In this intensive 2 day workshop, we will cover all the basics of beginners taxidermy, focusing specifically on small bird taxidermy. The basics of skull cleaning and wet specimen will also be discussed. Taxidermy is a process of deconstruction and reconstruction, and this class be divided as such, giving students the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the process at their own pace.
DAY 1 of the workshop will focus on deconstruction. After a review of basic bird anatomy, with a focus on skeletal structure, muscle groupings, and identifying feather growth patterns, students will use this knowledge to approach their specimen. After getting comfortable with the tools to be used, we will cover the skinning techniques unique to birds, learn how to work with delicate skin, how to repair holes if any are made, and how to clean wing and leg bones in preparation for assembly. Students will also learn the importance of thoroughly fleshing and degreasing/washing, with tips on how to ensure a skin is totally clean in order for preservatives to work effectively. The cleaned skins will be labeled with the student names and stored. Tracings, measurements, and patterns will be made from the carcass in preparation for day 2. Students can choose to take their carcass home for dissection or creating a wet specimen (instructions will be provided).
DAY 2 of the workshop will be all about reconstruction. Students will custom build a body form, based on the anatomical tracings they made on day 1, using the traditional technique of wrapped body. We will cover how to create a stable armature for the finished bird when wiring the wings and legs. Students will also learn how to sew for taxidermy, with a focus on smooth and hidden stitches. We will also cover grooming, carding, and drying techniques based on the finished pose desired. After the bird is assembled, students will be able to mount their bird on a real skull or branch, and customize the mount as they desire. With the cleaned skulls as reference, we will also discuss a number of methods for bone cleaning and assembly, and how to prepare natural materials, such as plants and branches, for use in taxidermy.
Reference photos for finished standing, sitting, and flying poses will be provided for use and inspiration in class via tablet or smartphone, although students are encouraged to bring their own. Instructions for care and maintenance will be given, and students will be instructed on how to do final finishing work after the mount dries, such as sculpting eye rings and airbrushing.
The instructor will be providing demonstrations of each step, and allowing students plenty of individual attention and opportunities to ask questions. A supply and resource list can be emailed to students. We will also cover the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and other applicable laws for working with birds and legally obtaining specimens. It is advised that students bring a bag or small box to transport their finished pieces.
The birds used in this class are humanely sourced, they are naturally deceased or a byproduct of the food industry.
Beginning Entomology – EVENING CLASS $70pp
6:30pm-10pm, October 23rd – Class size limited to 12
In this class, students will learn everything about basic butterfly preparation. We will discuss harvesting and drying specimen, rehydrating dried specimen, and in class we will practice handling techniques, spreading, mounting, the nuances of posing, display, and maintenance. An assortment of ethically sourced butterflies in various sizes, shapes, and colors will be provided. Students will learn how to put together and maintain their own rehydration chamber, things to check for during all stages of the process to ensure a clean and successful end product, and tips for gentle handling. Students will also build their very own spreading boards for use in class and beyond. We will also cover how to select museum quality materials for displays. Display cases for finished butterflies will be provided
As always, all specimen are ethically sourced. We will be reviewing the origins of the assorted butterflies used in class, how students can ethically and legally source specimen, and suggested, reputable suppliers. If there are any excess specimen left, they will be available for students to take home for practice and future use.
Students go home with their own prepared butterfly, a spreading board that can be used for future projects, an extra butterfly for practice, and the knowledge to create their own pieces in the future. It is recommended students bring a small bag or box to transport their pieces.
Divya Anantharaman is a taxidermist in residence at the Morbid Anatomy Museum in New York City. She is an artist whose taxidermy practice was sparked by a lifelong fascination with the intersection of natural mythology and science, and has always specialized in the arts related to leather, fur, and hide. With a combination of self and professional training, she has found her calling in creating sickly sweet and sparkly critters, specializing in small and unusual mammals and birds. Winner of a Best in Show trophy and Best in Category ribbon at the GSTA taxidermy show and competition, her work and classes have been profiled in numerous publications as varied as National Geographic, The NY Times, The Cut, Vice, BBC Science Radio, and on hit Discovery/Science Channel TV show Oddities. She has shown work in galleries across the U.S. and has traveled nationally and internationally to teach and lecture on both traditional and rogue taxidermy. She is also a member of the M.A.R.T. (Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermists) and the G.S.T.A. (Garden State Taxidermists Association). You can find out more at www.friendsforevertaxidermy.com
We use NO harsh or dangerous chemicals.
Everyone will be provided with gloves and sanitary equipment.
All animals are disease free.
Although there will not be a lot of blood or gore, a somewhat strong constitution and maturity are necessary. We will be seeing meat. In this manner, a good taxidermist prides themselves on working cleanly!
In consideration of other students, please do not dissect carcasses in class. (You are welcome to take the carcass and dissect on your own, instruction can be provided)
Please do not bring any raw dead animals with you to the class.
Minors under 18 are allowed in class with the supervision of a parent/guardian over 18. The parent/guardian does not need to participate or buy an extra ticket if they are only there to supervise.
Purchase your ticket soon, spaces fill fast!
*Please note: Because of the advance costs of bringing in a guest artist, tuition fees cannot be refunded or credited towards another class or workshop. Thank you for your understanding.
Casual Taxidermy with Teta Kixa (check out her Press video here)
OCTOBER 10 & 11
NOVEMBER 14 & 15
DECEMBER 12 & 13
RESERVE YOUR SEAT TODAY (Halloween costume sidekick!)
WHAT WILL YOU LEARN?
You will be guided through the steps of skinning, stuffing, posing, and pinning your specimen. At the end of the day, you will come away with a figure that is set to begin its curing process.
WHAT WILL YOU GET?
You will be provided with a kit that includes:
- rubber gloves
- a rat specimen
- bead eyes
- stitching materials
- and all supplies and the help required to create a finished taxidermic rat.
WHAT SHOULD YOU BRING?
No special equipment or supplies are required of participants.
Although the process is less messy than you might think, it’s advisable to wear closed-toed shoes and clothing you won’t mind getting a bit dirty.
We will provide some supplies for posing, but you may want to bring props and accessories. (Note that an adult rat is about the size of a Barbie doll, but with a more realistic waistline. Keep this in mind when choosing furniture or props.)
Skinning and stuffing
Basic hide skinning techniques as related to rats.
During this time, we will go through sourcing, skinning, stuffing and stitching up your new rat.
Take a break, or continue working on your piece, it’s your choice.
Posing, Pinning and Final Touches
We will go through positioning and pinning, drying times and proper care of your new rat. You will have some time to work on posing.