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:

pssssst: hi.

What's that I hear?  Is it the pitter pater of little hooves in my studio?

Behold Lambie, the extremely young baby Katahdin lamb whom I had been referring to as a baby goat until last month.  Clearly I need to do some boning up on my animal husbandry.

Here is Lambie in tanned skin form back when he still was a goat to me:

I'm also not sure if Lambie is a he or a she.  I don't think I properly sexed him when I skinned him ("what kind of taxidermist IS this chick?" I can almost hear you thinking...) but I like to think of him as a tender little boy who prefers the color pink.  This is why he chose to wear the vintage pink velvet flower cage veil to keep the shivers off his delicate tresses.

Lambie was part of a brother/sister combo, born together but one thriving more than the other, the latter being my guy here.  The famer-lass who tended to this flock opted to donate her specimen to Diamond Tooth and for that I am eternally grateful.

Since no lamb forms are readily available, I used a fawn form which I then altered drastically in size and head shape.  I used glass cat eyes which I turned sideways to mimic the sheep's horizontal pupils.

Lambie has become something of a mascot around the studio; he's even slated to be the subject of a painting next month.  So proud of my little guy!  Eventually he'll need a forever home though; please contact me if you or the luckiest person you know might want to love this little darling forever and ever.

It's Anne with an E and Dream Catcher with a bit of magic.


I'm not sure what possessed me the other day but whilst completely on autopilot I made this dream catcher:


It's not unlike me to make dream-catchers, and I'm posting this on my site as well so potential clients have an idea about the scope of my skill set but this is so unlike the typical Diamond Tooth  style that I'm not afraid to say I was possessed....

by  Anne of Green Gables.

Does anyone else remember that series of books from childhood?  I read them all.  Anne was my hero.  I admired her cool differences that set her apart from the typical prairie crowd, and her boyish toughness and confidence.  I wanted to be like her so badly; I didn't even see that I already had my own cool differences and was indeed, quite tough.  What I wound up projecting was an unsure and contrived version of a misfit when all I had to do was just be myself.

UGH adolescence.  If you know someone in the throes of this truly bizarre stage of life or are going through it yourself, I would love to hug you and tell you that most adults (and other kids for that matter) are very stupid, brainwashed and insecure so just listen to your heart because it will get better...in 15 years.  It's a long time to wait but trust me.  You've got a long life to live.


So maybe I was channeling this longing I had to reconnect with this book series that held such prime real estate in my heart throughout my tweens and early teens and that's how I can explain the pink floral print fabric making up the bulk of this piece.  The material itself is actually older than I know; it was passed onto me from the collection of my friend's grandmother when she passed some years ago.  I took it, not ever really imagining myself making something with this...pink stuff...but feeling a soul tug just the same.  My grandmother was a skilled seamstress and I love using her old pins and threads and trying to pick up on her energy from these objects.

Dream-catchers are such great opportunities for me to incorporate pieces from my found-on-the-street collection, like the crystal above (from a real antique chandelier) and this key.  I like to imagine the history of these objects calling out to be combined with one another and I'm just blindly obeying their wishes.  When  a project comes completely out of autopilot like this one, it's hard for me to believe otherwise.

This skull was gifted to me from a friend who picked it up on a hike.  Who knows how this doe lived and died?  Humbly and anonymously, like most prairie-folk I imagine (OK I know I'm getting really cheesy).

I also incorporated some scraps of squirrel fur from one of my first attempts at taxidermy.  I suppose subconsciously I was really trying to reconnect with my 12-year-old self...

It's weird, I remember thinking when I was a kid that being an adult would suck so much because all the gown-ups I met told me to "enjoy your childhood!  Before you know it its gone!"

Despite all that heaping unsolicited advice,  I still couldn't wait to be me, now.  I'm finally the person I wanted to be for so long and it's like I knew this as a kid and felt nothing but angst for being stuck inside that kid body and mind.  Did any of you feel that way?

I have a bag of vertebrae bones which were also a gift from a friend.  These bones bear a particular significance to me since I had a piece of my back removed years ago to correct an issue with my spine.  It still blows my mind that us humans can be opened up like rag dolls and have bits added and subtracted but that's a post for another time.  Needless to say though, my back is a very important possession of mine, possibly my favorite one.  Also my parents paid a shit ton of money for it. Thanks Mom and Dad!


Finally, no piece would be complete without a dose of chicken from my boys on the farm so here's a little tail feather for ya:

So who is this dream-catcher for?  Do you know them?  It's not for me, and I want it to find its rightful owner.  This thing has powers and it will protect the right soul from nightmares.  Please help me find them?

And just a FYI: I love making these.  Custom orders would be graciously accepted.


Sweet Dreams.


Millenery Boomerangs.

Some time ago I was fortunate enough to receive a box full of magnificent vintage hats from old college chum Rebecca Strzelec.  This was just weeks after embarking on my twenty4twenty project and I'd sent out a few of my hats with no response whatsoever.  Seeing this giant box of beautiful hats on my doorstep reminded me that everything, every intention you put out into the universe comes back to you , but rarely in a form you'd expect.

These pieces had been sitting in her home, I believe, for years, and once she arrived at the conclusion that she had no use for them they became mine.  All she asked in return was that three hats make it back to her: two for her daughter and one for her.

Let's start with mom:

I chose this base since it was just misting (dripping would be too much) with class and elegance.  Very proper, like my friend.

For her child, there were two smaller hats.  This first one I bent the brim to give it a more formal feel but the actual material was so delicate that it proved quite challenging to work with.

I added miscellaneous feathers and sourced gems:

This base was much easier to work with.  Plus I have a huge sift spot in my heart for bonnets so it was a natural fun piece.

I added chicken wings, a chicken foot and switched out the white button for a pearlescent pink bead in the talon and on each side, plus a poof of white fox fur for good measure.

So that's that.  I was very touched to be given such a magnificent gift from Rebecca.  She is an amazing, talented and accomplished woman whom I am honored to even associate with.

Also I am short on words today because sometimes life beats the vocab out of you.  More soon.

Top of the Squirrel to you!

A few months back I was proposed with a fun and clever design for a commission piece.  The liaison between myself and the designer was a friend who I've done work for in the past.

And the individual who wanted this item?  A young man slated to start the seventh grade this Fall.  A talented and creative mind, no doubt, this little guy has no idea how much I appreciate getting projects like this.

Here are the sketches I was provided:

I was nervous about sourcing a boy's top hat at first, until I noticed that this kid is a size 7 & 3/8 which is a full-grown adult sized head. Must be all those big thoughts he's having.  I ordered the proper topper (I have yet to possess the facilities or training to make a top hat from scratch, which is why I hesitate to call myself a "milliner") and went about fitting a squirrel form into the proper position.  Here it is, broken into several pieces and pinned into place:

After getting the placement and angles of the bits and bobs all sorted out, I secured with glue, pins, wire, and slim wedges of foam inserted into gaps for reinforcement.  After that comes the clay to smooth things out.  I then had to determine the contact points at which the squirrel would meet the hat and anchor some wires at those spots:

Maneuvering the skin over this form, wires and all, proved a challenge but in the end came  out just peaches.  Here are shots of the finished product:

I recreated the sketch to the best of my ability; due to the squirrel's size it does occupy a tad more real estate on the hat itself but I think that's OK.

I'm actually quite proud of this red ribbon- I made that bow myself!

Also, this squirrel was a female!  Almost all the squirrels I have ever skinned were male; I just assumed they were the ones being brazen enough to get hit/killed/shot/etc.  I forget how this one perished; I think it was a fall from a tree or something but I almost wonder if she got shocked on an electric line because a teeny patch of her skin was bare of fur and the area surrounding is was slightly discolored.

And that's hat!

Meeting My Meat

Last weekend was an exhausting yet emotionally fulfilling one. I made the trek up to Schoharie to visit my beloved farm boys Thomas & Bailey by way of a short stay in Harlem with another dear friend while working a non taxidermy job in NYC.  I arrived at the bus stop in Albany weary, bedraggled, and depressed and drained.

The reason for my visit was not only pleasure, but purpose: the boys had been raising some rabbits for food and the time had come to process a few of them.  Thomas, who was taking on this project, immediately thought of me as a viable processing partner, given my philosophy on eating meat.  I won't call myself a vegetarian ( I still occasionally eat meat when someone offers me a free meal and I would otherwise go hungry due to lack of funds, so call me a hypocrite if you wish) or any other label because whenever I try to talk about it, I just sound pretentious.  Unfortunately, it mostly comes up when I'm declining an offer at a gathering where everyone else is partaking in the meal.   It's not like I want to stand up in a room full of folks enjoying themsselves and say, "well its just that you're all eating shit meat".

But for the most part they are.   And that isn't the problem to me but more a symptom of something much, much more saddening.***

And maybe this doesn't apply to everyone but this is my journey and perhaps someday I will articulate it (through words or taxidermy) more clearly but it's no coincidence that the craft about which I am most passionate revolves around the manipulation of skin onto forms, or why I gravitate towards the rogue genre of taxidermy.  In this realm, I can take a skin and put it on a form that has nothing to do with the original specimen.  I can give it wings, diamonds for eyes, a stretched neck, anything my mind comes up with.  As someone who has struggled (to an agonizing degree)  my entire life to achieve a healthy amount of comfort in my own skin, manipulating fantasy creatures out of the dermis of others is a projection of my own wishes to occasionally escape this body I currently occupy.

It's also no coincidence that underneath these hides are meat.  Thick, bloody, nourishing meat.  My journey as a budding taxidermist also led me down a path of exploring the source of my food, and the subsequent attempts to negotiate my ambivalent relationship with it.  This has been a years long puzzle in which I occasionally fit in a flurry of pieces in one instant, or spend months trying to jam the same ill-fitting piece into a spot that won't accept it.  Sometimes I just have to walk away and come back when the time is right.

Last weekend in New York, my food puzzle was ripe for some work and ready to accept a flurry of new pieces to their rightful home.

Here is Thomas, watering their garden :

They've got corn, tomatoes, pepper, squash, a wide variety of herbs and edible flowers plus many others that I am forgetting.  It's basically 99% edible though, and they are incorporating it into their daily meals. For example, here are some treats we harvested with which to make a salad dish for our Elizabethan Rabbit dish that evening:

Even though my parents had a garden in our yard when I was a child, my knowledge of plants and how to grow food is so profoundly lacking.  To actually see where the ingredients grow, how they are cared for, then pick them myself put some of those pieces back in the puzzle.

Meet Meat and Tilda.  Meat is just that; he's to be processed sometime next year I believe.  Tilda will stick around for some breeding.  The boys know so much about breeds, and all the animals that they raise- they are fully invested in this life and it shows.  They admit it will be difficult to say goodbye to Meat when the time comes but I think Thomas put it best when he said "I've nourished you your entire life, now it's time for you to nourish me".  And how much more rich an experience to have touched that thick muscular tank of a creature and to have heard its delightful snorts while it was alive!

It saddens me how much bacon is consumed every day, purchased thoughtlessly at some drive-thru window or convenience store and consumed in a car or subway en route to wherever the day is to be spent. I understand that most of us are in no position to raise our own food, and the majority of us need to rush somewhere to keep whatever shitty job is keeping our electric running, and this is the larger issue I was referring to earlier.  We as a people appear to share this common need to multi-task and get everything done quickly and graduate from one spinning gerbil wheel (sorry for the cliché analogy but it fits!) to the next, never stopping to rest or be kind to ourselves because that type of behaviour simply is not encouraged.  Working oneself to death is rewarded, taking a day to sleep and rest is frowned upon.  Given this constant sense of urgency in everything all the time, it's no surprise that food has become completely  overprocessed and unrelateable to its origins.  Eating.  It's just one more thing we have to do.***

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Meat receives his daily cocktail bath massage.[/caption]

I cannot stress enough how much of a difference it has made for me to see the full circle.  I will never view dairy or meat products the same, especially after seeing the different ways in which farmers tend to their stock. If an animal is raised with love and respect, why shouldn't it make sense that the meat it provides us will be better?

Which brings me to the rabbits.  Below is the big mamma rabbit who birthed the ones which will serve as meals.  She's a really darling, and we thanked her for her hard work.

Now, the next few pictures after this are graphic, but no more so than any cooking website with a meat recipe.  There is plenty of educational material out there on how to humanely kill and process a rabbit so I felt no need to further saturate the internet with my own images, but there are some meat and guts pictured so consider yourself warmed.

After plenty of thought, discussion, and watching videos on the subject, we decided that severing the spine at the cervical vertebrae would be the safest and best bet.  I felt more comfortable using my bare hands than some external device like a broom stick of which I could possibly lose control.  So we each picked a rabbit, went to our designated spot, said a prayer of thanks and counted to three.  Mine didn't go so smoothly but we remained calm and it was over in a matter of seconds.  My heart was pounding, my knees and arms felt weak and I had to crouch down to collect myself.

Wow.  I had just taken a life.  I had just looked this creature in the eye, held it, stroked it, comforted it and then snapped it neck.  And I wasn't sorry.  I wasn't even crying, like I thought I would.  Instead I felt surprisingly in touch with my surroundings and how I related to them.

Look.  I know that hunters dispatch animals all the time and every modern luxury I enjoy comes at the price of an animal's life, one way or the other.  I'm not trying to pile on  any more significance to this event than my own personal amount, and certainly don't want to be seen as the next hipster chick to fool herself into thinking she invented "farm to table".  So please don't misinterpret my words for any more than what they are: a description of my experience, the very first time I embarked on paying the karmic price for my meal, as Georgia Pellegrini has said.

Without wasting any time we hung them up and started processing.  Here's Thomas peeling the skin off his rabbit:

Gutting: his went much more smoothly than mine, but I enjoyed the process regardless.  There is an intense heat that comes off a creature once it has died; I noticed this the one time I purchased a freshly killed squab from the live poultry market and I could feel its heat burning through my bag and into my back as I rode home with it.  This heat is even more concentrated inside the gut cavity and it was a bizarre and grotesque thrill to stick my hands in it and yanked out the heart.

Thomas successfully removed his bladder- which is just beautiful -while I cut right through mine and wound up with a pee covered pair of bloody hands.

The butchering, if you can call it that,  (I feel like I'm insulting real butchers by calling the hack job we did by that name) took the better part of an hour.  Clearly both Thomas and myself could benefit from some lessons.  If only we each had our own reality shows where attempts at self betterment through education could be sponsored by some third-party....

The rabbit chunks were tossed in flour and then lightly fried, and ultimately went into this wine-based stew mixture and cooked for three hours in Thomas' new Le Creuset.  Please check The Farmer's Husband for full recipe and details.

In honor of my visit, Bailey created an outstanding centerpiece for the dinner table.  Mr. Pickles approves.

All the photos I took of our three course meal came out blurry and dark, so I'm going to leave that coverage to the pros at The Farmer's Husband.  What I will say is that it was by far one of the best meals of my life, and along with the dazzling sensory experience of taste, smell and sight, there was also the sense of having earned this meal by getting my hands dirty and truly engaging myself in it.  I felt so full that I had to undo the top button of my jeans but for the first time in my life I felt no shame associated with this fullness.  Nary a hint of the words calories, exericize, weight, needing to justify this food or guilt reared its ugly head.  I just felt nourished and content.

And for me, that was the gap closing right where it needed to.

The next morning I "helped" the boys with their chores by hovering about taking pictures.  Here they are treating the pigs to some goat's milk.  I think the Lass was tickled mid milking and stomped her hoof in the bowl, warranting it pretty much unfit for human consumption.  But just right for hungry piggies!  Nothing is ever wasted on this farm and everything has a purpose.

Even rumps double as pillows.

Story time with the Littles.

Life imitating art imitating life.

Chicken city, rush hour.

Sandals are a poor choice on a farm during chores but my feet survived.  In other news, I would like for my hair to mimic the coloring/pattern of this chicken.  Can anyone help me with this?

That afternoon I boarded a bus back to NYC  which connected to another bus to Philly which connected to another bus home.  All the while in tow I had a mini-coolor with rabbit heads, pelts and feet for me and organs for my cats.  They LOVE raw rabbit.  I also had a generous amount of treats from the boys, clear eyes and a full heart.




*** It occurred to me I posted this that my sadness over mindless consumption transcends food, and is directly connected to waste.  How many times have your pantyhose ripped and you just shrugged and threw them out, knowing you could just as easily replace them?

I'll just buy another.

I have come to loathe those words.  I've always had a disdain for waste, but my financial status as of late has forced me to put a very fine point on this.  Waste is unacceptable.  I cannot afford to throw anything out or damage my nice things so I handle my precious goods with care and find ways to use everything to the last drop.  I'm talking about slicing open the moisturizer tube and scraping the inside to get one more dollop.  I remember as a kid I thought it was so funny that my depression-era grandmother (who I've come to realise was never actually poor, she was just resourceful) would re-use her hosiery in so many creative ways: the elastic waist bands served to secure boxes of brownies, the material made into really cute puppets or even soap savers. Now I totally get it.  This mentality of "just throwing it away and buying a new one" is why we have an entire industry built around "Field Destroying" (it's so difficult to find info about this online but basically it's when folks are paid to destroy any merchandise that is flawed or just plain undesirable instead or donating, or selling at a discount.  It isn't even permissible to toss these items in the garbage for fear of some filthy dumpster diver getting their dirty poor person paws on it.  If this isn't a the canary in the coal mine showing us how fucked up the retail/consumer system is, than my head is exploding for no reason.)

There is no connection to where our goods come from.  Even if it's techno-wares, someone's hands touched it.  Someone made the packaging.  Someone trucked it over to your corner store and stocked it on a shelf for you and I, the consumers.  I really hope that when my clients take a piece of mine home, they treasure it and feel all the blood sweat and tears I poured into that item.  Obviously, a custom taxidermy hat is much more involved and labor intensive than a bobby pin but please, next time you're at the counter, handing over your paper or plastic to be swiped, run through your mind the series of events which brought this product to your possession, and acknowledge the extraordinary amount of coordination and teamwork that made it possible.  Thanks for reading.

Freshest Head and Neck Fruits from my Hand Labor

Last week the gorgeous and talented Pearl ( you've seen her beauty here, see her creations here: Pearl Bell ) braved the sweltering climes in my third floor studio along with photographer and all around hottie Jim Coughlin (blog here: Snap Bam Splat and follow him on Instagram too @jimsinspace ) to shoot my latest headgear.  I provided the champagne.


The Pearl:

I blocked this green felt hat myself, and named it after Ms. Bell for the simple reason that wide brim hats remind me of her.  There's a taxidermy wing tucked into the brim and some of the feathers trail off on the side, complimenting the downward swoop of the hat.

I also incorporated a sparkly tennis bracelet from my mother's collection.

The Pomp:

Comprised of the very same chicken from the Pearl hat, this piece is a taxidermied mount dried to mimic the shape of a swooping pompadour.

The mount itself is affixed to a handmade millinery base that I lined with pink satin and blue lace trim, which serves as a point upon which the hat can be secured on the wearer's head with bobby pins or elastic.  I like to see it paired with a cage veil but it can also be worn alone.

The Frenchie:

A taxidermied wing is enmeshed into the ruffles of a vintage millinery base, a fun jaunty little number.

Secured to the wearer's head with an elastic band, it can provide hours of worry free dancing, drinking, laughing, etc.  Worn alone here it's a flirty little number but can be paired with a white cage veil for a stunning wedding piece.

The Carnival:

Named after a wild night in which this hat remained on my head for 8 straight hours of drinking, dancing, being chased by Mexican gangsters, etc,  this hat takes a licking and keeps....on your head.

Secured to the wearer's head with an elastic band, the focal point of this piece is a pair of deer antlers embellished with genuine Swarosvki set amethyst crystals that point dangerously close to the eye.  The base is an antique millinery piece upon which I have added a raccoon fur poof and some hand twisted crinoline.

The Bobby:

My obsession with visors is still going strong, this example being in a hand blocked blue felt cap with a taxidermy chicken swirled around to create a bird butt poof at the top.  The chicken is, of course, embellished with crystals.

Along with the practical purpose of visors reflecting glare, the not so secondary mystique element of a slightly veiled face cannot be denied.

Le Roth:

As it took shape, this hat started to channel a sort of David Lee Roth ala "California Girls" energy, but en peu more French.  A taxidermied rooster wing sits atop a vintage millinery base with a yellow visor.  The bird head is hollow, while the exterior is just dripping with crystals.  Take from that whatever symbolism you wish,

The Andrea:

My classic visor hat.  Raccoon fur lined with felt and embellished with a sweet little green velvet ribbon.  Perfect for eye sex across the slopes and a toasty tete.

The Duchess:

This hat is a mashup of several species: the base is an antique rabbit fur pillbox, and I added a yellow poof of gosling down along with assorted chicken, guinea hen and pheasant feathers.

Ideal for a post hunt dinner on the estate, or a stroll down the avenue with you best beagle.

The Ladyship:

I think this piece speaks for itself. I just adore it.  It commands respect and gives the wearer an air of dignified authority. The base itself was so stunning to begin with, all I could do was add to it.  So add I did- a patch of assorted feathers, some gold metal charms from my personal collection and a tassel I made from silk fringe.  For women only, no girls please.



El Gatador:

A super cute felt number, this is a seriously easy to wear piece that stays on the wearer's head thanks to an elastic band, and it extremely lightweight.  One of my favorites, it's made especially special with a swirl of black rooster on top and a repurposed (read: my old earcuff from '84) alligator charm serving as an anchor for a bouquet of turkey beard hairs.

Perfect for any occasion, in my opinion.


The Marie:

Inspired by my Maid of Honor, this is a very proper velvet halo with a taxidermy rooster wing and saddle affixed to one side and a generous amount of Swiss dot veiling.  If only I'd had this on my wedding day; she would've worn it perfectly.  It conveys class, stoicism and a tremendous amount of fun just below the surface.  For the gal who can conduct herself properly at an exclusive event and then share a cigarette in the alley with the staff five minutes later.


The Shannah:

Not for the faint of heart!  The centerpiece of this headdress is a mummified bunny corpse coated in clear lacquer and covered in gems.  He's holding chain reins and resting comfortable among the spider-like fur "arms" of this vintage mink millinery piece.  Can be worn alone or paired with a cage veil.


The Mearrah:

I was going for a flapper feel with this hat; again the base is a vintage millinery piece and I added a taxidermied wing plus miscellaneous feathers and gems.  Works great with slicked back hair or a curly mane.



The Isabella:

I wore the unfinished version of this to my opening at La Luz and it was a hit.  Seeing it finished, and on a model, it feels more like a tribute to the late Isabella Blow, hence the title.  It's a simple piece consisting of a taxidermied rooster dried in a shape which hugs the crown and points out at such an angle so as to keep simpletons at bay.


Foxy Fascinator:

A simple little ditty comprised of chicken feathers fanning out from a taxidermied fox nutsack.  Sorry to be crass but I quite enjoy the juxtaposition of something people tend to shy away from serving such a pretty purpose.  An excellent conversation piece.


Guinea Hen Necklace:

Taxidermied leg with fox fur poof, gold chains and an old charm from a church in Philadelphia.

Guinea Hen necklace with pearls:

Freak Mutant Rooster Leg Necklace:

That spur says it all.  Ideal for someone who really wants to thin the herd of idiots who talk to them daily. No canvassers will even try to get your attention when you're wearing this.


Jawbone continuous earrings:

Fun to wear, lightweight nad a nonstop conversation piece.

Jaw bone continuous chain earrings:

Same as above; the chain is aluminium so it's also very lightweight.


So that was an eyeful, right?  And there is still more in the works!  Please think in advance about your Fall pieces and order now, folks.

XOXO Diamond Tooth.

Adios and hola Hector

Meet Hector:

About two months ago I got a frantic call from a woman who spoke very little english but found my info on Yelp after her chihuahua's sudden death and her subsequent decision to have him preserved.  Pair her muy poqueno English with my very limited Spanish and you get one very stilted conversation.  I was able to text my address to her so she could have it in writing and when she dropped off her little guy she was so upset.  Because of the language barrier, my usual line of questioning in which I feel out the client to suss out if this is really something she wants done (or are they making a grief induced, regrettably rash decision) and tenderly discuss options in regard to poses, all the while trying to provide some comfort- all that went out the window.  Payment options and pricing were sorted out immediately and I acted out several posing options on the floor since I was caught off-guard without any photo examples.

She expressed to me that she wanted Hector in the pose you see above, since that's how he would sit on the window sill and wait for her to come home from work each day.

Unfortunately she had not one photo of Hector to give me a better idea of his facial expression and sadly, didn't tell me that he was always smiling with his giant row of teeth exposed.  When she came to pick him up yesterday, although she was pleased with the work and wanted to take a stack of business cards so that she may pass them onto her employers ("white people crazy for their pets" -guilty as charged!) I could tell she was disappointed that Hector wasn't wearing his trademark grin.  I'm saddened over this but there is nothing I can do at this point.  I never thought to ask, she never thought to tell.  I have to chalk it up to the learning process and in the future keep this feature in mind.

Another feature which is new to me is genitals.  Sure I deal with them every time I skin something but this was the first time I tackled the job of mounting them.  Okay, deep breath, lets shake off our fourth grader giggles right now before I proceed.


Alright.  So, due to this pose with legs spread and belly exposed, there was no avoiding the genitals. A blank spot would just seem bizarre. So, I mounted my first dog penis and testicles. It was surprisingly easy once I shook off the pervy feelings in my head over handling something I would most likely never touch in any other circumstance.

But that's something I love about my craft.  It's a never-ending string of unusual circumstances that keep me out of that mundane trance life can lure you into, which can make some people forget they're alive.  I have never felt more alive than when I'm dealing with death.

Adios, Hector.  It was great working with you.

Twenty 4 Twenty #9: Buck Brannaman

For anyone unfamiliar with Buck Brannaman, just check out this trailer for the documentary "Buck":


And then, the first chance you get, watch the entire movie.  It's so thoughtful and sweet.  My husband introduced me to "Buck" a few weeks ago thinking I'd dig it since I'm so interested in horse people.  I more than dug it, I'm now obsessed with this guy.  Good thing when I embarked on this Twenty 4 Twenty project I didn't have my complete list of recipients, because I seem to constantly be discovering new heroes.

Perhaps I too am a tortured soul but I relate to so much of what Buck says, his philosophy, and like him and all the scores of people who feel an intimate connection with animals, I've had an easier time connecting with four-legged creatures than the bipedal sort.  As an adult, I've learned how to better treat myself and others but I cannot stress enough how much Mr. Brannaman's words ring true when he calls your horse a mirror of yourself.  I think this can translate to just about any domestic animal. As humans we tend to project everything onto other people (which is why one ought to be wary of folks spending so much time preaching about to evils of homosexuality, of sex positivity, etc- we take the things we fear and hate in ourselves and cast them onto someone else.  Understanding this has made me a much more laid back person). Not just our friends/family/coworkers, we project these things onto our pets.

Have a hyperactive nervous dog?  Next time you walk them, check your shoulders and body language are you tightened up, anticipating a transgression? I know I was, when we first got our dog.  It took me months to relax.  I was also a very nervous person in general, terrified of my own thoughts and feelings.  When that transgression happens do you correct it by whacking the pup on the head and yelling?  Is that how you were disciplined by your parents and other authority figures?  Ia that how you treat yourself?  Do yourself and your animal a favor and take a long look within.  You deserve it.  Everyone deserves to be treated with compassion, so start by practicing on yourself!


I've been holding onto this old cowboy charm for years and years, and finally the time to use it arrived.  I incorporated it into a lapel pin with miscellaneous pheasant and chicken feathers, thinking he could stick it in one of his hats.  Or not.  In my letter to him,  I suggested passing it along to someone he cares about if it doesn't fit into his wardrobe.  The point was to create something with my hands to express how touched I am by his story.  That's been the main lesson of this project, is learning not to expect anything in return, not even a thank you. I already have my reward and it's knowing these people exist.


Thank you Buck!  Keep spreading the good word!





For a more in-depth interview with Buck, check out this video:



"Gospel of Buck"!  Swoon.

Something Old, Something New,

-Something Taxidermied, and Something Blue!  Perhaps the Blue Quail Fascinator, below?

If you're in Philly and planning your wedding, perhaps you already have leafed through the pages this most recent issue of Philadelphia Wedding Magazine with a mug under your face to catch the inevitable drool.  There are some gorgeous pieces in there.  Diamond Tooth had the honor of being featured as an Editor's Pick and they included my treasured Blue Quail Puff Fascinator in their bridal shoot.







I really do have a mega soft spot for weddings sometimes I fantasize about having mine over and over again just so I could wear every type of dress that struck my fancy.  Seeing as that plays out much better in my fantasies where logic need not apply, I'm just as thrilled to work with brides-to-be on their head adornment fantasy.  Just knowing that a piece which I have poured so much love into can be an integral part of someone's very important day makes my heart swell.


In fact, this Blue Quail Puff made an appearance at a real life wedding in Philadelphia recently:


Such a handsome couple!

So ladies, if you're floating down the aisle any tim esoon, please peruse the Diamond Tooth Bridal page for ready-to-wear pieces as well as inspiration for any custom head piece you can dream up.

Thanks to Meredith Communications for bringing the right people to the right place for this shoot!

Eye of Newt and Toe of Frog...

And pics of talons on my blog!

Feast your eyes, lovies, all of these voodoo talons are up for grabs!


Here's a two tiered chicken talon, appx 8":



Up next is a very large (apprx 9") specimen clutching a functional Barbie locket.  Perfect vehicle for love letters, or BFF notes...




Here we have a chicken claw holding a rainbow crystal charm.


It was difficult to catch the sparkles in the gem but this blurry shot kind of captures it:


Here we have a sweet little campy claw with a vintage beaded earring.

Again, I lit the piece from underneath to catch the razzle dazzle of the gem- this foot has a large CZ in its grasp:


A more vintagey looking talon holding an antique earring with metal globe details:


Fancy some chicken of the sea?  How about a chicken holding some pearly shells, with fur and pheasant detail?


Chicken with rabbit fur poof:


Chicken with mink fur poof:


Here's a not so common specimen with low reaching feathers growing down to its toes:


Want to be more charming?  This talon comes with beads and a fully functional locket on the small side, but could certainly hold a tablet of something magical...

Chicken, chicken, DUCK!


Metal horns, anyone?


Last and never least: my treasured Skeksie talon.  I lied earlier when I said these were all up for grabs; this one has been sold and is shipping out to NY later today.



If you see something you like, please email me directly at diamondtoothtaxidermest@gmail.com.  Otherwise they will all be posted on my etsy shop and website tomorrow.

My most conventinal fox

Here's a few shots of a commercial mount I created recently for a new client, and I foolishly scheduled to shoot this piece the same day as pick up, which of course is like a glowing invitation for Murphy's Law to come and tap my on the shoulder.  What went wrong?  I forgot to pack the camera battery with the camera.  I didn't have enough time to go home and retrieve it, and I also didn't want to push this pickup back because, to be honest, I needed the payment to get some bills paid.  So, camera phone pictures it is, and I'm quite cranky with myself since this is a mount I'm very proud of.

Paul brought me the fox, and wanted it in this exact pose with a squirrel in its mouth.  I provided the squirrell.  It was a fun and challenging mount, and then I kind of went bananas putting details like moss and embellishments on the trunk.



What a mouth full!

All boxed up and ready to go.  And that's fox mount.

Bill Bill


A few months back I received an email from a grief-stricken woman whose dog Bill Bill had just passed away.  She wasn't sure what she wanted to do with him, but she just knew part of him, at the very least, should be preserved.  Looking at the photo she sent me, above*, it's no wonder.  That is hands down the kind of coat a taxidermist (or anyone who appreciates beautiful animals) will just drool over.

Sorry if that sounds crass but I mean it with the utmost respect.  That's the tricky thing about working with pets; I'm currently in the middle of my sixth custom pet project and in each of these cases I'd never met the deceased beforehand.  I do my best to handle the "drop off" with all the sensitivity I can, but ultimately my taxidermist brain is looking at a specimen.  I've never seen this animal animated, living.  When the time comes to decide how to handle the death of my own beloved pet children, I suppose I will truly be able to see both sides.

Until then, however, I instead strive to truly connect with the bereaved human.  It's a humbling honor when a total stranger comes to me in such a vulnerable and saddened state; as someone who has often wondered exactly where my "nurturing chip" is (I have yet to hear one tick of my phantom biological clock and have never connected with infants- I even found the neediness of my puppy irksome before she grew into a more defined young ladypup) it's profoundly validating to connect with these other humans in a nurturing fashion, where I really feel like I can use whatever it is within me to help this person heal.

Even as I type these words I think of what people might say- "it's just pet taxidermy, Beth.  You're not curing cancer."  Duh.  I totally know that.  But the feelings my clients have are real and cannot be discounted.  The connections I make with these people can never be taken away, just like the ones they've made with their pets.  When it's all said and done, our connections to each other, places, things, etc, will always exist, and however we choose to hold onto them is our right to pursue.

Bill Bill still had his collar on which always makes things extremely real for me, but it's not as hard as it was that first time with Elke.  My client decided on a sweet little dreamy dog sleeping pose and it came out exactly as I'd hoped.

The final product is a little bit more petite than the original specimen due to a small but manageable lack of fur.  Bill Bill had been sick before his passing and almost all the fur on his underside had been shaved off.  Also, the poor guy had lost his tail.  Lucky for him, he had a human who cared very much for him.

My client and her daughter came by my new studio today to pick him up, and both were quite pleased.  I'm still at the stage in my confidence level where I get the jitters before a piece gets picked up, hoping my work will be deemed acceptable.  So far no complaints!

Here's the view from the back.  I cannot express enough how much I enjoyed working with this gorgeous coat.

And gorgeous dog, gorgeous client and family, etc.  Great spirits and charm all around!

It was great working with you Mr. Bill Bill.  Sweet dreams.



*the photo of Bill Bill I attempted to include in this post is apparently in some format that won't translate so you'll have to take my word for it.

Devon Horse Show LaYDEEEES day: 2012 edition

Early Wednesday morning my friend Mearah swung by to primp and prep for our first Ladies Tea at Devon. Neither of us had attended such an event but thankfully it was the first one of its kind  so all of us were excited about having no expectations.  Upon arrival we'd be meeting my other friends Beth, Claudia and Sharilyn who all were kind enough to be my hat models for the day.  We arrived in time for the contest and "parade" and while Caron Kressley was not in attendance (he did so adore my duck hat from 2010, poo) I managed to hit it off with Bill Henley who made for a great consolation prize.  We paraded ourselves in front of the judges and Diamond Tooth emerged victorious, placing fourth among excellent company.

[caption id="attachment_1675" align="alignnone" width="660"] Image from the magnificent Susan Scovill[/caption]

I of course chose to wear an entire Guinea Hen on my head which, being the most in-season option my butcher could provide, made for a sensational dinner as well as a fun hat.

[caption id="attachment_1674" align="alignnone" width="683"] photo by Brenda Carpenter, http://brendacarpenter.com/[/caption]

You will see this same hen make a guest appearance in a few weeks as part of a short video profile about taste makers in Philadelphia: she was a dream to work with.  Absolutely no drama.   But I digress.  I fasbricated some new, and sourced some classics for the rest of my gal pals ranging from tastefully conservative to somewhat more exotic.  When I'm not crafting my own hat bases for my pieces, I pair up antique hats gifted to me or sourced from flea markets that I collect.  Along with all the trinkets I collect from the street, it's profoundly rewarding to marry up materials after having held onto them so long.  Of course, what I'm doing is certainly nothing new or that shocking- I just hope that I can do the legacy of high society ladies from the late 1800s justice with my interpretation of their taxidermy hat fashion. I do understand that taxidermy is not for everyone, as I've said many times.  How boring would the world be if we all had the same tastes?  Lucky for me I was in the presence of some classy, kind and open-minded ladies.

[caption id="attachment_1676" align="alignnone" width="660"] Thank you Susan Scovill![/caption]

As you can see, my ladies and I had a great time.  Beth, on the left, is wearing the Prairie Chicken Hat from my website while Claudia sports a gorgeous Bantam rooster saddle mounted on a vintage brown velvet beret.  Next is Mearah with a rehabbed vintage blue cap with a rooster wing and glass charms affixed to it. I couldn't find any shots of all of us together but here is Sharylinn (below, center) wearing a fascinator I made from (tada!) more Guinea hen feathers and some antique cage veiling.  It's hard to see but some rooster tail feathers are peeking out here and there as well, plus assorted gems:

After we did a little winners' photo trot, the whole gaggle of us headed across the grounds to the Ladies' tea, of which my friend Jen McGowen did a sensation job planning.  I was actually on the planning committee with a dozen or so other women, but spreading the word and promotion was about the extent of my planning.  Jen seemed to shoulder the bulk of managing this event with the grace and panache of the Fresian horses I was drooling over later that same day.   Once under the tent we ran into some old friends and made new ones.  I was making every attempt to visually memorize all the beautiful dresses and shoes I saw:

[caption id="attachment_1677" align="alignnone" width="640"] Again, thank you Susan Scovill[/caption]

I could sit and watch pretty ladies, dressed up and socializing for hours.  Sometimes I still feel slightly intimidated as my financial status does not allow me to dress in much aside from second-hand or hand-made, but seeing as one cannot buy style, it levels the playing field for me a bit.  Not like I needed it: these ladies are all so kind and friendly and sociable it just makes for a truly enjoyable and uplifting experience.  It warms the cockles of my heart to see a great group of women from assorted backgrounds coming together to not only sip champagne and nibble cucumber sammies (my FAVE) but also to simply enjoy each other, our health, and how amazing life is that it allowed us to spend such a luxurious morning together.  Just look at these happy faces!  I kind of fell in love with the three ladies in cream in the left of this photo.  I didn't actually learn their names but they were a dream team.

[caption id="attachment_1678" align="alignnone" width="800"] Photo from Constant Contact[/caption]

After the tea wrapped up, a few of us stayed back to soak up some pony action.  Ladies side-saddle is a perennial favorite of mine to watch, and this year I caught some of the Fresian dressage (I could be wrong and probably am- it looked kind of like dressage but not quite.  The riders wore top hats and brightly colored coats, and in one event the horses pulled them in little chariots!).  Of course I need to bone up of my pony facts but I do absorb a thing or two from other spectators who are generous enough to share their knowledge with me.  Example: there is an entire industry which manufactures hair extensions for horses!

Brandywine Polo Season Opener

This past Monday brought us a dreamy mix of sun and clouds for the Brandywine Polo season opener.  I rounded up the lovely Bell ladies and we set up a picnic under a tree to celebrate birthdays, America and ponies.  It was a fantastic match and got the whole gang excited for the 2012 season.

I wish all anthems were presented so regally:

Have you tried Spodee yet?  What are you waiting for?

I could hardly see anything with these tiny binoculars.

There's my friend Sharilyn bringing water to her polo playing beau, Juan.

Does it seem like I don't have much to say?  That's because I spent all my word-power writing this article for the Brandywine Polo Magazine.  Please give it a read if you like:

And that's really all she wrote.

Good night!


Here's a quickie post about my most recent quacker.  A new client brought this gorgeous Mallard Drake to me a few months ago and waited patiently for his mount while I cruised, moved, etc.   He used the breast meat to make a lovely dinner for himself and his gal, which always makes me happy to hear.

Ducks are challenging but I love working with them.  The grease in the skin makes them much more labor intensive than a chicken or pheasant (which is why I think I need to recalibrate my pricing on birds) but as a result their feathers never seem to dry or get brittle like most of the chickens I work with.  Such handsome creatures.  There are scores of them at FDR Park where I like to run my dog, and I can't help but quack at them every time I pass by them with their cute duckie butts wiggling in the water.


Some people believe that the number of curly-q tail feathers corresponds to the duck's age, but I don't know if there's any truth to that.

Enjoy your new home, duckie!


Duck Duck Drake



Radnor Hunt Wrap up, 2012


The annual Radnor Hunt Cup was this past Saturday, and an exceptional day it was, as one might expect.  This time around I didn't take any pictures since I'm not really on speaking terms with my phone.  I think my new modus operandi is to just be photographed as much as possible and then hunt for those images online. It's fun and I highly recommend it for any fashion conscious gals and guys out there who hate carrying cameras and prefer to leave their hands open for cocktails and shaking other hands.

One tip: Wear the biggest, brightest, loudest thing you can find. This vintage dashiki  I'm wearing is like a brightly burning light,  attracting shutter-bugs to my flame.


[caption id="attachment_1634" align="alignnone" width="300"] That's my agent Erika to my left and our body-guard who shall remain nameless a few steps behind. photo compliments of Malvern Patch.[/caption]


The theme for the Radnor Hunt was "Islands, Large and Small" so I went with Cuba.  I basically channelled my inner Santeria Priestess and also this woman:

Sure a dashiki is an African garment but there are plenty of Cubans of African descent, and isn't that where it all started anyway?  I hope my loose interpretation of the cultural melting pot isn't offensive to anyone; I just want a piece of it all.

World Clique, y'all.

My hat is a series of rooster wings and tail feathers gathered around a visor with a vintage cat brooch and other embellishments.  A millinery masterpiece by no means, it was a last-minute confection whipped up just for fun and FUN IT WAS. I rolled in four deep with some polo friends, old and new and upon entering the Philadelphia Style tent dove headfirst into the oyster table, forgetting that whole 6 days of food poisoning that ravaged my internal organs just two weeks ago. We had already enjoyed some Spodee (have you had it yet?  Le duh.  Try it!) and now it was onto the race-themed cocktails.  I enjoyed a Finish Line with champagne and berries.

Soon enough I was chatting away with all my pals who I hadn't seen since last Summer and watching the races.  They got off to a rough start, with several riderless horses running the course after having thrown their jockeys,  In another entry I'd like to explore my thoughts on the complicated world of horse racing when I can articulate it better, because it's much more emotional and complex than on might think from first sight, but for now I will focus on the fun stuff.

I bet on a horse named "On the Corner" for the second race but he mostly stayed on the corner and didn't win me any money.  No matter; just being there enjoying my health, my friends, the food and sunshine was all the winning I could have asked for.

My friend Jaun, who plays polo, is also apassionate photographer. He is the best as covering these events, photo-wise.  I ran into him and the lovely Sharilyn, plus their wonderfully engaging daughters, under the tent but didn't have much time to chat- saving it for the  Brandywine Season Opener next week, suppose?  Can't wait.  Anyway, I can't steal any of his pictures to post on here so please go to his site and check them out.  He's got it call covered: Juan Vidal Photography.

Other folks who have the Philadelphia social scene on lockdown are Susan Scovill who is a perennial delight and one of my fave rave folks to run into at these venues; (check her out here: Susan Scovill) plus Hughe from Philly Chit Chat who never remembers my name but gives me love nonetheless.  In fact he threw me some of that on yesterday morning's episode of Good Day, Fox 29's morning news show.  I took the liberty to upload a video of just the segment relating to MOI.  Turn up your volume for the chuckles:



For full video go here:

Was Jenn Fred At The Radnor Hunt?: MyFoxPHILLY.com

We had to wrap it up and head out a wee bit earlier than last year (no rest for the wicked Mole Street crew) but it was just the right amount of fun and revelry.  Oh!  The hat contest.  By the time I mosied up to the judges stand, the women were piling into a gold cart to hand out the prizes to winners whom they'd already determined.  One shot me an exasperated look and I just shrugged.  Another one managed to hand me an "honorable mention" ribbon as a consolation prize.  Familliar scene?  Perhaps, except this time around sans heartache.  I've realised that sometimes it's best not to be judged.



Twenty 4 Twenty #8: Temple Grandin

It's hard for me to write about Temple Grandin because I usually start welling up with tears at the mere thought of her.  I cry just watching the trailer to her movie.  I saw her speak the other night and felt my eyes filling up at several points throughout the evening.  She was speaking at the Academy of Natural Sciences, and her presentation was very similar to her TED talk, if you'd like an idea:

Please watch this.  If you're anything like me, you will be saying YES YES YES at so many points throughout her talk.  I think why I get so emotional over hearing her story and thoughts is how I relate to her.  Obviously, I'm not autistic and have in no way braved the type of adversity as Ms. Grandin but I am, like Temple, a visual thinker who struggled with school and various aspects of life due to the fact that I just couldn't wrap my mind around certain things.  I still to this day cannot figure out space and direction.  I memorize routes by visual points but I have no idea what direction I'm going in and still get turned around and lost in my own city, especially if it's dark when I'm leaving some place I arrived at during daylight.

The point is, I spent the first thirty years of my life convinced that I was stupid. All because I was presented with examples of intelligent minds and how they functioned, unable to relate to a single one.  The fact that I was compelled to play with dead animals didn't help things.   Thankfully I was equipped with an abundance of social awareness and empathy which gave me the ability to charm, feign wit, and feel out even the subtlest of social cues so I could "play the game" and interact with other people even when it was painful to do so.  Don't get me wrong; I love connecting with people.  It brings tremendous joy and meaning to my life when a real connection is struck.  It's just that there are many, many social situations where I feel everyone is speaking a language i don't understand and I have to smile and nod because I can't relate in any way to what's going on.

What I'm expressing isn't that unique; I realise now that I've become comfortably enmeshed in a community of like-minded thinkers, that I'm not at all strange, and that there are in fact, many different kinds of minds. All different but none less.  That's part of what's so important about this talk that Temple gives.  Kids need to hear this.  They need to be encouraged.  I was fortunate enough to have parents who indulged my artistic whims and let me dress in outfits that made absolutely no sense in the context of 4th grade playgrounds.  Most children aren't that fortunate however, which is an absolute shame.  There are some truly truly outstanding minds in this country and our education system isn't nourishing them.

Maybe if the world could cast aside its hangups about the little boy who likes to paint his nails pink , or the shy middle-aged woman who enjoys spending all her time finding ways to communicate with extraterrestrials, maybe if everyone (you and me) could just ONCE have their whims indulged, the world could take a collective deep breath and sigh it out in contented relief.   After all, these thoughts and desires we all have are real, and come from a real place.  You can't discount that.  Somehow shame crashed the party and stuck on all of us like foul smelling plaque.

What touches me most about Tenple Grandin is that she appears untouched by shame.  She just does what she does and if you think she's weird, then fine.  She could not care less.  It doesn't matter what you think because she is fulfilling her destiny.

I made her this brooch because I know she wears those colorful Western shirts and thought this would be a nice accent.  It's very soft and feminine though, which I am not sure is her taste.  I gave it to her, in a box, after I saw her speak on Tuesday night.  She put it aside on her book signing table (thank goodness, I feel so awkward when someone opens a gift in front of me when they're in front of an audience) and for all I know it's still in that box.  She said thank you, asked what I was, and I said "artist." I shook her hand and as I was walking away she said "What kind of artist?:

"Taxidermist," I replied.

"Oh.  OK." she said as she turned to the next person in line.

She is completely unfettered by the social expectations most other people would feel compelled to adhere to like smiling, nodding, inserting witty statement here, etc.  And I love her for it.

I don't even feel like talking about the brooch, who cares.  I got to look Temple Grandin in the eye and shake her hand.

I hope the world makes more like her.

Rogue Recap

I treated my husband assistant and I to a little weekend jaunt out to Los Angeles last week to attend the opening reception of the biennial Rogue Taxidermy Show at La Luz de Jesus Gallery, and while it's been written up, tweeted, and shared in many places I can find online, I do feel it is my duty to at least jot a little down here in my own blog about it (even if it's mostly links to other sites who did a much better job than I documenting the experience).

We flew out on Virgin America which was a delight after having endured too many multi-part flights to LA.  Direct flight?  Cheapest airfare in town and multi-media players for each seat?  SOLD!  So that was pretty neat, and then we landed and it was time to try my hand at driving in LA for the first time.   One word comes to mind: AGGRESSIVE.  It seems like there are just no "Streets" in LA ,even the smaller thoroughfares are four lanes wide.  It's quite efficient though and I noticed an abundance of bike lanes which was encouraging.  It's just a little more difficult to navigate.  The entire system felt like a series of swirls, whereas Philly is a grid.

We got to my friend's house in one piece, however, albeit a little jet lagged.  She came out with us to a Mexican restaurant where I proceeded to throw my ethics out the window and have my first red  meat in months in the form of an all beef enchilada.  I think I was punished for this and other offenses, but more on that later.

The next day we took a drive down Mulholland and looked at all the giant houses. I really don't have the words to adequately describe how I feel about these structures.  It just seems like a dream; I can't wrap my mind around that kind of wealth.

After we descended back down to the land of mortals, we headed to Amoeba records in Hollywood where I purchased the soundtrack to "Blow".  It proved to be an excellent CD for driving down all the long trafficy strips in LA.  Just listen to that Stones song I posted above right now and tell me you wouldn't feel like  a total badass cruising down the Sunset strip in your sexy Ford Fiesta.

That night was the opening reception at La Luz, so I slapped on my finest drag and we all headed out to a French restaurant beforehand for dinner.  This is where A) I stood inches from Erin of The Office after mistaking her for my friend and almost telling her about how we'd be waiting 20 minutes before getting a table, and B) Jim and I ate some raw oysters that I'm pretty sure changed everything.  More on that later.

We mangered and then walked over to the Gallery.  Here are some photos from the opening I borrowed from Lee Joesph's flickr page which is pretty amazing so go check it out.

Those are my hats, standing at attention waiting for Dita Von Teese to come buy them all.  Or Kat Von D.  Or anyone, actually.  These ladies are too beautiful to not have a home.

This was probably the highlight of my evening: meeting these two.  Sarina Brewer I've admired from afar since I first realised other people were doing what I was doing, which is toiling away behind locked doors doing unconventional things with dead animals.  I am a total fangirl; she was basically the trailblazer for chicks doing cool taxidermy.  Plus she's as kind and delightful as one could imagine.  In the center is Vega, who was also showing some pieces that night.  She's super kind and very present in a way that can only be described as West Cost.  They are a different breed of human out there; I often muse about it when I visit and wonder if it all can really be chalked up to differing climes. When I find myself face to face with a West Coast breed, I used wish I could just relax a little, and chill.  Like them.  It's an admirable way of life and a wonderful energy to have.  I am however, a Philly girl.  Born and bred and full of defenses.  It's taken me 34 years to accept it but I wouldn't have me any other way.

After the gallery closed a few of us went to the bar across the street for a nightcap.  When we got back to my friend's house to call it a night, I felt sore and achy.  And freezing cold.  I dismissed it and went to sleep, only to wake up sore all over and still chilly.  Jim was sore as well, plus we both felt like we had the hangover of the century.  This was strange, considering I only had three or four drinks over the course of five hours.  Soon came the stomach cramps but we decided to ignore it and head out for some early morning adventures, like coffee and yardsaling in Silverlake.  I scored a pink Christian Dior turban for $2 and Jim got himself a nice Pyrex bowl for $1.  Not too shabby.  Later on we hit up the MOCA to catch the exhibition curated by Mike Diamond of the Beasties before it came down that night.  We both still felt seriously hung over but kept it up-this was our vacation dangit!  We drove to Malibu and laid on the beach for a few hours which was about all I could do at that point.  Like idiots, we drank more alcohol (hair of the dog?) and felt no better.  We both passed out at 7pm and that was the end of it.  Enter stomach issues too grotestue to describe, made worse by the fact that we were guests in someone's house with only one bathroom.  Needless to say, the flight home on Sunday was almost unbearable.

We were pretty much laid up for that whole week, unable to keep any food in our stomachs long enough to actually digest, until we finally saw a doctor on Friday who put us on antibiotics.  A bacterial infection from the oysters seemed to be the popular theory, but I can't help but wonder if it was the universe punishing me for casting aside the moral high ground I'd declared just a few weeks ago in regard to not eating meat unless I am familiar with its source.  Message received, universe.

Food borne illness aside, it was a great trip and LA is a wonderful town.  I look forward to going back.  Jim took some great shots of the beach and other stuff:

check out his recap here: SNAP BAM SPLAT

Up next: My new studio!!!!!!

2012 Biennial Rogue Taxidermy Exhibition: Truly Outrageous

I'm almost done packing my bags and headed off to bed to get some beauty sleep before I hop on a sexy new Virgin America airplane for a direct flight to LA. 

I'm almost as excited for the flight as I am for the purpose of my entire trip, which is this:

I'm over the moon to be showing with some folks I've been admiring from afar for quite some time now.  It's truly an honor to be in their company.  I still have pangs of self-doubt here and there as I prepare for this trip, wondering how my pieces will measure up in person when displayed next to everyone else's.

And yes, I know it's not a competition and I know those aren't pretty feelings but it's me giving you the truth.  I also know that everything I fret about always turns out fine in the end so I'll cross my fingers, kiss my elbow, and enjoy my mini vacation.

Speaking of crossing fingers, you may recognise that gal above from such things as your childhood, saturday mornings, or recent forays into tv nostalgia.  It's Jetta, from the Misfits.  My three submissions in the show are hats of course, all made from chickens sourced at my dear friends' farm.  As the pieces came together and I listened to MIA's "Bad Girls" song on repeat (I cannot stress enough how much of an inspiration this video has been on every single facet of my life) , these identities started rearing their naughty heads.

Jetta is composed of a Brahma Hen mounted atop a vintage pillbox cap.

Sparkly embellishments abound, of course.

I'll bet you remember most clearly Pizzazz, the leader of the Misfits.  Man, what a bitch.

This Polish rooster was just dripping with attitude  (wait until you see the spurs on this cock) and came to be Pizzazz quite naturally.

I see you!

This guy is also perched atop a vintage hat, this one an old mink pillbox.

Last and never least is Roxanne. Did you know she was from Philly?  Of course she was.  And I'll bet she walked around with a razor blade stashed in her mouth, Goretti girl style.

Roxy is a Buff Orpington Hen with a bad-ass beak piercing, nestled firmly into another vintage pillbox hat.  I should mention that the brass sculptural elements are from a remarkable lamp I trash-picked one Sunday morning- a time which I never would have been out and about except for walking what was at the time a brand new puppy.  So thank you, Jonesy, for that.

So that's that. In keeping with my theme I've whipped up a poultry themed ensemble which I will be tweeting and facebooking and blogging all about so stay tuned should you be so inclined.

Along with the show opening, I'm pretty pumped to catch some good comedy in LA (I'm a stand-up hound, did you know that?) and perusing some estate sales.   Or napping in a hammock and eating some stellar sushi.  For now, toodleooooooo!

"My pets are my children"

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.


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.


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




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!



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.

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