Taxidermy in lockdown

I am incredibly grateful to have my workshop here at home, so I’ve still been able to get some work done over this very strange time in all of our lives!

I have recently found the courage to work on a very special specimen that I’ve been putting off for years, due to the fact they are notoriously hard to work with for reasons unknown. They are a bird that are known to have issues when processing, such as ‘feather slip’ where the feathers fall out very easily due to bacteria getting in to the epidermis.

Kingfisher Feathers

I really, really didn’t want to mess this one up, so I took some very deep breaths and prepared myself, took my time and I am SO relieved to say that it came out ok! It is of course, the Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), the vibrant jewel found along our lakes waterways in the UK.

If you’re interested in purchasing this piece, please click here for more details

Also completed this week, is this gorgeous Barn Owl that is going home this week. She’s going to be placed upon a beam in a modern barn conversion, so she will feel right at home!

Taxidermy Barn Owl LOG B035 CITES:577296/05

If you want to keep up to date with what I’m currently working on, please do give me a follow on instagram @taxidermyco – see you there!

Covid 19 Update

I’m so sorry, I know that everyone is utterly fed up of hearing about it now, but this is a necessary post for moving forward during these uncertain times.

I’m still going to keep on creating and making taxidermy from home, as always as long as I am healthy. But I know that taxidermy isn’t going to be a top priority for everyone over the next coming weeks/months.

Taking this in to consideration, I’m not expecting everyone to pay for existing works carried out right now and I’m happy to hold on to commissioned work for as long as needed, until the climate is more stable.

For clients that are still able to pay for works, obviously this is hugely welcomed! I am keeping a close eye on the postal service’s advise given the current situation. As I am considered vulnerable due to having an autoimmune condition, I will be self isolating so I won’t be visiting the post office any time soon.

Instead I’m going to look in to parcel pick up/drop off services whereby I don’t need to come in to contact with anyone. Please allow me some extra time whilst I figure this out.

For customers collecting works, I will arrange for parcels to be collected from my workshop without me being present, as long as payment is received prior to doing so. Obviously this will be difficult as I love to talk to people in person about their commissions, don’t think I am being rude! I am taking the current situation very seriously and I am thinking of your safety, and people who are more vulnerable.

For people still wanting to buy taxidermy from my online store, I will still be trading but please keep an open mind that shipping will be delayed during these uncertain times.

Best wishes to everyone – please be sensible, take care of each other, practice social distancing to protect your family, yourself and our NHS.

It’s not going to be pleasant cooped up, but our short term inconvenience will protect and save many lives over the long term.

This won’t last forever and we will get through this.

Stay strong.

Krysten

UPDATE 25/03/2020

Due to the recent restrictive lockdown measures in the UK, I’m now going to be postponing all orders until further notice.

I am in self isolation due to chronic health conditions. Regardless of this, we have been instructed by the government to not go out, unless it is absolutely essential anyway. I don’t want to put a strain on our delivery men, who are still keeping the country going by delivering essential items.

I hugely appreciate anyone that chooses to support me by making a purchase during this time, but please be aware, there will be a significant delay in getting these orders posted out.

Thank you for your cooperation and patience.

Please stay home.

Krysten

‘Friar Tuck’ Gloster Canary Taxidermy Commission

Now, I don’t usually take on pet commissions, but when a client got in touch about her beloved Gloster Canary, aptly named ‘Friar Tuck’, that had just passed, I couldn’t resist this one.


As I’ve had a lot of experience with birds, I feel a lot more confident taking on such a project as opposed to say, a dog or a cat (which I cannot see myself doing in the future at this point in time) as they carry so much more emotion and expression than birds.

They are still filled with just the same amount of character, none the less! I explained to the client that taxidermy is just a representation of a former animal and cannot carry their ‘spark’ or energy that you may have remembered him by. Once agreed to these conditions, I was happy to proceed.

I had lots of reference images of Friar Tuck from when he was alive that I payed closed attention too when I was modelling the bird. A as a result, the client is happy with how he looks and said:

Oh he looks absolutely amazing! You have done such a good job of capturing his character.

Which is always a massive relief to hear, especially when working on a bird with a bit more significance! This project was finished with installing him in to a nice glass dome with some moss that compliments his plumage well. He’ll be returning to his home next week.

2020 is here!

First post of 2020 albeit a little late!

What have I been up to since the start of the year? Well, for starters I was desperate to get this Roe doe complete so I could have a fresh start to 2020, after putting it back in the freezer for so many months after getting frustrated.

I encountered a lot of issues, plus she had an unusually small head compared to her neck which meant lots of work to modify the form. I’m happy with her considering the circumstances.

I’m nowhere near as confident with mammals as I am with birds, but I hope to improve my mammal skills this year.

Taxidermy Roe Doe Shoulder Mount
Taxidermy Roe Doe Shoulder Mount Commission

Call me the DIY queen!

Also on the agenda was to refurbish my workshop, as my existing work bench was falling to pieces. I took on this project myself as I thought it didn’t look too difficult, looking at video tutorials on youtube.

Heck, was I wrong. They always make it look easier than it is! Throw in chronic fatigue syndrome and relentless pain in to the mix, it took twice as long as what it probably should have done, but I am SO happy with how it’s turning out.

I now have a super sturdy work bench that allows for objects to be placed down and not roll off immediately, AND cupboards that open and close and everything. They’re not the best, I’ll admit, but they are functional which is the most important part, right?!

I’m now well on the way to having a sufficient enough workspace that should last me the next few years at least, ready for all of my exciting projects!

Follow me on Instagram to see what goes on behind the scenes and what I’m working on right now! @TaxidermyCo

Stone Curlew Taxidermy Refurbish

Earlier this year, the Breckland Team of Natural England came across an antique, cased ‘corncrake’ specimen in a local antique shop.

They were very quick to realise that the specimen definitely was NOT a corncrake, but that of a Stone Curlew. The Eurasian Stone Curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus) is a bird very close to my heart, and the reason I met my other half! They are a very rare visitor to the UK and I’m lucky enough to live right where their breeding grounds are in East Anglia.

I’m even luckier to get exclusive access to them as I get to tag along with my other half who monitors them in the summer months in and around the Brecks. They are fascinating to watch and are FULL of character with those amazing yellow eyes (thought to have cured jaundice back in the Victorian era).

When I was given the taxidermy specimen, it was in a rather sorry state.

He was on the wonk, and needed some serious TLC. To begin with, I carefully prised open the case and removed the Stonie. I was careful and wore gloves and a dust mask as antique specimens are known to contain harmful arsenic which was a preservation method in those days.

I managed to clean off quite a lot of muck and dust from him, using diluted alcohol solution and a hairdryer to dry off and blow away existing dust.

Secondly, I reconstructed the eye and gave him some eyelids to make him appear less, uh, wired. Paintwork and rewiring was the final stage before cleaning the case.

I decided to make the habitat a bit more realistic and typical of Breckland heath, as well as painting the background of Weeting Heath – one of the Stone Curlew’s breeding grounds where you can get great views of them in the summer.

Before.

After.

Natural England were really happy with the end result and they now take the taxidermy Stone Curlew around with them on their educational and training talks!

Autumn Update!

I’m so sorry for the lack of updates recently!

I have been beyond busy completing existing commissions and also preparing for two exhibitions in the winter.

Alongside this, I have also been rebranding myself as ‘Krys the Creator’, giving my art page a bit more love and attention. I made a little promotional video recently, as people generally like to get to know the person behind the social media accounts!  you can view that here:

I’ve been developing a lot of really cool projects recently, still playing around with my new found medium of wood and resin. It’s SO fun to work with.

It takes a long time to perfect the casting, setting and sanding through all the grits to polish up the resin again, but the results are SO worth it.

I want some show stoppers to take to the exhibitions and I think mixing wood and resin with taxidermy is a marriage made in heaven. Here’s my latest creation, which is awaiting a gorgeous taxidermy jay (my favourite bird) to go on top. Jays hoard and stash acorns and I thought this was an unusual way of illustrating their behaviour and ecology, as well as looking beautiful.

Wood and Resin art taxidermy
Art Fair East Krysten Newby Logo

Art Fair East will be the first of the two events I’m exhibiting at. It’s a very prestigious art fair and I’m so lucky and honoured to be a part of it! I’ll be taking a mix of my fine wildlife art and a few select pieces of my ethical taxidermy.

VIP PRIVATE VIEW Thursday 28th November 6pm to 9pm

FAIR OPEN TO PUBLIC Friday 29th November 10.30am to 5.30pm

FAIR OPEN TO PUBLIC Saturday 30th November 10.30am to 6.00pm

FAIR OPEN TO PUBLIC Sunday 1st December 10.30am to 5pm

The second show I’ll be at is the ‘Nightfair Before Christmas’ at the same location in Norwich. I’ll be able to take much more to this event, including art, taxidermy, my needle felting cuties and jewellery.

I’d love to see you there if you can make it! It takes place on the evening of 14th December, 2019.

click on the images to the left for more info.

SALVAGED – A Buzzard destined for the bin…

A few months ago, I was so excited to work on a dark morph Common Buzzard I have had in the freezer for some time.

It looked in good condition, so I went ahead and skinned it, cleaned and washed it, as well as hand-carving a mannequin for the perfect fit.

All in all, this process takes the best part of 8 hours.

When I got to the final (and best) step of the washing process, drying the skin, to my horror I noticed the entire epidermis of the face was sliding off. (this is known in the taxidermy industry as feather/fur slip)

Crying was the next part of this process.

After sharing my experience with fellow vulture friends, someone suggested I make a falconry mount with a hood to disguise the head as the rest of the body was in relatively good condition. So that’s what I did!

I’m not overly happy with the end result, but it’s much better than it would have looked in the bin! If you’re interested in purchasing this unusual piece of taxidermy, please click the button below.

BUY NOW

Serama Chicken Taxidermy Commission

The smallest chicken in the world

I was recently given the challenge of recreating a beloved pet Serama chicken, ‘Artemis’ –  the smallest breed of chicken in the world!


I knew this project would be a challenge, as it involved casting the head. I’ve cast many heads before, but this one was different as it was being used for the exterior and is the main focal point of the mount, so it had to be near perfect!

It is possible to taxidermy the whole specimen with the head comb and wattle in tact, but the disadvantage of this is shrinkage.

The skin shrinks as it’s drying, so if I had left it, it would look a lot less ‘plump’ and alive once complete, plus having a resin cast head will make it less appealing to any nasty pests that want to have a feast in the future.

Carefully skinning the

Resin Cast of a Chicken Head for Taxidermyhead where feather meets bare skin was very nerve wracking – the head is the area you do NOT want to mess up on a taxidermy mount!

Once I had done this and wiped the sweat from my brow, I injected the comb with water, pinned everything in position, inserted glass eyes and placed in the freezer overnight.

By the end of the next day, I have made a silicone mould of Artemis’s frozen head.

After the silicone had cured, I removed the head from the mould and poured in the fast cast resin. It took a few attempts to get the most suitable cast, as previous attempts had air bubbles and parts of the comb didn’t come out very well. Also, I only had limited attempts as I only had a limited amount of glass eyes that were set in to the resin cast, eek!

Painting the head was the next step – I did this with a whole palette of oil paints, using photos of Artemis as reference to get the colour right.

Resin Cast of a Chicken Head for Taxidermy

Thank you, Kimberly!

In all honesty, I would not have been able to carry out this project if I didn’t have guidance from the fabulous Kimberly Bunting of Flock Taxidermy.

She made a fantastic, thoroughly detailed tutorial on how to cast a chicken head which made me feel a lot more confident taking on this project, so I would like to say a massive THANK YOU to her for doing this!

The unique nature of the Serama Chicken’s posture made it more difficult than your average bird to pose, but overall I’m so happy with how this little champ turned out.

Now he can be reunited with his owner!

Taxidermy Crow (Corvus corone) – Latest specimen in the taxidermy workshop

Taxidermy Carrion Crow


Corvids are my most favourite species to work with, especially big old crows like this one!

Unfortunately this adult was part of a pair found deceased next to one another as a result to a fight of the death, where nobody won!

The injuries beneath the skin were really quite horrific, I must say.

This handsome taxidermy crow will be for sale once dry and complete.

Coming soon! Wood, Resin Feather Pendants

Wood, Resin & feather pendants

Recently, I’ve been experimenting with the art of wood and resin.

I always have odds and ends in my workshop from fallen feathers to little bones and such and I think I’ve found a way of making good use of them!

Here’s my first prototype of a wood and resin pendant with a Jay feather cast in to it.

It took a long while to perfect sanding through all of the grits and polishing to make the resin clear again, but I’m so happy with how this has turned out.

They will soon be for sale, so keep your eyes peeled!

Taxidermy starlings, latest work!

Taxidermy starlings

I’ve recently completed this gorgeous pair of common starlings.

Beautiful birds to work with! Although considered a bit drab and even common pests by many people, they actually have this stunning multi-colour iridescence to them.

No photo will be able to capture these stunning colours, but once you see for yourself when they shimmer in the sunlight, you’ll be amazed!

I also experimented with a new base technique, using weight to counterbalance I set up this shelf mount.

The unusual branch stems from the oak base and hangs downwards over the shelf, giving a dynamic appearance.

Find out more about the listing and purchase this unique piece of taxidermy below.

[sf_button colour=”accent” type=”standard” size=”standard” link=”https://taxidermyco.uk/product/contemporary-taxidermy-starlings/” target=”_self” icon=”fas fa-shopping-basket” dropshadow=”no” rounded=”no” extraclass=””]BUY NOW[/sf_button]

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