Posted on:September 21, 2015
If you have ever wanted to learn taxidermy, for art and/or science, here is your chance to learn from experienced and award winning professionals in a true fabrication environment in partnership with the fabrication team at The Evolution Store, a natural history institution in NYC for over 20 years. Now offering workshops in their newly opened fabrication space in Bushwick, this taxidermy class will cover all the basics of beginners taxidermy, focusing specifically on the techniques applicable to small bird taxidermy. 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. The class takes place over Halloween weekend, over 2 afternoons on 10/31 and 11/1 (leaving plenty of time for your evening outings).
TICKETS are very limited and available at http://theevolutionstore.com/evolution-taxidermy-class/
DAY 1 of the workshop is 10/31 from 12-5pm. This day 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 apply this knowledge to their specimen. After getting comfortable with the tools, we will cover skinning techniques unique to birds, learning 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 fleshing and degreasing/washing, with tips on how to ensure a skin is totally clean in order for preservatives to work effectively.
DAY 2 of the workshop is 11/1 from 2-6pm. This day will be all about reconstruction. Students will build a custom made body form, unique to their individual bird’s anatomy, using the traditional technique of wrapped body, or if they choose, carving foam. Wings and legs will be wired, and we will cover how to create a stable armature for the finished bird. 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 mount desired. After the bird is assembled, students will be able to mount their bird on a real skull or preserved branch, and customize the mount as they desire. Reference photos for finished standing, sitting, and flying poses will be provided for use and inspiration in class via tablet or smartphone. Instructions for care and maintenance will be given, and students will also have the option of returning to do finishing work, such as sculpting eye rings and airbrushing.
The instructors 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.
IMPORTANT-The European Starlings used in this class are humanely sourced, as the byproduct of abatement work as they are considered an invasive species in the US. This class will cover their nuanced anatomy, and their historic and symbolic significance as well. No toxic chemicals will be used in this class, and the instcutors will provide students will clean, sanitary equipment. We will also use safe practices such as gloves and professional sanitation procedures.
ABOUT THE INSTRUCTORS:
Divya Anantharaman is a Brooklyn based 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 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
Katie Innamorato is a professionally trained in taxidermy; winning awards and ribbons every year at the Garden State Taxidermist Association competition and convention. She strives to teach proper, professional, traditional techniques to students all over the US and internationally. She is also a rogue taxidermist; being a member of the M.A.R.T. or Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermists. As with all M.A.R.T. members she adheres to strict ethical guidelines when acquiring specimens. Her work has been featured on the hit Science and Discovery Channel TV show, "Oddities," and the spin off show, "Odd Folks Home." She has exhibited work at La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles, CA, among other galleries and museums. Also featured on VICE and in the book Taxidermy Art by Robert Marbury. She has also done lectures and demonstrations at the University of Wisconsin in Eau Claire and at the Institute Library in Connecticut. See more at www.afterlifeanatomy.com
Both instructors are also taxidermists in residence at the Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn, and have taught classes all around the world.