Saturday, 18 February 2012

Oops, sorry it's been a while since I updated this! I recently lost my full time job so that left me a bit confused on what to do and how to take life. But on the up-side, it's going to give me more time for taxidermy, which is great!

Here are some updates on commissions and other projects:

Two stoats for soft-mounting for clients are salted, and will be rehydrated and put into a fresh bucket of tan today. The previous stoats did not turn out very well, so I trimmed them for just wallhanger use. They are still lovely and soft though! One is on ebay, and the other may be sold to a client.

Salted stoat, anyone?

I have a lot of birds to skin today. Near me defrosting are several juvenile rooks, a crow and three jackdaws! I also have two wood pigeons in the freezer that I might skin later or tomorrow. Three birds (one rook, one crow, one jackdaw) are for a client.

Various birds, two stoats and a muntjac head defrosting

All the mice are finished and ready. I filled in small bits with white milliput and will paint them a flesh colour. They will be going in the post on Monday.

I also made two rat rugs and also a guinea pig on Thursday! It was a nice change being productive after a rather unproductive week.The rats white fur has actually turned yellow though, though I have tried to whiten it with various different methods, that have failed. I am thinking perhaps I did not degrease them for long enough or something. It's odd though, in my three+ years of skinning and preserving rat skins, it has never happened. I am wondering if I let them defrost too long before fleshing and preserving. There is no smell or furslip though, which is good! I will be selling them at a lower price because of the discolouration though.

Rather discoloured looking rat 'rugs'

First guinea pig mount, which is a bit... 'long', but I like her anyway!

The crow I was working on is almost done too. I had a lot of problems with feather loss due to me making holes (I am going to be a LOT more patient next time, I'll tell you that!) I also noticed it's right eye was enlarged, so I filled it with some milliput. I will be painting it later. I also had to milliput the back of a leg where some wire came through due to the fact I was unable to sharpen the wire, and again lost patience. I learned my lesson on this one! Although the feathers are ruffled and the feet are damaged, I am still proud of this one. My first crow of many, I hope.

My first crow, needing painting.

Finally, I have a muntjac head/cape on the floor defrosting also. It's been there for about 9 hours but is still solid. It might be okay later, if not I will skin it out tomorrow. It's a cute buck with small antlers and both tusks in! First time skinning any type of deer, so that will be interesting!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Quail, stoats and more mice

The two clients were happy with their mouse mounts, so that made me happy also :) One of them has ordered a second mouse in a different position, so I will get onto that later or tomorrow, hopefully!

My quail is pretty much dry, but I noticed that the skin has pulled away on it's belly. I am going to order some white down feathers from ebay, and attempt a repair/feather transplant! Since it is my first bird, I am not overly bothered, but it would be nice if the quail came out nice at least. The neck is also too long but I don't really know how to fix that... I know for the next quail, though!

I got some Jay forms in the mail the other day, as well as some jackdaw, crow and rook eyes. So will have a go at my array of birds this week :)

This morning I skinned a pair of stoats! I learned that I should really spray stop-slip on anything, as the stoat that was for a customer decided to slip on her belly... Hopefully she is salvageable, both are being salted right now, so I hope they will be okay.

I took some videos as I was skinning and salting, so I'm in the process of  uploading them to youtube right now. I'll link them when I'm done!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Mice, mice everywhere!

Today I did four mouse mounts! Two were for customers, and two were just to get the mice out the freezer. They'll probably be for ebay. I've been having slipping problems with mice so I am a bit worried that they might slip too. I used dry-preserve from Snowdonia Supplies instead of borax this time, so I hope that it may make a different. I didn't have time to mount the little rats tonight, but I think I will attempt that tomorrow morning.

The first mouse is in a sleeping pose:

 I still need to touch up the eyes as he dries.

The second mouse was a hanging mouse! He has some stronger wire in his front left paw, so he can hang off things.

Both are going to be used in art projects as far as I know, so that will be fun to see! I hope that the artists will show me photos when they are done!

Taxidermy mice start at £15!

Also, the entire morning was spent getting post together, so if you were waiting for something from my ebay store or DA, you will get it soon!

And finally, I got a little video camera today! I need to figure it out so that I can make some taxidermy-related videos for you all :D

Tomorrows projects:

Rat mounts
Other art things (icons etc)

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Today I did quite a few things! Firstly I skinned the four squirrels I got in the post... Two were very good, but two had a bit of fur falling out in their tails. I'm not sure why this is happening as I know they were frozen right after shooting. We'll see what happens though, even if it means replacement tails! That'll be a challenge!

I also soaked two hare pelts I received from someone on ebay to get rid of as much blood and dirt as I could. They had skinned the bodies out, but left the heads, legs and paws in. I removed the heads and kept the skulls. I noticed the pelts had a lot of tiny holes in them. These will be a challenge also. In the end if the pelts REALLY aren't suitable for mounting, maybe I can do pedestal mounts, as the faces are fine. I already have some lead hare earliners in, too. I need to buy some eyes for them, though. And I left the feet in again as I am not sure how to remove them... I left a post on, hopefully I'll get a reply.

Finally, I skinned some small rats out as I am trying to make space in my freezer. Got some stoats coming from Ireland and also some other ermine etc soon, I hope! And two more squirrels. Drowning in specimens!

Two of the rats are good for taxidermy so I tagged them and froze the skins. One was rotten so I threw it away, and the other, I made a hole in the eyelid and mouth, so I am salting it. I will dry it as a pelt.

That reminds me, my boyfriend skinned his first rat the other day! It was a cute little white one! I'm experimenting in salting them dry (they are currently hanging), before rehydrating in salt water and boraxing, and then mounting. I want to see if it makes any different, as I have lost many small animals and young animals to fur slip.

Tomorrow I have a lot of ebay post to prepare for postage, and hopefully I can get my mouse commissions, and those small rats done!

At least I now have five squirrels in the freezer to use for practice! One has white on the back of his ears, he's my favourite :)

Welcome to my blog!

I have decided to write a blog about my adventures as an amateur taxidermist! I am a taxidermist located in Wales, UK and am always learning new things. I started mounting recently, only last year and I hope to eventually be able to live off my love for natural history and art.

Today I got four squirrels in the mail from a pest controller in England. I will be skinning them all tonight and sticking the skins in the freezer. My freezer is already really full so I need to get a move on with things! I also have two rat skins I would like to mount, and two hares I need to clean and finish skinning. Busy busy busy!