Taxidermy Course and Demonstration by Kim Zoe Wagner

So the dust has settled on our first weekend of taxidermy courses held within the Dig Haüshizzle store. We’ve had an absolute blast and made a few friends along the way. Firstly meeting Kim for the first time on Saturday evening couldn’t have gone better she was instantly on Cassie and I wave length and didn’t mind mucking in clearing the shop out to accomatate the 25 people due in a few hours for the Taxidermy demo evening.

taxi54Kim did an engaging demonstration on a magpie and with the Gin & Tonics flowing for our guests the two and a half hours flew by. I was intrigued by the talk and at one point thought there was no way this wet piece of skin and feathers was ever going to resemble a bird ever again. The demo was as informal as possible which allowed people to move around and come up to the desk to take a closer look, their were questions and notes taken throughout and I think there were quite a few people ready to give it a try themselves. Kim has lernt her trade from some of the best taxidermists currently working in the UK, George Jamieson and artist Polly Morgan. This high skill set shone through and the end piece was beautiful and passed around for everybody to see.

 

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The day taxidermy course started bright and early at 9 am Sunday morning. Kim’s five students were prompt and keen to get started on their chosen birds two bullfinches, two canaries and one budgie. The animals and all the equipment for the day was provided by Kim. With the shop closed for the whole day there was a relaxed but focused atmosphere fueled by cups of strong tea. The really important job of defatting the bird was a major cause of many a cup of tea going cold, Kim was keen to stress the importance of ridding the bird of all its fat to stop the bird from decomposing. Before everyone knew it the morning had passed, the birds resembled nothing short of a pile of damp feathers at this point, so the race was on to get the birds dry and prepped for the afternoon session.

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Lunch was included in the price of the day course and was provided by the Beatroot Café Boys situated just two doors up from Dig Haüshizzle. The guys outdid themselves supplying us with Chicken, tomato and Basil Sarnies, Quiche and various salads. One of the students on the courses needed a gluton free dinner, which was accomadated for with ease, even the chocolate cake for pudding was gluton free!

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After lunch everyone knuckled down to get the birds finished, there were a few uneasy looks by those who were unable to attend the included demo evening the night before but Kim was quick to reassure them that the skin and feathers they were gingerly holding within their fingers would resemble a perfectly good bird come the evening. The important job of body building was the next task which the students got to grips with, followed with wiring the extremities. Once that tricky part was over sewing the birds up came naturally to the five students. One of the final tasks but also one of the most important assetically was placing glass balls within the eye sockets to resemble eyes, Kim guided the students through this part very well and no one ended up with a Sloth from goonies style bird!

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Finally everyones birds were ready for final placement and feather rearranging, the slightest tilt of the neck makes a massive difference to the life likeness of these little birds!

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Our second taxidermy course will be in November. The Demonstration evening will be on the 8th of November and the full course on the 9th.

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please visit http://www.dig-haushizzle.co.uk/taxidermy or call 07789 145175

// Edd

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