‘Lucky’ Hare’s foot.

Lucky Rabbit's Foot Taxidermy
Taxidermy Process Casting Hares Foot

LUCKY HARES FOOT PROJECT

Why are they so ‘lucky’ anyway?

Hello everyone! have you ever found yourself wanting to know why rabbit’s feet are deemed lucky? Well, I am glad you can join me to find out why with this lovely little taxidermy project!

Since the dawn of humanity, we have always had a fascination and connection with the animals that surround us – hares and rabbits are no exception to that rule!

Being a symbol of fertility and new beginnings, they have learnt themselves a place firmly in folklore and religious traditions around the world. Maybe it is from this positive trait that they have been deemed as being ‘lucky’ animals.

That in it’s own right should be enough of a reason as to why any part of the animal is considered to be a good talisman to carry with you on your persons, but what I discovered seems to leave more questions than answers!

I have learned that a very specific set of circumstances have to be in place to enhance the luck of such an object, such as:

It must be the left hind foot of the rabbit that must be killed by a silver bullet in a graveyard by a cross eyed man on Friday the 13th, under a full moon! (you get extra luck points if it’s killed on the grave of a criminal too, the more evil, the better!)

Thankfully this poor hare didn’t meet the same fate and was found in the clients garden, most likely the result of a hungry fox. I did find a four leaved clover the week I processed this specimen too, so there must be some truth to the legend!

This week on the work bench

Taxidermy Kingfisher Work In Progress

In progress

The latest news from my taxidermy workbench

Hello you, thanks for dropping by!

Summer has finally graced us at last and whilst I’ve found it a little bit too hot in the workshop to do taxidermy this week, it hasn’t stopped me from making myself a massive cup of tea (it’s never too hot for tea, right?!) and planning out my next projects.

I can also take this opportunity to tell you what curiosities have landed on my workbench in the last couple of weeks. I have been rather lucky to work on some really beautiful specimens, including a Kingfisher, Reed Bunting, Magpie and a Rainbow Lorikeet. You can see a ‘behind the scenes’ video of that one which I hope you will find on this page.

I’m starting to find a bit more time now to work on the menagerie of specimens I have in my freezer that are not commissioned pieces, so please keep your eyes peeled over the next few weeks as I’ll be finally adding to my online taxidermy  shop page!

To conclude this blog post, I read an interesting tweet this week by Nature Writer Stephen Moss that during lockdown:

“one-third of adults are more interested in nature; more than half plan to spend more time outdoors; and over two-thirds have discovered that spending time in nature has made them feel happier”

Which fills me with hope for the future of our ever dwindling landscapes and all the beautiful wildlife that resides in it, that we unknowingly depend upon so much. The more people that realise the true value of nature and what it can do for us, the better chance we have of conserving and saving it from the destruction of humanity, we are both the problem and the solution!

Upon reflection of this comment, it’s also made me realise the value of the work I do, for the art of taxidermy produces not just beautiful, inspiring biological snapshots of the world we so admire today, but also future artefacts that can play an important role in advancing our knowledge of the environment and how we can live in it harmoniously with the wildlife we share it with.

The Headless Whooper Project

Casting Whooper Swan Head For Taxidermy

The Swan Project

Curious and curiouser – a taxidermy project for an art installation, featuring headless Whooper Swan

Well…this is certainly ‘up there’ with one of the more ‘alternative’ commissions I have had in a while, or probably ever!

In 2019, an exciting email popped up in my inbox from Toby-Jury Morgan who told me of his ideas for a headless swan in swimming pose for an upcoming art exhibit.

Immediately my interest was peaked and I accepted the challenge! Of course, every challenge is not without obstacles. The first being the legalities of working with swans, in particular Mute Swans (Cygnus olor).

In the UK, we have a plethora of wildlife laws that rightly protect the welfare and population of our fast dwindling, but ever so important, natural areas and the creatures that reside within it. Levels of protection between species status changes based on their state of vulnerability to further decline, which is carefully monitored by conservation and science sectors – it’s something that I have to constantly keep my toe in, as wildlife law is actually a rather big part in the role of a taxidermist and it’s ever evolving. 

However, one law that is not so much based on the ecology of a species, but more so of a traditional, patriotic one is the prohibiting of killing and consumption of Mute Swan. This dates back to absolutely eons ago, where Mute Swans were considered a delicacy and were reserved for the tables and the mouths of the monarchy only! For whatever reason, this law has segwayed itself in to the current day, set out by the Royal Swan Marker and I am therefor not allowed to work or possess any part of a mute swan, unless it’s strictly for educational purposes with permission.

So that leaves me with the almost impossibility of working with the nearest looking species – the Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus). 

Seeing as they’re a winter visitor to the UK and not abundantly seen, I wasn’t expecting to be able to source one, so amazement ensued when a fellow friend and taxidermist Elle Kaye had one lurking in her freezer that she was willing to part with, amazing news, thank you, Elle!

I am not going to lie when I felt a little bit sick with knots in my stomach cutting the head off, as this has always been the main area of focus on a taxidermy mount. 

Toby was happy with the end result and further had the idea that he would like the head after all which I am working on this week. He quizzically positioned on the ceiling, right above the body to create a ‘wormhole’ illusion! I can’t wait to see the piece come together as a whole and wish Toby the best of luck and success with the exhibit.

New Work

Taxidermy Barn Owl
Taxidermists Work Bench

this week in the workshop

The latest specimen 

As mentioned in my previous Taxidermy blog post, I have been working really hard catching up with existing commissions lately and this week I have begun work with this beautiful Barn Owl (Tyto alba).

I find them quite challenging birds to work with due to their delicacy, thin skin that dries quickly and their tendency for their bellies to turn green really quickly! But so far, I’m very happy with the progress I have made on this beauty.

Each Barn Owl I work with has such an individually characterful face which I always try really hard to recreate, constantly looking at reference photos to get that ‘heart’ shape that they are so well associated with.

This poor owl was found by the side of the road after getting hit by a car, but sustained minimal damage which makes me reflect just how fragile life can be.

Follow me on instagram for the latest updates! @Taxidermyco

I’m taking a break.

As from 2021 I have taken the difficult, but most important decision to stop taking on taxidermy commissions for the foreseeable future. This is to help me re-gain focus and manifest the freedom to create the art that I would like to make, that comes straight from my heart.


As a ferociously determined, one-woman band who can’t say ‘no’ to any opportunity given to me, I’ve recently come to the conclusion this is both my biggest strength and my weakness.

This has lead me to accumulate a plethora of taxidermy commissions to keep me occupied for a very long time which is an incredibly fortunate position to be in and I cannot express my gratitude enough for all of the interest and support I have received from clients, friends and family that have landed me to this point in my taxidermy career.

Normally, this would not be a problem to the majority of entrepreneurs, after all, having an endless supply of work is the dream! However, this is the part where my ongoing chronic health issues put a spanner in the works. Although running my own business with this in mind makes me feel incredibly empowered and proud of what I have achieved, on the contrary it can really push me back sometimes.

Taxidermy Red Crested Turaco

It only takes one relapse for me to fall behind and sadly, this has been the case, especially the past year. Each time it happens I find it a little harder to hit targets and get back on track with my commissions and as a result, I am feeling pressure to achieve right now and my health is consequently suffering. I really need to get out of this cycle.

When I first started out my taxidermy endeavours, I did it for me with absolutely no intention to make a career out of it. I discovered a new world that resonated with every single part of who I am. It fulfils my morbid curiosity, my fascination with anatomy and how things work biologically, the huge desire to immerse myself with everything birds and wildlife and I had no idea how linked the art is with wildlife conservation and how educational it can be, which is something I am incredibly passionate about. I absolutely fell in love with the art instantly and knew it was something I had to pursue and I desperately would like that feeling back again!

As a highly creative individual, I realise the exciting potential and ideas that lie within me that are crying out of every cell in my body to pour out in to my work. I’ve finally envisioned and developed a concept that I strongly feel will propel me in my art career that I’ve fought so hard to maintain throughout my life. I can’t say much about it right now, but this new venture involves consolidating all of my creative skills I have developed over the years, from graphic design to oil painting…and of course taxidermy!

“I want to reimagine the natural kingdom and the flora and fauna within it in order to portray beauty back in to a world which is continually shrouded in gloom. We are so exposed and indoctrinated by media to buy seemingly disposable belongings out of convenience. I want to make beautiful art that can stand the test of time”

Although I have great satisfaction in creating taxidermy via commission basis, at the risk if sounding unthankful (which I can assure you is not the case) I just feel like I’ve been severely creatively restricted in this process. I absolutely have NO regrets either because I’ve met some incredible souls, have been given some fantastic opportunities and have learned so much! I’m just ready and really looking forward to injecting my own ideas back in to my work again.

By working hard to complete my existing commissions and opening up more time for myself and my health, I will be able to put this dream, this soul mission in to fruition. I sincerely hope you will continue to give the support you have so kindly given me over the years and that I can bring you along on this exciting new journey.

This is absolutely not me closing the doors either – when I am in a comfortable position to do so, I will take on limited commissions that I have a particular interest in. Thank you so much for your understanding, I hope you will follow my new journey and am as excited as I am!

Krysten

Animatronic taxidermy!

I have recently had the most incredible opportunity to work with Jonny Poole from Animatronic Birds to ‘feather’ the incredible new animatronic form he has been developing over the past few years.

This is unlike ANY other taxidermy project I have ever worked on before so needless to say I was ridiculously excited about the prospect of seeing my taxidermy work ‘come to life’ on a whole other animated level!

Although this project presented many unchartered challenges for me, I’m SO glad I found new and innovative ways to complete it and I’m now equipped with more knowledge and experience in the ever evolving world of taxidermy. Unlike ‘traditional’ taxidermy, the skull was not retained in this specimen and the skin of the Tawny Owl was mounted directly on to the animatronic form itself. I also had to remove the eyelids to reattach them to the form so that they moved fluidly.

Jonny gave me a thorough demo of the animatronic form before I started work so I knew the basics of how it moved and worked – I was honestly blown away by the attention to detail he has gone to, to make it move fluidly like a real owl, even to the degree that if you move the body of the bird, the head stays in the same place!

Turning on the form after I had mounted the skin on to the form was both extremely nerve-racking AND one of the most exciting moments of my taxidermy career so far!

I look forward to working with you again and seeing what exciting new opportunities this may bring in the future 🙂

Krysten

CITES A10 Certification Number: 594926/01

Taxidermy Nuthatch

Hello folks, I hope you’re all doing well and keeping safe! I just wanted to share with you my latest project, a gorgeous little Nuthatch (Sitta europaea)

I love seeing them scuttle down the trunks of trees like this, it’s a very signature pose of the nuthatch and both the client and I agreed there was no other way to execute this piece!

I find them to be quite a bolshie garden bird, always top of the heir-achy at the feeding stations (unless a sparrowhawk is nearby of course!) allowing them to get first pickings of the peanuts!

Overall, this was a thoroughly enjoyable little bird to preserve, stopping a moment in natural history through the art of taxidermy 🙂

Commissions Closed

This is a bit of an important blog post regarding my current work schedule. Due to a huge backlog of work I am taking the decision to close my taxidermy books for the time being.

I am incredibly sorry for any inconveniences, but this is not forever! I am just feeling a little overwhelmed (not to mention INCREDIBLY grateful) with the work load I currently have. This will allow me the time to catch up with existing work that I’m trying very hard to complete, as well as produce new taxidermy stock, readily available for purchase which shall be listed to the site on a regular basis.

As a highly creative individual,

Huge thanks for your patience and understanding,

As always, if you have any enquiries at all, please do get in touch.

Krysten x

Taxidermy Ring Neck Pheasant For Sale

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

UPDATE 27/01/2021

Sadly due to the announcement of the tougher restrictions of lockdown regulations due to the Covid-19 pandemic, any orders placed within this timeframe will be significantly delayed.

Thank you so much for your patience and understanding. Like most people, I am doing everything I can to maintain a ‘normal’ schedule and hope to be back in full swing as soon as the situation permits.

Stay safe and best wishes,

Krysten

UPDATE 03/11/2020

With the announcement of the second lockdown, please note that any orders placed under the new regulations will be delayed until they have been lifted, hopefully on the 2nd December.

I will also be safely holding on to any existing commission work during this time.

If you have any questions or queries, please do get in touch.

Stay safe, stay strong and best wishes,

Krysten

UPDATE 12/06/2020

Due to the lifting of certain aspects of the lockdown, I am now able to post out orders whilst adhering to the guidelines.

I’m still restricting going out and therefore ordering a lot of supplies from online, this includes packaging. So please allow a couple of extra days than usual for delivery.

I am happy to announce that my customers are now safely able to drop off and collect existing work at a safe distance .

If you have any questions or queries, please do get in touch.

Best wishes,

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

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