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.



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.

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.


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.

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Taxidermy Robin – Work In Progress

Taxidermy Robin – WIP

According to social media, this week is #TaxidermyWeek!

Heres my latest work in progress, a gorgeous Eurasian Robin (Erithacus rubecula).

For whatever reason, I find them very difficult little birds to work with, presenting me with quite a few issues due to their delicate nature.

Out of all of the robin’s I have worked on though, this is probably my best!

Really happy with how he has turned out.

I’ll do the finishing touches like painting and sculpting the mouth once he is completely dry.

Unfortunately this taxidermy mount is a commission and won’t be for sale.

However, if you have any queries or have a specific bird you are after, please get in touch.

– Krysten

Taxidermy – Behind the scenes

Taxidermy, what happens behind the scenes?

A brief overview

The latest commission I completed was that of a two dead mount birds. (Birds purposely modelled made to look ‘dead’) As well as beautiful objects to look at, these specimens were commissioned to be used as film props. The customer requested photos of me working on the birds, so I set up my camera in my workshop.

I thought some of the shots were pretty cool and give a brief snapshot as to what goes on behind the scenes in the art of taxidermy. My personal favourite bit is blow-drying them after the skins have been treated and washed. It always amazes me how a weedy, wet looking lump of skin and clumped feathers can somehow be dried and fluffed up to resemble the bird it once was, once again!

I had a big response on instagram with these images.

It’s not everyones cup of tea, but I thought you’d like to see them too.

(don’t look if you’re squeamish)

Taxidermy Yellowhammer Commission

Taxidermy Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella): I had the pleasure of working on this beautiful British bunting.

Unfortunately, the male Yellowhammer got lost in the post for a day, resulting in him fully defrosting and starting to turn.

This is usually game over for small birds, as they start to decompose fairly quick – I didn’t hold out much hope.

Despite soaking in alcohol for a while to toughen the skin and kill bacteria that makes the skin bad and feathers fall out, lots did.
Taxidermy Bird Skin
I persevered anyway and did the best I could.

His back was completely bald and he had some secondary feathers missing on one side, which was a great shame.

Painstakingly, I glued as many feathers back as I could, and despite his condition, I’m very happy with how he turned out.

They have a very distinctive call that most birders recognise as sounding like “A little bit of bread with no cheeeeeeeeese”

Bespoke Taxidermy Rabbit Project

Custom Taxidermy Rabbit Commission on Hand Painted Shield

This project was a first for me, I really enjoyed it.

This one is a special project for someone that wanted a unique gift to give to his regiment after leaving the British armed forces.

Originally, the client wanted a shirt with the regiment emblem pinned to the shield.

I suggested painting the emblem on to the shield to give a cleaner and neater looking finish, as this was something I was able to do.

Logistically, the rabbit would mostly obscure the emblem if it was placed centrally on to the shield, so I suggested a slightly different, more contemporary approach.

I came up with a rough concept sketch to help my client visualise the final piece a little better.Taxidermy Sketch rabbit commission

The emblem has been deconstructed slightly to cover the whole shield, so the important elements are still visible such as the crown and the lion.

The shield was primed and painted by hand with oils.

The rabbit was the result of an unfortunate roadkill, but was in overall great condition and will now be honoured for a very long time to come.

Thank you for looking! If you have a bespoke taxidermy commission idea, please feel free to get in touch.

Happy New Year! First taxidermy project of 2019 – White Pheasant

Taxidermy Male White Pheasant

This is my first completed taxidermy project of 2019 – a stunning white (or leucsistic), male pheasant.

This specimen definitely put me through my paces, due to the fact he was in moult. Feathers were flying out left right and centre and he had sustained some damage to his wing and leg bones, which I have to retain in the taxidermy process.

He also had a bare patch on his neck that was quite noticeable. I used some of the feathers he dropped to carefully repair this patch.

All ready to go to his new home now.

Happy 2019 everyone!

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