Saturday, February 22, 2014

My Beautiful Bird

Drying Final Pose

BOOM! LOOK AT THAT! Amazing, isn't it? I just got back from my first taxidermy class today and I'm still giddy. SO HAPPY. I'm not saying I reconstructed the best bird ever-- in fact, I think the girl next to me did the best hen ever. I'm just over the moon at how well run and awesome the class was. I learned a lot and feel like if I ever did want to taxidermy another chicken on my own (which I don't believe I will do) I totally could. I love that my bird is tailor posed for the space designated for it. I love my bird more than any number of cooler taxidermy pieces because I constructed it. Me. My hands.

Of course, the smell of chicken haunts me. Am so happy I didn't have a poopy-butt chicken like some of the other girls did... and girls it was. The instructor was a dude but he said that of all the classes he's been teaching through Paxton's Gate, he's only had 5 dudes. Class size is limited to 6 I believe, but we only had 5. The instructor was Geoff Vassallo and the class was run by Paxton's Gate. Pricey, and LONG (6+ hrs) but I would highly recommend it if you've any interest. I don't know if I'd do another bird class (maybe if I could request something smaller?) but there's a squirrel class that I'm rather on the fence about... if anyone else wanted to do it, I believe I'd be interested.

In processBird Beginning

For someone who hasn't handled raw meat much/at all, I think I did remarkably well. I think I was pretty good at, and enjoyed, the basic skinning stuff. Cutting through the muscle & mean wasn't that bad either. The head though... ugh, I was defeated. The instructor did all things involving the head interior for me, which was very nice of him. I'd say that was the best thing about the class-- he'd help as much or as little as you wanted and had a really great attitude the entire time.

Classmate's pose

I was definitely the most n00b there-- one of the girls had already skinned 2 ducks before (but failed to mount them), one of them had worked for Paxton's Gate before and had a number of dead animals in her freezer, one worked with mounting bones a lot (but never skins), and one was ridiculously gothy and absolutely cool with all the blood & guts & dead-ness. I think the above mounting by the girl who had already skinned 2 animals (and had 3 more in her freezer at home to work with after this class) did a stunning job-- and this after she had come in late and gotten the last bird that no one wanted. This cute little peeking through the wing feathers, head tilt, wide eyes, a lowered tail. So good!

Anyway, my bird is pinned in place with feathers taped up for some quality posing. Will probably take some better pictures later once the rigging can come down. I'm quite fond of my extra touches-- miss-matched eye colors and a number of feathers tucked under her toes, as if she were standing in a barnyard.

I've a number of in-progress posts that are a bit too gorey to post willy-nilly on the Net. Let me know in person if you're interested and I can flip through them/tell you more!