Creative Animal Taxidermy

Some people like to go beyond just preserving an animal as nature made it, and like to make a few... improvements. The goals may be to product fake mythological animals, objects of fine art, or just amusement. A few of the more interesting examples are shown below.

Frauds and Tall Tales

Back in the time when people still believed that some mythical creature might exist, there was a trade in hoax chimeras. One famous example being a "hydra" specimen owned by the mayor of Hamburg in 1735. It was revealed by Carl Linnaeus to be made from a combination of weasel and snake skins.

Hydra
Hydra

Photo credit: Smath. / Foter.com / CC BY

There is also a long tradition of making openly acknowledged fraudulent animals such as the jackalope and furry trout.

Anthropomorphic Animals

There is a very long tradition of stuffing animals in human poses and clothing. This was particularly popular during the Victorian era when entire dioramas were created. Like the Walter Potter's "Kitten Wedding". Some more modern examples created by Shelly Haase can be seen at the Gopher Hole Museum in Alberta Canada (see right).

Modern anthropomorphized animal taxidermy may be a bit more tongue-in-cheek. Like this overly literal computer mouse.

Creating Mythical Creatures

One popular theme is the recreation of chimera from myth and legend. After all, all fo the necessary parts are available in nature, just waiting for the perfect assembly.

Serena Brewer is a master of this peculiar art. Her website shows fine examples including griffins, two-headed beasts, and flying cats and rabbits.

Pictured "Unicorn, 2005"

Preserving Modified Animals

Sometimes taxidermy is used to keep and display and animal that was modified when ot was alive. Personally I think working with dead animals is 'interesting' enough. Causing them pain to make works of art crosses a line.

Pictured: Arielle by Wim Delvoye, 2006

Steampunk

A recent development has been 'steampunk' taxidermy which combines mounted animals with steam area inspired clockwork and mechanical sci fi elements. Lisa Black is one of the earlier and more promant taxidermists in thos area. Her "Fixed'--Blackbird" is shown right.

Kelly McCallum is another artist who has produced some more darker steampunk mash-ups as well as other disturbing taxidermy including elements of jewellry and shock art (such as mounts complete with preserved maggots).

Ron Pippen makes complex animal/technology hubrid mounts that are frequently displayed in galleries.

Jewellry

Perhaps the best known taxidermy jeweler is Reid Peppard. Wearing any of his pieces would certainly make a statement (example shown right).

Julia deVille is another artists who creates bizarre jewelry from the remains of birds and mice. And MorbidCurio Taxidermy makes rodent taxidermy and jewelry pieces that are bizarrely cute.

If full taxidermy is a bit much for your stomach and/or budget, many crafters create fascinating gothic jewelry out of small bones and skulls. For example Ravenof-Slys (see Etsy shop)

Furniture

Just to show that interesting taxidermy is not a new thing, this Grizzly chair dates from 1865.

See also:

Constructions

Some creature are really creations of an entirely different creature, but using skins, bones and other animals parts--such as Juan Cabana's mermaid and other monsters.

Merly Smith created a sculpture that gives the appearance of animal taxidermy turning into designer luggage. If this idea seems crazy, well artist Carlee Fernandez turned actual exotic animals into prosaic items such as rolling suitcases.

Pets

Some companies such as Pets Forever specialise in preserving your pet in taxidermy. Others provide the cheaper service of freeze-drying the entire animal.  However most people seem to perceive this kind of memorial as a little strange, at best.

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thefoxtrail profile image

thefoxtrail 3 years ago from Wales, UK

Excellent article on taxidermy!


Shaddie profile image

Shaddie 20 months ago from Washington state

Awesome !

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