Date: Sunday, May 17th
Admission: $195 (includes all materials for use in class, and complementary museum admission for the day. Students go home with their own finished piece, and the knowledge to create their own pieces in the future.)
Limited class size of 8 people
EXPERIENCE LEVEL-Beginner to Intermediate
In this exclusive workshop, we will cover all the basics and specific techniques applicable to small bird taxidermy and the "fancywork" that goes into creating a successful mount. As cute as they are, English sparrows are considered an invasive species in the US. This class will cover their nuanced anatomy, and their historic and symbolic significance as well. This intensive class will be extremely hands on, covering everything from proper skinning, fleshing, degreasing/washing, tumbling and grooming feathers, to the dynamics of classically built bird bodies, dealing with bird necks, cleaning and wiring wing bones, and preserving or re-attaching feet. We will pay special attention to fitting custom made forms (students have the option of making a form with wrapped body or a carved rigid form), creating a stable armature, hidden stitches, and how to arrange feather patterns. We will discuss and use various carding techniques and drying set ups tailored to the individual poses of each bird. Students will have the option of mounting their bird on a flat block, dowel, or branch.
Students will follow along as the instructor works, seeing the techniques in action, with plenty of individual attention. Due to the delicate nature of bird skin, it is ideal that students have had previous taxidermy experience, or come prepared with a good measure of patience. Reference photos for finished standing, sitting, and flying poses will be provided for use and inspiration in class via tablet or smartphone. Students will go home with their creations, and instructions for maintaining their pieces (keeping feathers clean, ideal drying set-ups, etc).
Each student will leave class with a fully finished piece, and the knowledge to create their own pieces in the future. 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.
Divya Anantharaman is a Morbid Anatomy Museum Taxidermist in Residence and a Brooklyn based artist whose taxidermy practice was sparked by a lifelong fascination with the intersection of natural mythology and science. With a combination of self and professional training, and an inspiring class (Sue Jeiven's popular Anthropomorphic Mouse Taxidermy Class at Observatory!), she has found her calling in creating sickly sweet and sparkly critters. A trophy winner in the 2013 Philadelphia Alt Taxidermy 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 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
Also, some technical notes:
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)
All animals are ethically sourced- nothing was killed for this class. Animals used in this class are discards from the feeder/pet food industry, naturally deceased, or discards from the food service industry.
Please do not bring any raw dead animals with you to the class.