How long have you been creating work using taxidermy?
I started creating my work in 2014 when I was studying Decorative Arts at Nottingham Trent University.
Your specimens are all ethically sourced. All of your pieces have such character and perfectly portray the animals used. Can you say something about your passion for animals and why you want to create such unique pieces?
There’s two main strands to my work. To avoid confusion I do traditional taxidermy, but I do textile sculpture based on British wildlife.
It’s quite interesting when some reactions I get when I tell them I do taxidermy but love wildlife. I’m always for breaking down the barriers and perceptions of a trade that has majority of the time been in a bad light. The textile sculpture uses techniques that I learnt from taxidermy and doesn’t use real animal or bird. I sometimes call it vegan/vegetarian taxidermy for that reason. Initially I was using it as a process, and it ended up being that was the outcome of my pieces, It was a sort of planned accident. Something I didn’t realise that was right in front of me, ended up being the main part of my work.
I wanted to create something that hadn’t been done before. A lot of people do needle felted animals and soft sculpture that uses fabric in a way that is similar to creating soft toys. So using this technique put my work in a niche marketplace.
You extend your love of wildlife to your embroidery. What do you make?
I make cushions but mainly canvased wall pieces using the wildlife genre in my work. I initially worked in embroidery before going into taxidermy. and entomology?
I acquired several historic butterflies dating pre-21st century. I wanted to be able to showcase them as they’re limited edition. I don’t have many butterflies left they’ve been received so well. Please do check out Made in Stroud as they have the last pieces. However I do have three dragon-flies I would like to frame and those are ethically sourced, so stayed tuned.
With wildlife in such decline do you hope that your work will help to open a debate on nature and this rapid loss of wildlife?
Absolutely, the specimens I receive also give me an indication about what wildlife is in decline, I had quite a few hedgehogs over the last couple of years, luckily I haven’t received any this year so hopefully the population is stabilising. It’s also educational, majority of the population never get to see wildlife up close. So it’s a wonderful opportunity for people to come up close and personal with an animal or bird they wouldn’t usually have the chance too. All my specimens are from the RSPCA and road-kill, I never kill any wildlife for the purpose of my work.
Where can people buy your work?
The textile sculpture, embroidery and butterflies can be bought from:
- Made in Stroud
- The Baobab tree in Stow-on-the-wold
- Bourton Artisans in Bourton-on-the-water
All my work can also be bought directly from me, there is an Etsy shop linked to my website.