Monday, 22 January 2007

Get Stuffed

I've long been a fan of taxidermy. The more misshapen the stuffed beasts, the better. I like the animals to be taking part in some kind of activity. I once owned a stuffed weasel pushing a lawnmower, which was my pride and joy. Sadly, I had to junk it when it became infested with maggots.

Taxidermy has been becoming more and more fashionable. Maybe that's due to Marilyn Manson's obsession with the craft, or perhaps just a reaction against sterile, off-the-Ikea-racks interiors. When Bonhams Auction house sold off the fabulous Walter Potter's collection (see his kitten piece to the right), previously housed at the base of Brighton Pier, and then at Jamaica Inn in Devon, pieces flew out at thousands of pounds more than they had previously been valued, around half a million pounds in total. Among the buyers was 1960s pop artist, Peter Blake.

Much as I love the results of taxidermy, I'm not all that comfortable with animals being slaughtered needlessly for the mere decoration of our homes. Which is why I love the Rogue Taxidermists.

The Rogue Taxidermy group , based in Minnesota, USA, brings the craft scrabbling into the 21st century and gives it a rock n roll kick. The group of taxidermists use corpses donated to them, or found as roadkill, and create fantastical beasts and organs mounted on plaques. It's where cryptozoology meets art. Browse their shop and plan your wishlist. My favourite of the group, Sarina Brewer (see her winged cat to the right), has her personal website here

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