SO COOL!



Here is an absolutely gorgeous example of an old timey Victorian Rabbit's foot charm:



http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/12/Rabbitsfoot.jpg



(Brilliant!)



 



While the foot I used is actually the front left foot of a rabbit that I'm betting was not shot in a cemetery, I believe  in taking the old rituals/lore and infusing them with new energy.  All my work is saturated with thought and emotion; I like to think that I'm filling each piece with positive energy which will then benefit whomever receives it.  And I actually admire witches so I hope this rabbit wasn't a shape-shifting lady...or else I fed her to my cats!  Trippy thought, cats eating witches.







 



 



 



 

In and Out

Hi there,



I've been scarce lately, both on my blog and in real life.  Not much time to explain but I'm getting on another plane in a couple hours, just wanted to touch base and let all ten of you know I'm still here.  I've got a super fun show coming up, plus many many other projects so stay tuned.  I'll be in LA for a couple days and then on another ship.  If you're into twitter, please follow me- it's not always taxidermy related but worth your eyeballs: Beth Beverly on Twitter



This I swear.







 



Coming soon: Many, many more talon charms, rabbit feet, a pirate bunny, a white pheasant, a blue wing Teal, 2012 bridal pieces, three Misfits-themed chicken head-dresses, two foxes and a partridge in a pear tree!



xoxo



BB

The Year of the Cat









 



Well, it almost took a year. It was a hot Summer day, I believe, when S, my client (not sure if she's want her name used here so I'll just stick to a one letter initial) called me and requested I pick up her recently departed best feline friend.   Someday when I have more articulate thoughts running through my mind I'll delve into all the emotional trappings of pet taxidermy, but for now I'll keep it brief.  It's awkward and sad, picking up the deceased member of a family.  I feel clumsy and don't know what to do with my hands.  I feel guilty if I find something funny.  It's a kind of turmoil, and the only thing that helps me through it is admitting that I feel awkward and weird and moving on from there.  I feel like I'm connecting with people whom I've barely known on a level so deep and raw that it's like hitting a nerve out of nowhere.



But I do know S.  I've been getting to know her. She's a delightfully sensitive and wonderful being, with what I suspect is a morbid sense of humor but I haven't seen it quite yet.



Anyway, meet her cat:







Poor baby was sick for a while and had received some kind of shot or treatment, hence the shaved arms.  Aside from that she was a beautiful specimen.  It took me forever to get the form down; it was basically hand sculpted over the entire period of time.  I refrained from too much embellishment as I knew S might want to add her own personal touches.  For no particular reason I incorporated a crystal ball for her to lean on, as though she were showing S the future from the other side.







 



I want to hear purring when I look at this photo.  Lets not ever forget how magical cats are.







I figured a pillow would be a suitable base, as she is a regal creature.  And I guess that's it.  I'm tired and need to be on a plane in a few hours.  More on this shortly, when I have my wits about me.



Sneaky Peeks

Just a few shots of whats brewing at Diamond Tooth: All these claws are future talon charms and should be available for sale shortly.  Say I love you for Valentine's day while flipping Hallmark the bird.



[caption id="attachment_1487" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="chicken claw with vintage amethyst charm"][/caption]



 



 



[caption id="attachment_1488" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="chicken claw with unicorn charm"][/caption]



 



 



[caption id="attachment_1489" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="XXL chicken claw with genuine lead crystal charm"][/caption]



 



 



[caption id="attachment_1490" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="XXL mutant chicken claw"][/caption]



 



 



[caption id="attachment_1491" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="future headpiece for future show in future city..."][/caption]



 



There are plenty more of these on deck, and I will be professionally shooting them in a few days to load on my etsy site.



XOXOBB

DIRTY BIRDS









I searched for a song about "dirty birds" prior to writing this and I discovered that there is not only a song by that name, but a dance to go with it!  OH, Atlanta, you slay me.  I got a kick out of the video; there are some hilarious background folk featured throughout.



Anyway, the video and that brief preamble are to serve as a slight buffer between you and the visual content of this post, as it's a little dirty.  I figured I've got enough street cred as a taxidermist to have earned your trust, so I feel OK writing about the less glamorous aspects of this craft that make so many people queasy.  If you cannot stand the site of flesh or bone, then please abort now.  But if you're feeling brave, take my hand baby birds, I'll feed your head for a minute.



I had two hunters drop off birds last week.  One was what I  initially identified as a female Bufflehead but upon closer inspection actually turned out to be a female Blue Wing Teal.  The other bird was a white pheasant.



Two gorgeous specimen, although you wouldn't know that from the insides of them.



Let's start with the duck.  Ducks are notoriously fatty.  There is an odor to them that tends to hang on for a few weeks even after they're tanned, dried and mounted.  I have no qualms with the odor, but the fattyness can get quite tiresome.  You see, I don't yet possess a fleshing wheel, so I have to cut all the fat off by hand.  Being someone who actually finds solace in mundane repetitive tasks, I usually don't mind this but I've been pushing my poor paws to the limit lately and there is a soreness creeping in that only people who work with their hands could begin to understand.



Whining aside, I do like trimming fat.  I marvel at it.  I mean, this is what flavor comes from.  But my first instinct is to recoil in disgust if it gets all over my hands or my face.  Why is it gross to touch this substance that is so completely universal-I have it, you have it, all your dogs and cats have it, trust me they do- and it's the common denominator of all things delicious?  This fat is the real deal.  It's not oleo or some bogus hydro corn science project, its bona fide, warmth providing, lifesaving fat. I am getting better at embracing the stuff however; it doesn't hurt that after handling it I've got smooth Palmolive hands for hours, even after scrubbing with soap!



[caption id="attachment_1467" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="Official degreasing diagram"][/caption]



As you can see from my very official chart above, duck skin is tricky. It's simple to see where trimming needs to be done, but the actual skin is like a thin film of tissue paper underneath all that fat.  It's extremely easy to cut too far and make "duck doilies".  Needless to say, I'll have quite a bit of sewing to do on this skin before I mount it.



The spoils of duck lipo:



[caption id="attachment_1468" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="Foster THIS"][/caption]



After that, its into the tanning solution and a quick rinse.  Whenever I pull birds out of the water, I'm just a tad dubious that I'll be able to turn such a sad looking rag into something as beautiful as its original form, but it always works out.







Onto the pheasant.  As is often the case with game foul, this guy was just riddled with bird shot. Both legs were all but shattered.



.



Lots of holes:



[caption id="attachment_1473" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="B, B, B, B, BULLET HOLES!"][/caption]



It's not just a matter of holes but picking the shot out of the flesh, since I feed these birds to my animals and I don't want my little babies choking on lead.  The feathers kind of clump together around the shot, some still with quills in the skin, some buried in the meat.  It's not unlike pulling weeds:



[caption id="attachment_1474" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="one..."][/caption]



[caption id="attachment_1475" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="two..."][/caption]



[caption id="attachment_1476" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="three..."][/caption]



[caption id="attachment_1477" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="four..."][/caption]



[caption id="attachment_1479" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="and PULL!"][/caption]



Here's one leg.  The bone was totally broken, which can be hazardous for little taxidermist fingers working flesh off of them.  I have the scrapes to prove it.  The other leg was completely obliterated.  This means more work down the line when it comes time to mount, but this all comes with the territory.







Post bath, also looking like a wet rag, albeit one covered in beautiful feathers.







Like I said, I use this meat to feed my cats.  If a hunter just wants a trophy mount and doesn't care to eat what he catches, I will gladly play vulture and use whatever meat I can for my four-legged brood at home.  Obviously this applies to game and not roadkill.  In this case, I cut off what I could and placed it all in the crock pot with some chicken stock.  A few hours in there and presto!  Warm cozy Sunday dinner was served to my little ones:







And that's the word, Bird.

Pigeon Holed





Early in December I was contacted by Allison Feldish in regard to a show she was curating at Extra Extra Gallery in Philadelphia with International artist Abbas Akhavan, among others.  A brief description of the show, called "So Far, So Good", from the Extra Extra website:



Extra Extra presents SO FAR SO GOOD, an exhibition of work examining the elements of uncertainty brought forth by recent social, political and environmental upheaval worldwide. Addressing concerns from global economics and capitalism, to political violence and surveillance, the conversation between the artists is presented on a platform of poetic inquiry and investigation. Each was selected to acknowledge the feelings of uneasiness, absurdity, hopefulness, despair, humor, paranoia, and earnest defiance that pervades our present day experience. The work and artists represented are not necessarily providing concrete answers, but asking questions and presenting choices.



Abbas, a multi-talented artist who also dabbles in taxidermy, has a mounted messenger pigeon piece which is integral to his contribution to the show.  When attempting to navigate the red tape involved with shipping a piece of art such as this over international borders (Abbas currently resides in Canada), the artist and curator came to the conclusion that the papers, fees, etc, required to make this happen would exceed the cost of simply paying a local taxidermist to alter an already existing pigeon form, which you see above.  Below is the pigeon mounted by Abbas:







Pretty great job, I say.  Again, here is the pigeon I was to transform into the one mounted by Abbas:







The main difference between the two birds is the angle of the neck and head.  Also of note would be the eyes, which are black glass bulbs on the one I received but closed and detailed on the original.  Thirdly, I would have to reposition the feet.



Clearly I had my work cut out for me.



I began by wetting the areas in question to make them a wee bit more malleable.  Once I'd worked out the exact spot and angle of the cut, I went ahead.







This had better work.

Diamond Tooth Taxidermy


I needed to not only replace the head so it was arched back, but also turned to the side.  This proved more difficult than I'd anticipated, but I ploughed ahead.  Here it is, most of the way back on.  At this point I'd also began to rework the eyes.







The feathers were understandably a bit ruffled and confused as to where they were to lay after being turned about like that, so I let the whole thing dry with a compression sock on for 30 hours.  After that I inserted and glued, one by one, teeny feathers from the portion of neck I'd removed into any areas that needed filling.







I added more "skin" to make up the eyelids, after painting the pupils on, and voila:







Oh yes, and I repositioned the legs, which gave me a bit of grief but I showed them no mercy.







The show opened last Friday and is up until the 12th of February.  While I didn't make the opening and have yet to see the dupe in action, I intend to go this weekend and check it out.  I invite you to do the same, should you be in the Philly area!

Getting out of the Rut.

A week or so ago, a local hunter contacted me via my Yelp page (speaking of which, why don't you stop over there and leave some feedback about my services, guys and gals?  I'd really appreciate it) in search of some professional help with a European deer skull mount he was just about finished working on when the antlers plumb dropped off.    Apparently , the buck was just coming out of rut when he harvested it, and somewhere in the skull cleaning process the antlers decided to fly the coop.



Full disclosure:  I am not certain that I am using the term "rut" correctly; conversations with hunters and the internet tell me it refers to the period of time when a buck is on the prowl; he beefs up (this much I know from seeing the thick mountains of line-backer neck muscle on trophy mounts caught mid-rut) and makes a lot of noise and fights and all the carnal things that go along with finding a mate.  I think the word rut can also refer to when their antlers fall out, which happens every year around late Autumn to early Winter, depending on climate and location.  If I am speaking out of term, please let me know in the comments section.  Perhaps, I could incorporate some posts from guest bloggers, as I've always been interested in hunting but remain outrageously uninformed.  Rest assured, potential clients, my ignorance should inspire confidence in my work!  It serves you well to hire a taxidermist who doesn't spend all her time in a tree stand when she should be working on your trophy mount.



All that said, here is the almost European mount, in three pieces.  The orange you see at the root of one antler is glue residue from a prior attempt to re-attach them, which proved unsuccessful.







Skulls are so beautiful.  Treat yourself and take a moment to marvel at how amazing this feature of our anatomy is.







The bottom of the antler.  The english-muffin-like texture of the break points makes sense; it facilitates the release of the horns instead of them just falling out with roots like some bloody teeth.







 



I drilled holes at all four connection point and inserted a steel bracing rod into each of the two on the skull.  After securing with epoxy, I shimmied the antlers onto the bracing rods, forming a perfect union.







It took some measuring and finesse to ensure that the antlers would "land" in the correct placement in relation to the skull, on top of that, I made pencil notches along the outside which would line up when everything was in place.







Now that the mount was back in one pice, I had to address the rough transition point between horn and skull.







I used some top secret taxidermist sculpting clay to create a transition surface and blended it all together.  While it dried I applied texture to match the natural surface of that particular part of the skull.







After it was set and dried, I painted the clay to further blend it all together.  Here is the finished product.  Unfortunately  the fuller picture I took came out blurry but this gives you an idea.  And the customer was satisfied which is all that matters in my book.







 



Happy hunting (what's left of it)!



 

Twenty for Twenty #7: Cherie Lily

Behold the goddess known as Cherie Lily.  I have been an admirer of hers since I first met her, briefly, in the ladies room of some bar in Austin during South by Southwest, 2010.  (Which, technically should make her ineligible for this project since it's about folks I've never met but nobody cares so there).  She was wearing a spandex get-up not unlike the one you see pictured below, and washing her hands. I walked in with my friend and exclaimed, "Great outfit!  You look awesome!", to which she replied, "Hey thanks, I'm performing upstairs if you're interested!", and I was too embarrassed to tell her I had no money to see any ticketed shows; I was only there to catch the free performances on the outskirts of the SXSW event...so I just peed and left it at that.







Cut to two days later when my friends and I went to see the free GWAR show, and among the day long line-up of performers, there she was!  Cherie Lily, onstage with Andrew WK, aerobic dancing and looking like a neon spandex glamour queen.  In between songs, the audience was treated to multiple aural doses of positivity, feeling good, loving yourself, and being beautiful no matter what anyone says.



Does that sound hokey?



Well then go fuck yourself.



Sorry, harsh.  What I mean is, if that sounds hokey it's probably because self-acception/celebration is an unfamilliar concept to you.  And that is sad.  Forget what your family/acquaintances tell you and embrace your body, your dreams, all of it.



YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.



This attitude in mind, I started with a felt hat from a vintage collection I received as a gift from a friend (more about that in the future), a bright kelly green one because of the strength represented in that hue.  It had some wear and tear; I re-pressed it ad gave it a new shape, but some of the small pock marks couldn't be erased.  That's ok, I thought, they're the small imperfections which document a full life lived.



I placed the taxidermy accent pieces under a studded flap on the side of the hat; chicken feathers, red squirrel tail, dyed deer tail, and some blue dyed feathers which I acquired with another vintage hat. When worn, this would be the straight-on view:







It's on the small side, meaning that it's more like a fascinator since it won't fit snugly on the head; it will need to be set in place with combs or a hair pin.  I sewed two combs on the inside, envisioning her pulling it back over her thick hair and it resting in place.  But, this is an unsolicited gift for a woman I can't even say I know, so all I can do is touch wood and hope it works out on her head.  I did get a thank you email from her this morning, all full of kind and gracious words, but I can't help but wonder if maybe it didn't fit well enough.  Alas, she said she can't wait to wear it so I'll eagerly await any possible sighting of her in this little ditty.







Finally, as a detail, I incorporated an old wrestling pin I rescued from the trash heap in my brother's room.  The ten year old in me can't help but chuckle at the homoerotic-ness of these two spandex clad men in such an embrace, and I thought, as a gay icon, she would appreciate it.



As a gay man with lady parts, I know I can.







Let me know if you see her wearing it, New Yorkers!



And thanks Cherie Lily, for inspiring self-confidence in little freaks like me who never felt they could possibly fit into any of the factory modeled forms provided.

Admiral Batzaar









Mounted bat, original skull cleaned and in tact, fully decorated from his countless battles in the skies of New Jersey.







He's a hero.







And that's that.

Twenty4Twenty #5 & #6: Duncan Trussell and Natasha Leggero

Friday night I made an impromptu trip up to NYC to see two of my favorite comedians in the whole world perform.  I found out about Duncan Trussell via the Joe Rogan Podcast which led me to the Lavender Hour podcast where I learned about the amazing Natasha Leggero.  I get all of my outside world info through podcasts; its impressive how much of the medium I take in every week.  Anyway, Lavender Hour IMMEDIATELY  became my number one audio obsession.  Usually when I discover a new podcast, there are a few month's worth of backlog for me to indulge myself with but I caught the Lavender Hour just a couple weeks into its existence, leaving me refreshing my podcast tab on iTunes every day like a slobbering maniac.



It's that good.



Sure, the quality and sound levels were awful.  AWFUL.  They still leave something to be desired.  But who the fuck cares, the gems, the pearls just dripping from the mouths of these two are so rich with depth, humor and wit that I'd even listen to one of them chew food into the mic just to hear what they have to say.  Please, listen for yourself.  My little words can barely do it justice.  I recommend Air France Man as an excellent Lavender Hour cherry popper.



Needless to say, these two have been on my Twenty4Twenty list since the start.  I've tweeted at them, sent Facebook messages, emailed them via their respective sites, and gotten nothing.  I mean, they're kind of famous.  Which means they're kind of busy.  Busy with all the shit that goes along with being a personality, whatever that may be.  I hope someday I know it.  Intimately.



So when my gal pal Carmen suggested we take a little jaunt up to see them perform at Carolines comedy club, I was ecstatic.  Duh.  Of course we'll meet them after the show and I can hand them their Twenty4Twenty gifts in person.  But would it be creepy?  Eh.  And was there time?  I figured I would just whip something up for them and then feel it out.



First up: a hair ornament for Natasha.  Looking at it now, I cringe.  I had no time.  I made it so fast, and it doesn't reflect my true skill level/ attention to detail. But it's still pretty cool.  I used a hand carved bone comb dyed red, and embellished it with THREE taxidermied bird wings.  Plus diamonds.  Lots of diamonds, as a nod to her material.  The added feathers are from pheasant and guinea.







I just can't help but wish I had more time.  And more knowledge.  Judging from her photos, I guessed that she had a full head of thick, luxurious hair.  I mean, shes undeniably gorgeous:







And a girl after my own heart, judging by that outfit.







So that's Natasha's comb.  I was going to make Duncan a set of cufflinks, based on a rant he went on recently (on the podcast, obviously) about making an effort to dress well more often as a protest of the general American Malaise in regard to fashion.  But last-minute (thanks Jim!) I went in a different direction and made him a personal rooster claw voodoo charm, which I embellished with vintage gems.











SO.  We chanted our way through the Lincoln Tunnel Friday night traffic and made it to the venue just as the MC was starting the show.  We were seated practically on the fucking stage and I was sweating bullets.  It's a strange feeling, seeing someone you've been a fan of for so long in person, on stage, performing.  I get nervous for them.  Please don't fuck up.  Don't let me down.  Live up to my impossible expectations.



And they did.  Both sets were great, all great, great, great, great.  We filed out after the show and saw Duncan and Natasha out in the lobby but I had to pee so bad that we couldn't say hi right away.  Plus I had to check my look.  I'd been laughing so hard for so long that my lipstick surely had run.   OK.  Here we go.



Why is such a big deal to meet people you admire?  I'm really interested in this fan/star dynamic.  I mean, they both are clearly people I can relate to and seem as intelligent/creative/ kind as my friends.  But because they're in this industry which exposes them to so many people, they've acquired this kind of mythic status which separates them from me.  From us.  It's like a grander scale of wanting to be in the orbit as the cool girls in high school, except the people I choose to admire as an adult are way, way, cooler.



But I'm cool too.  I'm extremely cool.  So why do I turn into a googly-eyed fan girl in the presence of these folks?  Worth exploring, I suppose.  I just hope they're flattered.  And that they remember the two Purple Popes who came all the way up from Philly to see them work their magic.



We were so enthralled after it all that we couldn't resist doing a turn in times square:







 







 



You're gonna make it after all, indeed.

Oh this? That's just a big black cock on my head.

[googlevideo=http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3099526434105125496]



"Oh 'ello there.  Welcome to me humble home.  Care for a spot of tea?  Jeeves!  Put a pot on for these lovely readers and make it snappy! *snaps feathers*  In the meantime, entertain yourselves with the above video  and accompanying photos plus the story of, well, MOI."







I see you've met Mr. Moon.  He's a sassy old boy, isn't he?  He did great last Friday at the Bellhouse where I submitted him as my entry for the 6th annual Carnivorous Nights Competition, hosted by M.A.R.T. and the Secret Science Club.  While I have no photos of my presentation, I was wearing a black floor length ball gown from 1940 and my black rooster head-piece, along with some mink-tail arm cuffs for good measure.  To provide a vague visual:







*photo compliments of Milica Schiavio







*photo compliments of Beth Tusso



That's the lovely and endlessly talented Daisy Tainton seated next to me.  I think our hairs make a pretty picture, yes? Her entry was an animatronic cat which played Michael Jackson's "Thriller" from its asshole.



Oh look!  Found one:







*compliments od the Good Days blog.



But I digress.  Back to Mr. Moon, who began his first stage of life as an extremely rare breed of chicken known as a Silkied Ameraucana.  They began as a spontaneous genetic mutation resulting in these darling birds with fur-like feathers.  There are only thirty or so of them in the country; if you'd like to learn more about the species, please see this lengthy conversation between breeders which documents their discovery.







While I was working on this mount, I was deep into a very thick biography of drummer Keith Moon.  As the drummer for a band called the Beachcombers and later on The Who, he turned the traditional role of percussion on its head.  Before he came along, a drummer's role was to set up a steady foundation upon which the singer and guitarist could shine.  Not content to be the audio version of wallpaper, Keith made himself into a frontman, a total fucking rock star in fact.  He had the largest, most outrageous drum kit in the world and just beat the thing to death every night onstage. He broke the mold, not unlike this new species of chicken.







The downside to this breed is that they are short-lived.  Something about their silky feathers (which make them so remarkable in the first place) not holding enough body heat to sustain them.  Again, I drew parallels to Keith Moon and other famous young artists who perish so early in their lives: they are like these furiously burning comets just hurtling through life, bound to burn to death.  What makes them so outstanding can also be their demise.







Since Mr. Moon was developing into a rock star rooster, I found it only fitting that he be completely embellished with genuine Swarovski crystals on his face and feet.  And for some reason the bob cat glass eyes seemed fitting.











Anyway, while it's tragic that these inexplicably magnetic beings expire so early in their lives, it shouldn't go unsaid that while they are burning away, they are also lighting up the lives of anyone in their orbit.







So why not give Mr. Moon a second life as the most beautiful fiber-optic taxidermy lamp that ever existed?  After all, the driving thrust behind my passion for this craft is the idea that I'm giving these wonderful creatures an eternal life, so to speak.  Why not let him keep lighting up the lives of all whom he meets?







This was no easy task for me, as I'd never made a lamp before.  It took some time, but I figured out how rig a bird form with hundreds of fiber optic threads, all emerging from several points, and then painstakingly taxied the skin onto the whole mess.  There was much fenageling, but eventually I got the threads to sit just where I wanted them to.  After trimming them all to the right lengths, I found a light source that was bright enough to make an impact after traveling through the cables but not so hot that it would melt them.  Next up was finding the lamp/stand.  I sourced an oldie from a second-hand shop nearby, rewired the whole thing (I'm a junior electrician now too!) and covered the glass panels in a patterned white brocade to mute the light.  And, tada!







Good evening to you as well, Mr. Moon.



That was, give or take a few words, my entire presentation.  I knocked it out of the park. I absolutely love being able to flex my showmanship muscles while flaunting something I'm so very proud of.  I get such a rush from being on stage/performing, I can feel it all night.  I guess I want to be a star too, kind of like Mr. Moon.



There were some other amazing pieces, I havent been able to find too much coverage online, but one young woman brought an entire beautifully mounted coyote named "Winnie" which would've taken a  ribbon at any conventional taxidermy competition, no doubt.  There was Nate Hill, ( known for his squirm-inducing Chinatown garbage taxidermy tours) tipping the gross-out scales with a live specimen tree-trimming presentation.  There was an insect trapped in a chunk of amber that somehow still moved. The two-headed mouse with a top hat.  I also missed several presentations while waiting backstage to go up but fortunately for you (and myself) this was all being filmed by a television crew.  Not really sure what I am allowed to say without stepping on anyone's dicks so I'll just leave it at that and then post more when the show airs.



There was also a large dog with a monkey on its back and a whole smattering of other artifacts, as well as a mounted fox, also sporting a monkey on its back which was wielding a bottle opener.  Why?  Because the mount was concealing a beer cooler.  But if you're like me and hate the brew, fret not.  The thing pissed whiskey too.  (note to self: booze + taxidermy= crowd going apeshit). For photos of all the entries and a wrap up from a guest perspective, check out this Good Days blog by Sir Snuggles.



So who won?  The pissing fox took Grand Master and the dog placed second, no shock there.  I came in third which is still pretty rad.  The competition was fierce and people really stepped up their game.  I'll just come back next year with an even more outstanding piece.  Competitions are good for that; unlike client custom work, I really push myself to go out on a ledge and venture out of my comfort zone, skill-wise.  I take risks, both conceptually and physically with the actual mount and pour my heart into it.  I'm also extremely competitive and I hate losing.  So long as I keep it in check, that can be a healthy driving force behind my growth as an artist.



I was at a complete loss of words while accepting my trophy, and muttered something like "feels like home" which I'm sure made no sense at all.  What I was trying to convey is that, in the presence of the judges (whom I hold in the highest esteem), and my fellow taxidermy enthusiasts, I feel like I'm really home.  It's a unique feeling and I took a mental snapshot so I could hold onto it for when I get lonely in my little studio in south Philly.



We were ushered backstage to pose with our trophies for photos, and with the three of us left standing there after it all was over, I began to sense I was the third wheel in a bromantical masturbatory fest so I excused myself (not to one in particular as I was apparently invisible) and packed up my bird, extension cord, etc.  When I emerged from backstage the entire show room was cleaned out, chairs folded, floor swept.  I heaved a giant sigh.



The spell was broken.



Back to life.



In this instance, that means getting right back on the saddle for another quick jaunt up to NYC to knock out two of my Twenty4Twenty projects in one night.  Stay tuned!

Arrrrrt Starrrr Craft Bazaarrrrrrrr

I've come up for air after the Art Star Holiday Craft Bazaar, if only for a moment.  The weekend was a success and I feel pretty good about how my first time at the rodeo went.  It didn't hurt to pair up with Art Star veteren Maria Eife wh also has an international show plus the Martha Stewart Holiday Craft Show under her belt.



I presented (and sold!)  an assortment of combs, pins, picks, joined earrings, hats, and talon charms.  Below is a smattering of the pieces I've been toiling away in my ivory tower creating:



A chicken feather hair pin with vintage jewelry elements,







More chicken feathers with more vintage jewelry,







And look!  An equestrian flair!  I finally got around to creating those horse shoe themed pieces I promised my polo buddies so many months ago!  Perhaps this Summer I'll actually follow through and sell some at the Friday Night matches...







Some of the combs were feather based while otehrs were built around entire taxidermied wings.  Below is an in betweener, comprised of the taxidermied tail of a chicken.







Oh look!  A frizzle chicken wing!  Perhaps now would be a good time to let you know that 90% of my feathered elements come from my dear friends Bailey and Thomas.  They are quite possible the sweetest, kindest and most compassionate farmers this world may ever know.  Yes, My opinion is totally biased.  They keep an outstanding blog in which they document their adventures in farming, please give it a read: The Farmers Husband.







Another winged comb.  I would also like to give a shout out to my dear friend Daniel who owns Wilbur Vintage for letting me purchase his odds and ends of vintage gems.







For those who choose not to sport a long mane, fret not!  Stick pins are always within reach.  Pop one into your hat, your lapel, blouse, sweater, bag, etc.







This one belwo didn't sell, much to my surprise.  Instead, it and one cimilar to it are en route to a faraway city as I write this, where it will make Christmas gifts for a pair of very special friends.







The gang!  (some of them, anyway)







I also made a trial run of these fur bangles with tails for the show.  People responded quite positively so I intend to tweek the design a bit and create a series.







Perfect for gesticulating wildly at cocktail parties...







I also created three new higher end head pieces for the show, as my little neon signs to lure in passers by.  They absolutley did the trick, and had many a lady tryign them on.



Right here is a vintage rabbit fur pillbox hat to which I added a chicken tail, with feathers from other birds.







Here's a view of the side.  Can you guess what that super fluffy soft yellow plush is?







It's gosling!  Compliments of another farmer friend of mine, Jeannie. I sewed another patch on the opposite side:







Next up: A vintage velvet fascinator base with a pair of chicken wings on one side and down on the other:







It's hard to see form these photos (all of these hats need to be reshot on a model's head, but I also added a small metal crown jewel charm to each side; a reference to my new logo, which you'll see below.







Laslty, my fave piece of all, this vintage black felt hat base with chicken wings, vintage jewelry adn a tassel made by yours truly.  I have a thing for fringe and tassels, and I think you do too:







That's actually the side view.  Below is the hat, straight on.  The curved shape frames the wearer's face beautifully.  I just adore this hat.







On Friday night my husband came and got a few shots of our booth.  Here it is, our gypsy caravan in all its glory:







My "side" of the booth:







Like that fox? I worked with the very talented designer Dave Seater to create it and a more cohesive look for all my online presences, which you will be seeing soon.  He's the best.  The fox with the crown was entirely my idea though; I think it really embodies the Diamond Tooth philosophy.







Here I am making a sale!  Yippee!  Like I said, I feel pretty good about how I did this weekend, as a greenhorn.  I visited with Sue Eggen at her booth, Giant Dwarf where she not only promised to play hat model for my next set of shots but also to toss some much needed (my words, not hers) pearls of wisdom my way in regard to navigating through this wild and wacky craft show life.  Sue, I'm holding you to both these things!







And that is all for the craft bazaar, now its time to work on my entry for this year's Carniverous Nights competition.  If you plan on coming, buy your tickets now!  ALso coming up: A cat, a fox, a hamster, a rabbit, more bridal pieces and the next 20for20 gift which is going to a mystery man that some of you may have dressed as for Halloween as children...

Twenty for Twenty, # 4: Georgia Pellegrini

When I first heard of the mythical creature called Georgia Pellegrini, I thought "NO WAY."  It was as if someone took all the things I wanted to be in an alternate life and made them into her.  Does that sound creepy?  I hope not.



I came into contact with Georgia through her brother, whom I met via mutual friend.  He told me (and rightfully so) that somehow, someday, our worlds should collide.  So I looked her up.  DANG.  She hunts.  She prepares exquisite meals out of what she hunts.  And she looks amazing while doing all of it:











While so many of us (myself definitely included) are experts at talking the farm to table, local slow food talk, she is living it.  And writing about it.  Her first book, Food Heros, details the noble endeavor of 16 food artisans from around the globe striving to honor their respective culinary traditions.  Her second book, Girl Hunter, is out now and in it she shares the stories of sourcing all her own ingredients for a great meal.   I am starting to feel like a sixth grader writing a book report so I'll just sum up my geekery with a simple "Shes rad."  I hope someday to do some of the things Ms. Pellegrini is doing, with as much gusto and panache.



Another great thing about this gal: she's approachable.  When I initially contacted her about this project, she was completely receptive and eager to participate.  I knew she would be a bit different to design for, given that she is constantly on the go and leans toward all things practical.  What I'm trying to convey is, Georgia isn't wearing a large feathered headpiece out in a field while trying to shoot a turkey.  So I made her a brooch, imagining that she could pin it to the lapel of a blazer or on the band of a small, sensible cap.







The foot is from a chicken which was once part of my friend Bailey and Thomas' flock, and it's wedged tightly into the brooch base along with feathers of pheasant, chicken and peacock.  There is also the tip of a red squirrel tail in there, just for fun.







The puffy soft feathers are from  the tail area (read: butt) of the chicken; these have been a favorite of mine lately because they have a fur-like appearance and move so nicely with the wearer.  I'm constantly astounded by the range of color, shape and texture of the fathers all coming from one bird.



For an embellishment on the brooch base, I found an old pin from my street gift collection that apparently was some prize or medal for 25 years of faithful service in the state of Georgia.  Perfect!  I filed down the back, bent it to the correct shape and attached it to the brooch.







I left the talon colors as is and didn't fuss too much with the natural state of the elements in this piece.  Although we've yet to meet, Ms. Pellegrini strikes me as a true creature of her own element, grounded and proud of it.



Cheers, Georgia!



Art for Animals, pt. 1

I recently made this Starling Fascinator as a donation for an event called "Art for Animals", a fundraiser for the Pennsylvania SPCA.  It's a "silent auction of art, design, and offerings from leading cultural institutions (like Diamond Tooth!)".  It's tomorrow night and if you've got some shekels burning a hole in your Birkin, by all means stop by and place a bid!  The proceeds shall go to the Pennsylvania SPCA in partnership with Michael Garden of CITYSPACE Real Estate.



It might seem odd that a taxidermist would be asked to donate a piece to an SPCA event, but I hope my participation in such things drives home the point that I (like most in my field) have a deep and profound love for animals.   Why not invest the time, blood, sweat and tears into preserving something so beautiful, and celebrating it?



No matter, if you're reading this I'm most likely preaching to the choir so I'll just tell you about my piece.  I toned it down a bit (read: no heads or feet) and used several pairs of Starling wings on a vintage fascinator base.



Here is the 3/4 front view:







And turning towards the back:







 



I embellished it with a chunk of antique bracelet from Wilbur Vintage.







The back.  Along with the bracelet I added chains from another antique necklace.  They are attached on either end but can swing a bit with the wearer's head movements.  Perfect for haughty walking, which is my favorite kind.







 



The back right side. Chains are attached to the bracelet link, which is layered atop a patch of starling feathers.







And here is the right front view.  Pretty nifty, huh?  I think whomever bids on this piece and wins is an individual possessing impeccable taste.  Could it be you?







 



I plan on taking a break from all my Craft Bazaar prep  and stepping out for a bit tomorrow night at this auction.  I'll post part two on Thursday with some photos from the event as well as what you'll all be dying to know which is WHO walked away wearing the most stunning head-gear (next to me, of course) of the night.







Until then, xoxoB

Without you, I'm nothing.





 



My hands are the one part of my body of which my opinion will never be swayed by  magazine photo or trend. No matter how many chipped nails or cuts, my hands, to me, are the most beautiful part of my body.  Every day I thank each nimble little finger for all it does.  Just the sound of them typing right now brings me pleasure.



There are times when I'm doing super fine, detailed work, and I need to steady my hands because they tremble a little.  This could be the caffeine, or it could be a sign of looming hereditary issues on the horizon.  Whatever it is, I felt inspired to make a public declaration of my undying love for the best tools I could wish for, while they are in their prime.



People say that you don't know what you've got until its gone and I couldn't disagree more.  I can't think of one day that's gone by without me marveling at how fucking awesome it is to have eyes that see and hands that do what I tell them to, with grace and panache. Sight and touch are easily in the top five list of things for which I am most grateful.  So thank you hands, and thank you eyes, for making it possible to do what I was born to do.  I promise to take care of you as long as you take care of me.

 



 







 



 







 







 



 







 



 







 



 



 



 



And now for something completely different.

While taxidermy is my main squeeze, I have several mistresses.  I'd like to believe they all somehow relate to one another but to articulate that at this point would be impossible, so I'll just let them all exist for now, independently of one another.  I will say this, however: I am drawn to rituals.  Whether it's daily (stretching and facersize among the many habits I practice 365 times a year), weekly or monthly, I relish in rituals.  I feel like sharing this one with you now; I'd like to say it is weekly but when it all shakes out, the kombucha brewing time tends to fall every 7-10 days, depending on the temperature.



I like brewing kombucha because I am hooked on the stuff, and to buy enough to support my fix would require a new tax bracket and complimentary back braces for the guys who collect my recycling.  Plus I'm a control freak so I can make it exactly how I like without placing my taste buds in the hands of some gross corporation.



A friend of mine recently brought up the topic of legacies, and what we leave behind.  I am clueless as to what I could ever pass on or leave for those to remember me by but it did remind me of my kombucha culture, which I've been using since 2005.  I got her as the offspring from a friend who got hers from I don't know where, and since then my baby has produced hundreds of babies.  The thought that she will be around years after I'm dead and rotted, still making offspring, is a marvel to me.  It's as if I'm just one handler in the eternal lifespan of this blob.



Anyway, here's a short little video:







Crack is Whack, especially when it comes to antlers.

 



I was recently contacted by a friend of a friend of a friend with a Caribou mount that had suffered a cruel demonstration of gravitational force, resulting in a chipped and cracked antler.  When I stopped by to inspect it, it became quite clear this part had been broken before and undergone a sub-par repair job with mis-matching paint to boot.







 



What I did first was use an industrial strength epoxy bond to get the actual pieces back together.  After it had set, I recreated the original surface with a sculptural epoxy.  I finessed it with water and my fingers, then allowed it to dry.







The view from the back:







After completely drying, I did a little sanding (like my tween girl nail polish?) to eliminate any hidden bumps or uneven surfaces that didn't belong on the antler.







 



Next came the painting.  A few coats, some blending, some magic, and voila!  Repaired antlers.







And that, my friends, is just another one of the things this taxidermist does.



Here's a hint....or seven

I did a search for a video with the word "hint" and this came up. Listen while you read; it's invigorating ( I think she's saying, "I love wearing taxidermed birds on my head Beth Beverly should be rich and famous by now she is a god in my heart"):











So I've lapsed a bit in my writing and for that I feel bad.  This tends to happen when I work on multiple projects all at once; there is a period of holing up in my studio and then a burst of online activity once it's all finished and photographed.  Another thing pulling at me in administrative issues.  Paperwork, licensing, biz shizz, etc.  It's time-consuming and profoundly mind numbing to me, but necessary.



So while I have no new pieces to report on, I have several works in progress, such as:







Can you guess what this mystery item is?  Come and see it and others like it at the Art Star Holiday Craft Bazaar next month!  Friday the 18th is the preview party; part with a few shekels and be the first to browse all the wares whilst sipping cocktails made with my favorite spirit, Root.  I'll also be peddling many of these:







and these:







Oh! and several pairs of these:







Along with these smaller trinkets I'll have fascinators, hats and brooches on hand so you, your roommate, your crush/lover/one night stand AND your mom will have something to fit them.  Be gifted!



Plus, I'll be debuting a very unique pair of  shoes.  Hint, hint:







Along with prepping for the bazaar, the PA Hunt Cup is next Sunday.  This is one equine event I have yet to dip my hooves into so I'm not sure what to expect, but you can bet I've got new hats in the works.  Fall themed, of course:











Speaking of hats, I've got two sweet ones, plus a brooch in the works for my next three Twenty4Twenty recipients.  One is a drag queen, another is an fitness goddess and the third is an accomplished and published huntress.  They are inspirations to me and  I get a kick out of their pieces living in my studio together while they come into their own.  Here's a hint of two:











On top of this, I've been forever preparing a custom form for my favorite client's cat.  I want it to be absolutely perfect so it's to my benefit that she is very patient.







There also some other miscellaneous client projects in the works, as well as sourcing materials for my entry in this years Rogue Taxidermy Competition.   More on that soon.



That's a wrap, yall.    And now I'm off to Mexico....again.

Devon Dressage? More like Bon Voyage!

It's been a hectic couple of weeks and I've neglected this blog.  Did anyone notice?  I hope so.  Anyway, I've been wrapped up in outside jobs like painting pumpkins for a corporate gig and transcribing VHS tapes of reality shows.   I do these things to support my taxidermy habit.   In other words, I work so that I can work.  It's exhausting but thankfully one of my many hats requires me to spend copious amounts of down time lounging on the Lido deck of cruise ships where I catch up on all my beauty rest.  In fact, I'm leaving for one of those trips in just a few hours, and I will soak up every drop of precious sleep that comes my way because once I hit dry land again, it's go time for holiday craft show prep, the annual Carnivorous Nights/MART competition and other projects in the works. Amongst all this hustle bustle I attended Devon Dressage last week.  This week long event features a ladies hat day and as you may recall I received accolades for my squirrel fascinator entry last year.  I believe that my work has improved significantly since then and was quite proud of this years entry, a black rooster bedecked with crystals and gems mounted in such a fashion so that it would appear to be curling up on the wearer's head, and providing bangs out of its wings.  Sadly, I have no pictures from the event but last night my friend Rachel came by for some wine and chat and a photo project so we snuck in a couple shots of the new rooster hat just for fun:



Pardon my dirty mirror; let  your eyes instead be dazzled by the giant cock on my head.











Anyway.  Devon Dressage.  I didn't win a thing. Nada!  Zilch!  Can you believe it?  I couldn't, but then I saw this guy was one of the judges and figured I should take his millinery opining with a sizable grain of salt.  I know I'm a winner and that's that counts, (or so mother always told me) so I gracefully let the other women take what I thought should be mine and spent the rest of the day in heaven with two dear friends, watching beautiful horses and insanely skilled riders perform the horse ballet known as dressage.



So now it's almost midnight and I have to decide if I should just stay up a few more hours or try to get a tiny bit of sleep.  I'm all packed with plenty of Diamond Tooth goodies in tow (hopefully this time will not be a repeat of DELTA= Don't Expect Luggage To Arrive) so I can properly saturate the high seas with my product.  Plenty of pictures and fun stories to follow, see y'all next week!



xoxo BB

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No time to say hello goodbye I'M LATE!









I wish I had just listened to this song this morning when I felt so rushed.  I really hate rushing.  It's  bad for the constitution and just pointless really.  I feel much better when I slow down.



This morning however, I was tired and foolish.  I stayed up until 2am  skinning a cat (that's another blog post for another time) and got up early enough to set up the backdrop and persuade Jim to shoot this piece before he left for work so I could drop it off at my client's shop today.  These early and harried morning shoots don't come with a model so I will happily slap a wig on and try my best.  After seeing these photos, though, I have decided that looking tired and cranky in no way makes a pretty picture.



That said, here is the piece in question:







Behold the White Rabbit from "Alice in Wonderland".  Oooo, writing that just made me crave those white rabbit licorice treats I used to find in Chinatown.



Anyway, this woman has an event and commissioned me to create a "rabbit mask type of hat" and that was my starting point.  I gave him a monocle, although having just watched a few videos of the rabbit in action, I see he actually wore glasses and carried a pocket watch.  No matter, monocles are cooler and this one s made from a vintage watch face so take that, facts.











As a bonus I threw in the rabbit feet on a chain that can be clipped in the hair...or on a belt, whatever pleases the wearer.



Fuck, I look so angry.  Good thing nobody came up and slapped me on the back.







I'm also annoyed because this could have been styled so much better, with a wicked up-do and some makeup.  Perhaps my client will be willing to sit for me someday.



And now to cleanse your palette:







These shots are actually a reference to some magazine clippings a friend passed onto me when I first started dabbling in taxidermy.  I wish I could remember the stylist/publication but it was an entire spread of adorable animal heads placed atop vases.



Here's one last shot but Rabbit really has to go because he's late he's late he's late!







xoxoB

Stick it.

 



Recently one of my favorite clients commissioned me to create several custom pieces for her, one of which being two pairs of talon hair sticks: one for her and the second pair as a birthday gift for one of my other favorite clients.  These two gals are so fun to design for because they just tell me what they want and let me go.  They trust me, and enjoy what I create.  It inspires confidence when people have faith in me.



One set is crafted from a pair of feet formerly belonging to the black rooster I skinned a while back to make a hat out of.  I just remembered I need to photograph the hat; it's really quite smashing.  Anyway, the spurs on this cock's legs are a force to be reckoned with and I got such a good energy from this specimen that I really wanted to use it for this project.







The foot itself is mounted on a stick I sharpened and textured myself, and accentuated with rabbit fur and feathers of peacock and rooster.  The talons themselves are treated to a glossy pearlescent coat of color.







The second pair is slightly larger in size; I used pheasant feet and from there it's basically la meme chose as the first pair.







I used repurposed mink fur with pheasant feathers this time around.







And that's that.  I'm eager to see how they look on the ladies as they both are quite striking women with full heads of thick black hair.



As usual, thanks to Jim Coughlin for taking such consistently awesome photos of my work.



Philly confidential: Happy Birthday, Shannah!

Fashion Night Out Quickie

While I wait for the all-clear form a client to post about a recent project, I will toss these out there for anyone interested. Behold the lovely Meredith, who attended a flurry of NY's Fashion Night Out events  donning two of my creations.  Below is the purple duck wing fascinator:







And another night, another event brings you Meredith in a yamamoto jacket I will steal from her someday , topped off with a masked hen hat.







 







For now, c'est tout.  I have my hands full with more pieces for the 20 for 20 project (speaking of which, it's driving me batty knowing that two of my pieces have arrived at  Ms. Zoe and Ms. Von D's respective locations and I have no idea how they were received and may never know  UGH the bain of sending unsolicited gifts), creating a fascinator for this Sunday's season closer at the Brandywine Polo Club, two more competitions on the horizon, an Alice in Wonderland themed fascinator commissioned by a client,  pieces for a holiday craft show and today I am skinning a cat.



Yes I am aware that there is more than one way but I'll be happy to master just one for now.



 



 

20 for 20 #2: Turd is the Word









I got a sweet note from my newly minted overseas pal The Fashion Turd, so it's safe to post about what I sent her:









The Turd received a custom created, larger than life, bird talon hair stick!  Based on photos from her blog, she's got a head full of colorful locks, which made the job fun to the power of awesome because 1) dread locks are thick and strong, and therefore can hold pieces with a bit of heft, and 2)someone who deliberately works their hair into this style is most likely open to wearing items that are less than conventional.



That said, I felt free to go bonkers.  I started with the talons of a very large chicken (sourced from one of my farmer friends) clutching a chunk of electro-formed copper with a crystal embedded in it.  Once this was mounted on the hair stick, I embellished the base with dyed deer tail, rabbit fur and pheasant feathers.  I felt free to get as far out as my heart could carry me, knowing this gifteewould appreciate the outlandishness of it all.







Due to the size and weight of the claw end of the stick, some balance was needed both for aesthetic and functional purposes.







This was achieved by running a large link chain from the top, to a cap which would attach to the bottom, so the stick could be worn securely like so:







I'm sure she'll make it look even better than I am in this photo.  Now that it's in her little paws, I am excited to see how she wears it.  I imagine it could even serve as a unique sweater/kilt/cape/shawl closure clasp, not to mention sharp pointy self-defense mechanism for those late night crawls home from the bar, er...pub.  Mind the gap, ye!



xoxo, BB



ps: I don't mention it in every post but it should pretty much be assumed that all product shots seen on this blog, as well as on my etsy and website, are done by my on site photographer and husband, Jim Coughlin.  He also is a musician and painter; check out his stuff here: SnapBlamSplat



 



Up next: a client update or two



Coming soon on the 20 for 20 project: girl hunters, drag queens and another fashion dragon from the UK!
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