Monday, July 2, 2012

Is Taxidermy still creepy if no animals were killed making it ?

Firstly, this is almost exactly one month of needle felting done while working a full time job,(which allows me about 4 hours of felting each night and another 6 hours before and after work),as well as Physical Therapy 3X a week . The injury has also slowed me down but I'm not sure if that is a temporary or permanent situation . What I have been wondering is if there will ever come a time when I could sell my art for a price that would allow me to live on what I make . At this rate, I doubt it, but perhaps as more people become aware of needle felting as a form of sculpture it will gain value ? Even without the extra time of not having a "real job" , I would have to allow for all the hours of marketing, going to art/craft fairs and doing all the other mundane self promotion needed to sell . It's daunting, as like many people, I would love to support myself doing something I love and creating these fuzzy friends is a true passion for me  .

When I began felting it was with a single , size 40 needle . Needless to say, that would not be effective for making the large animals I am making now . The past year or so I started using a 4 needle tool (with the red handle) and it has been great . Problem is that over time the wood eventually became a bit warped from the constant friction and the needles were no long completely vertical which makes them vulnerable to bending and breaking , So, I recently bought the metal felting tool on the right that I then covered in leather . It is very sturdy which is great but it does not feel as comfortable in my hand as the other one . The ideal solution would be something with the wooden top and the metal bottom . I think that is a pretty easy fix so will work on that soon .

Sorry for the redundant picture but I wanted to see what they looked like with different lighting as lighting has still been my nemesis when taking pictures . Even with clear skies, we get so little light in this apartment that it often feels like a cave. I love caves but not the best place to take pictures and using a flash makes the images so grainy . I have a private fantasy that some local photographer will see my animals and want to exchange their photo skills for a chance to sell my animal images ....unlikely, I'm afraid I will have to save up money to pay someone to take some nice nature shots of my animals . Maybe this fall when the leaves are changing color as I think they would look great with the mostly brown critters .

So, above gets back to actual topic of this blog . What are your opinions of Taxidermy ? I love animals but I do have a secret love of taxidermy, (as well as a love of bones and fur) . I don't want any animals to be killed but if they are dead....well, it should still be gruesome to have a dead thing in my living room....and yet . I still find it beautiful because the animals are beautiful . I guess it is just one of those unpleasant realities of being a human who holds contrary values and esthetics in the same brain . The mounted needle felted heads are a compromise of sorts . They are fuzzy and I think cute but with that touch of the forbidden . I haven't yet attached anything on the back to mount them on the wall but I think they also look interesting snout up on a table . The two above are both reverse felted and have baby alpaca locks needle felted into them <----incredibly time consuming but the best way to create the natural fur look without killing any animals .

So that is it for the month . The summer appears to be either filled with rain or baking hot, which does not go well with my bodies own hot flashes . So I sit in my cozy cave with British TV shows on Netflix creating my own little world of fuzzy critters . Things could be much worse . Hope you have found your own small comforts this summer .


  1. What a fantastic blog post! Everything you talk about, I've thought about!

    1. I too have the dream of supporting myself by just selling sculptures! My new dream is to be able to make enough money so that my husband & I can move to Hawaii & buy a house & live in paradise making art all day... *sigh...

    2. I bought myself some fairly cheap photo lamps to take picts at any time of day. I ordered mine online, but I think they were like $30 a piece. They are basically flood lamp covers with DAY LIGHT bulbs, diffuser covers (so you don't get a spot-light look) & tripods. Definitely worth the investment! I think you could probably use any type of lamp as ling as you get the (kinda expensive) natural day-light bulbs.

    3. I secretly love taxidermy too!!!! I love the kinda creepy aspect of it. I have a taxidermy catalog & even bought one of the foam forms that they use. I can't imagine doing taxidermy myself (have a hard enough time handling raw meat for dinner) but LOVE your taxidermy heads. I thought about doing the same sort of thing! They are beautiful!

  2. Thanks Crissy . I'm sure that all craft/art makers wish they could make a living and some actually do but needle felting is just so incredibly time consuming. It is hard for someone like me, who buys everything from thrift stores and Target to imagine anyone spending a few hundred dollars on a "decoration" . Considering it takes me 30-40 hours to make a large sculpture and needing at least $10 an hour + supply costs...well doing the math, it is daunting .

    I did buy a photo tent set up with some little photo lights but I realize now that it was designed for jewelry makers and just to small for my animals . I still love the idea of taking my animals into the woods and taking some nature shots like they are little beasts I found on my walk in the woods . (I guess what I really want is for them to just come alive and give me a cuddle).

  3. Widzę nowe super stworzonka. W barwach mojego królika i kota.

  4. I totally know what you mean about lighting! I don't usually struggle too much in the summer.. but in winter we can go for many weeks without good enough light for photos! I have been muddling along using mirrors to redirect what daylight is available.. but thats a pain 'cos I need helpers to hold/angle the mirros just so. I plan to get some photographic aids; daylight lamps & light reflectors, they're on my wish list. We are having pretty rubbish weather so far this 'summer' too.. its been a complete wash out so far.

    I always love your critters and think they would be awesome photographed peeking out of bushes, perched on branches or squatting on stones (ooo an small old stone bridge, like in the 3 billy goats, would be great too :) You should go on an outing to a park or the countryside with them I bet you could take some lovely photos yourself out in the open air.

    I don't like taxidermy personally.. I've worked around and had to handle taxidermy creatures in the museums where I worked too many times.. it sets my skin crawling touching them.. its horrible feeling how HARD they are. I think your mounted heads are very clever, and I think they will definitely appeal to a darker / quirkier humour.. I like them better on bodies myself though - they are just too cute to be decapitated :)



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