Thursday

My Taxidermy

Today I'm talking about something I've put off for over 2 years: My taxidermy. I know this is a controversial subject and there are a lot of people who don't agree with it so I'm sorry if this post isn't for you. However, I also know there are a lot of people who are interested and have encouraged me to post this so here we go!

Back in 2013, I found out about Stuff and Nonsense taxidermy classes hosted in St Bart's Hospital, London and it seemed right up my street! I have always had quite unusual opinions on what qualifies as beautiful and I'm fascinated by death, so taxidermy is really interesting to me. For me, there is something stunning about retaining the beauty of an animal forever and honouring its life. I don't personally agree with dressing them up or "playing" with them as that is where it crosses into distasteful for me, but preserving an animal as it was in life is beautiful.

My first class was based around rats and the host, Amanda, talked us through the whole process and explained how to look after our animals to keep them in good condition. For the most part it was really easy, but the eyes are very tricky! I imaginatively named him Ratty and he sits nicely in my living room. I have to hold him up because the little fella won't stand up on his own.
A few months later, I went along to a second class, which used gerbils. They're much smaller than rats, and their fur sheds very easily, so this was a little more tricky but most of the process was exactly the same. Again, the eyes were problematic but Gerby (I clearly have an issue with names) still looks lovely to me, even if he is a bit bedraggled! I now feel confident enough to create my own without attending a class which is something I'm thinking of doing over summer.

For my last birthday, Rich bought me my first piece of taxidermy that was made by somebody else: A lovely, fluffy duckling named... can you guess?... Ducky. I specifically asked for the smallest, fattest one and that is exactly what I got! Ducky lives in a bell jar on my desk which is perfect for displaying him while keeping him away from anything that might damage him. I'm also on the lookout for jars that fit Ratty and Gerby, but they're a bit more difficult to find in this size.

Although I know taxidermy might not be to everyone's tastes, I absolutely love it and I'm looking forward to expanding my collection!

26 comments :

  1. Noo! I'm so glad you shared this - it isn't something I'd do myself, but it's fascinating to see other people's hobbies and what interests them. Taxidermy seems like something that takes great skill, so even though it's slightly unconventional (and one that may not go down on a CV) it's certainly an interesting one to have!

    little miss fii || Fii x

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  2. I really like this post - I don't have an "opinion" on taxidermy really because tbh, I don't know enough or think enough about it but it's really interesting to read about someone who has such an unusual hobby! I can completely understand your reasoning behind it, wanting to preserve these animals as they were (dressing them up crosses the line for me too) and honouring their life because their lives matter too. I have lots of questions I'd love to ask you about this too to find out more! :) The duckling is super cute btw! xo

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  3. Aw Ducky is so adorable! Not that Gerby and Ratty aren't of course. I just have a thing for ducks. Just thought I'd let you know that John Lewis have a few decent sized bell jars at the moment that might fit the little guys. :-).

    Much Love
    AJ xx

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  4. Such an interesting post Becky! I have an irrational fear of seeing dead animals so can't be around stuffed ones but that's such a unique and interesting hobby to have which is great, and I have to admit, Ducky is cute!

    http://filthypaws-and-silkydrawers.blogspot.co.uk/

    xx

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  5. I don't think there's anything wrong with it personally. Makes me think of the Jackass episode where Johnny Knoxville takes his grandma in to ask if he can get her stuffed. How do you obtain an animal to stuff? Are they killed for this reason or found dead? Sorry know nothing about it!

    x GNAR MOSH x

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    1. Haha that's so funny!

      The ones I use are bought from pet shops. They're intended for use as feed for snakes.

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    2. Ahh! Makes sense. Good to know.

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  6. I love this post, taxidermy is so fascinating! I kind of want a taxidermy-d pet (that's totally the wrong term I know but my mind is blank), I'd be much better at taking care of it than a live one heh. Your pieces are lovely :)

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  7. I'm definitely glad for you that you posted this, as it's honest and 100% YOU! That's what matters. If I myself am being honest, I'd be creeped out and it's just not for me. But I totally respect that you love it, and you aren't being distasteful in anyway like you mentioned :) Go you for sharing this!
    Jemma xx

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  8. Oh, I just thought of a question, as I'm really baffled now about the process. Are they killed for this reason? x

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    1. No no! Not at all! At least mine aren't and I would never use an animal that has been! Mine are from pet shops that are intended as feed for snakes.

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  9. I've always been interested in taxidermy, glad you posted!

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  10. So interesting! It's nice to see others with different hobbies. I don't know much about taxidermy so I don't have an against thing. Plus it's all over museums. Such little cuties you have though xx

    www.throughneweyesx.com

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  11. I saw you talk about taxidermy on Twitter, but I just assumed that you had a collection, not that you actually did it yourself! So fascinating!

    Uncia + Tigris

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  12. Such an interesting post! I'm not sure if I could keep taxidermy in my house, but there is something about them that I find fascinating. These three critters are all adorable- especially ducky. :)

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  13. In my opinion, taxidermy is okay as long as we don't kill the animals for the sole purpose of stuffing them and making them a decoration for our house. But that's just me, though, not judging you or anything ;)

    Dara | Hola Darla | @DarlaOct

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  14. This is an amazing post,
    I find it really interesting, I thought they were killed for the purpose, so I found it really sad. But after reading the above comments and seeing they're not - it's actually quite lovely to preserve an animal like this.

    Sorry if this is weird, but how do you do the eyes? Are they beads or fake?
    Because (from a science view) wouldn't it eventually go all, mushy?

    Day Dreams & Daisy Chains

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    1. Eyes are really tricky because it's such a delicate area to preserve. The eyes themselves are just black beads but it's difficult getting them in the right place and keeping them there.

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    2. Thank you - it's very interesting!
      What a great hobby to have :)

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  15. Taxidermy is a fascinating thing! I'm with you, it has to be to preserve the animals as they were, to admire them as animals, not to dress them up or make them into something funny. To me that disrespects the animal's life.

    You've probably seen some of my posts about the different natural history museums we have been to and the zoology museums, so you know I'm all about the "weird shit" haha. With the museums, my understanding is those animals have been part of the museum (or at least made into taxidermy animals) 10s of years ago, maybe at the time they were solely killed for sport but now that are there to be admired. The same for things in formaldehyde, which I sometimes enjoy more! They have been like that for years and years... from times when it was acceptable to collect animals by killing them.

    I think I got off point. Either way, I think taxidermy is fascinating.

    Good for you for sharing. Own your joys in life!

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  16. thank you for sharing! i think taxidermy is a great art but i dont like to see animals being killed for it to have 'better fur' or whatever some people might use as excuse (so yours are ok I guess XD). I have one piece, a bat that I was able to buy when a school closed down and sold their taxidermy stuff on ebay (since i have no idea if it was killed for the taxidermy i hope it is enough of an excuse that it was saved from waste because noone else seemed to have wanted it but me O_O and i love this little guy) I don't think I would want to take a class in it though... and good luck on future eyes, they really seem to be the most difficult thing for everyone!

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  17. I am dying (no pun intended) to attend a taxidermy class! I love taxidermy and everything surrounding it, I find it fascinating and I love how pretty things look. I currently only have a butterfly/moth collection which kinda counts as taxidermy as they're dead preserved animals right? But oh man I want a full collection of furry animals in jars to go with them and my antlers.
    Your duckling is adorable! I want one so bad!
    Kloe xx
    skullsandkisses.com

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  18. Taxidermy has always been something which interests me - not the Victorian-era things brought back by hunters and then transformed (I'm thinking elephant feet turned into stools or umbrella holders, that sort of thing) but good quality taxidermy as shown in your photos. Something which respects the life of the animal. Love that duckling!

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  19. I think Taxidermy is fascinating. I don't think I could ever do the process myself as it just makes me feel a little squeamish, but I don't think it's weird! I would actually like to collect stuff like skulls (of animals of course ;) hahah!). I want to find a skull, clean it and keep that but yeah... It's an interesting hobby to have!

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  20. I loved this post! It's definitely a topic I'm fascinated by so thank you for posting. That Ducky is adorable! I hope you find jars for the others too x

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  21. Such a great post Becky, I'm so glad you decided to post it. I don't have a problem with taxidermy, and would love to try a class myself if I wasn't so squeamish. They're all so cute though!

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