Taxidermy vs Taxidermist 2021

I had such a fun time looking through my gallery at the work I have done this year! ☺️A huuuuuuge thank you to each and every one of you for your patience with commissioned work whilst I get myself back on track after slowing my pace right down to accommodate for my health 🖤

Art Vs Artist Krysten Newby Ethical Taxidermist and Wildlife Artist
Taxidermy work of 2021

Next year I really look forward to creating pieces that I can adopt some more creative licence on, that I can do at my own pace, that will be readily available from my shop.

I have soooo many amazing specimens in my freezer that I’ve wanted to do for years, I’m so excited to work on them!

I’m so deeply grateful for all of my commissions, but being totally consumed by them and artistically restricted by specifications and budgets means my creativity has suffered somewhat. I’m looking forward to 2022 so I can let my creative juices flow once again, including with my oil painting too which can be seen at www.krysthecreator.com

 See you there, be kind and have a beautiful festive season everyone 🎄

Wige’you believe it! My latest work…

Sorry to start this with such an ‘aw-fowl’ pun! *rolls eyes*, but I am excited to show you my latest commissioned piece of taxidermy – featuring this beautiful male Wigeon.

Taxidermy Wigeon
Wigeon (Anas Penelope)

Although there are some select areas of the UK where Wigeon are resident in the UK, the vast amount of them can be seen wintering here, where they arrive in their thousands from Iceland, Scandinavia and Russia, to escape the harsher weather there.

Even though their conservation status is classed as amber listed by RSPB, Wigeon are still sadly allowed to be legally shot in the UK, for leisure.

If you’ve read my philosophy or FAQ’s, you’d know that I am fanatical about wildlife and I think the abhorrent act of shooting birds out of the sky/water/land for ‘fun’ or because it’s ‘tradition’ is abhorrent, especially in a world where biodiversity is decreasing faster than ever. I will not be a part of that in any way, which is why I do not work with specimens that have been killed in such a way for a so called ‘trophy’.

There is a sad story behind this poor duck.

It was picked up by a warden at a nature reserve, whom I’ve previously preserved an educational Tawny Owl for, which sits in the reserve office which is lovely! He picked up this duck which wasn’t in a good way, but despite best efforts, he didn’t pull though and sadly died in his arms.

He was in pristine condition on the outside, however, upon skinning him, I discovered the cause of his demise was somewhat more sinister.

He had some pretty gnarly gut issues and my heart absolutely sank when I discovered lead shot within him. He had clearly been shot in the stomach, flown on to the reserve and had died a very slow, painful death. In this particular circumstance, I decided to continue with the project, considering it was being commissioned with honest intention and my client was none the wiser and did everything he could to save the poor creature.

I like to think I captured the essence and movement of what he probably loved doing best in his living life, which is swimming around doing duck stuff! May he live on and be an amazing ambassador for his living relatives, inspire others so we can help keep these beautiful ducks safe from extinction.

Taxidermy-Wigeon Duck UK

Water Effects

My client had already agreed that I have free reign on this project, so I couldn’t resist trying out something new. I love experimenting, and it took a few attempts with different materials, but I had so much fun making the water scene for this project!

I had some old perspex that I cut out on the first attempt, however it completely messed up my jigsaw as the friction acted like a heat gun and melted on to the blade, whoops! Second attempt with acrylic proved much more fruitful.

I then used a mixture of clear silicone and artificial water to create the ‘ripples’. I cut a ‘duck shaped’ hole in the piece of acrylic before I fixed it to the wall-moutable piece of wood, so I could fit the finished mount in to it once he was dry. It’s definitely got me excited to do more water scenes in the future!

Will you taxidermy my pet?

Amongst many of the wonderful queries that pop in to my inbox on a weekly basis, by far the most common question is “Will you taxidermy my pet?”

In this blog, I am going to be telling you the reasons why I don’t accept pet taxidermy commissions.

I don’t expect that many pet owners have considered getting their beloved companion preserved until the day they cross the rainbow bridge to heaven…but the the unbearable thought of living without them when the inevitable happens, does make taxidermy a very viable option for having a pet that is eternally by your side.


While the idea of having a forever pet sounds idyllic, the majority of people that enquire about this possibility, do so the very day their pet has departed, which is understandably a very emotional time. You may even be in that very difficult situation now which has lead you to being here, in which case my sincere condolences go out to you.

Having lost pets in the past, I have an understanding of the emotions you are going through right now and they are very painful ones indeed, but I am here to assure you that taxidermy will not heal your wounds and the hole left in your heart, but time will.

The emotional bond between a pet owner and their animal is unlike any other. They know every single detail, characteristic and quirk of their pet and this is part of the reason why there is just so much pressure and responsibility involved with such a project. I predominately work with wild animals in my craft, specialising in birds, but for comparison purposes for the following example, I’m going to be using the European Stoat.

Each one is practically identical in appearance and it’s very hard to distinguish an individual from another (all the reference images on google could be an image of the same individual!), unless they have a biological mutation or genetic colour quirk. When one lands upon my workshop table, I already have an expectation of what it’s going to be like to process, what the anatomical structure should look like and how I’m going to recreate it, what eye size they require, how they move in the field, what their biology and ecology is like, (being a self confessed nature nerd!) and how I am going to portray the essence and character of their living existence, in to an eternal one.

Where, fundamentally the actual technical process would be the same as any other animal I take on, albeit with a higher degree of meticulousness, you can hopefully begin to understand how the very individual nature of pets can leave me in very uncharted territory when it comes to preserving them.

Even with a thousand photos, I have no previous experience or understanding of how this animal lived, what it’s character, essence or that ‘je ne sais quoi’ for a better term, is. It would be impossible and very naive of me to try and re-create it, (unless I lived in your house along side him/her for many years!). For this reason, it is my humble opinion that not even the best taxidermist in the world will be capable of representing your pet to the degree in which you remembered them by. This is something to take in to serious consideration when deciding on the preservation of your pet and wether is the right decision for you.

With taxidermy being such an organic process, there are situations out of my control that can go wrong, such as ‘fur slip’, which as a part of the decomposition process in which enzymes catalyse the epidermis to separate from the dermis, leaving the skin completely hairless. This irreversible occurrence is particularly prevalent, but not limited to, smaller animals and certain species, which would result in the project being a failure.

I am proud to put my absolute all in to every project I work on, I will not let anything leave my workshop without myself or my customer being happy. If I do not have the ability to make a piece of work my absolute best, especially with animals that hold so much visual emotion such as cats and dogs, I will absolutely hold my hands up and admit that.

Flying Stoat Fantasy Taxidermy

Fantasy Taxidermy Stoat With Wings
Fantasy Creature Oil Painting by Wildlife Artist Krysten Newby UK
Kry The Creator Wildlife Art

FANTASY TAXIDERMY

A new and exciting taxidermy art adventure!

Hello folks! At this time of writing, I am officially saying goodbye to the last of the summer as it’s the Autumn Equinox – A time of equilibrium, balance and harvest!

I love working with the seasons and I personally feel most creative this time of year from absorbing the summer sun’s energy, which I am ready to put it to good use! Getting cosy in my workshop with a cup of the in hand and getting utterly lost in my work is what I live for.

Just recently I have dedicated more time to my own personal work, which has felt scary at times as I’ve almost forgotten that I had an imagination! But I really feel that I am starting to get the ball rolling with my new venture.

If you are a follower of my traditional wildlife art, which I will leave a link to below, you may start to see a bit of a pattern coming to life here! I hope you will enjoy seeing this whimsical taxidermy journey take flight!

‘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 and health issues, I am taking the decision to close my taxidermy books for the foreseeable future.

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.

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

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