In the absence of profound knowledge in the subject, it may be problematic to choose a good taxidermist whose work will fully satisfy you. Besides, it can be uneasy to estimate both price and quality of this specific service. If you have such an opportunity, better address a widely recommended specialist who has a substantial number of regular clients. Although, being of niche nature, this mastery is not abundant with skillful experts. That’s why we want to give you some useful tips for making the appropriate choice.
The first question to ask yourself is your priority – price or quality. One does not normally have to prove his education in the field to declare himself as a taxidermist. Some experience in manipulating the skins of animals and birds becomes a legitimate basis to claim oneself as a taxidermy specialist. However, the efforts of such specialist may look like a sad caricature. If you focus on the price alone, it won’t be a problem to find someone who provides services of taxidermy. Social media is helpful for finding those who earns by animal or bird skin manipulating. Some truly care about their reputation and try to gain recognition by participating in various events – competitions and exhibitions for taxidermists. Years of experience is not a guarantee of decent quality. Living examples of finished works are much better. If you cannot see them with your own eyes, ask for detailed photographs. Videos of a working process are also very helpful.
We recommend you to study the images very attentively, in minor details. Compare them with photos of other experts. The animal or the bird must look like alive, with a sparkling eye. Everything matters: posture, mood, and balance – is it about to move or fly? Look at the photos of live animals, they should not look anyhow different from mounted ones. Taxidermy is both skill and craft on the verge of art. The more you learn about it, the more appreciation comes to your mind and soul.
A popular social media account does not always mean high quality. A better thing is a portfolio kindly provided to you upon request.
Like any other art – music, painting and literature – taxidermy is a very subjective thing that involves emotions and many arguable factors. It’s difficult even for experts to judge works of each other – they can argue eternally of the work is good or bad after visiting or participating in a taxidermy event. Assessing the work, one should focus on a wide range of things – from pose and anatomy to stability and eye pupil angle.
The basic process of stuffing a mammal or a bird does not involve complicated science. But simple stuffing, ignoring nuances and professional tricks, looks just like that – a stuffed body which is not alive anymore, with used feathers and skin. A good example has a character, or maybe even a soul. You tend to believe it can start moving in any moment. To achieve such result, a taxidermist should be well aware of mammal or bird anatomy, he should know what kinds of feathers exist and in what way they are special. The knowledge in the duet with technical skills is a way to success and recognition.
A good taxidermist will never say he knows enough about the subject. The process of learning is endless in this mastery. He must be curious and attentive, hard-working and scrupulous. It’s important to read much, to study photographs, to have interest in anatomy and behavior of animals and birds. The work itself involves both creative and technical elements. For example, measurements are very important. In other words, it’s much respect to the subject and a perfect effort to bring the animal back to life. Taxidermy is not for guessing, a decent master should perfectly understand what to do, how and why.
Taxidermist’s services can be both very cheap and rather expensive. It’s all about the attitude. He can spend a couple of hours to mount a mammal poorly or a whole day for the same task but with a much better result. Nobody agrees to work for nothing, if you want a decent result, be ready to thank a master for his knowledge, efforts and his attitude.
Do not rush a taxidermist, keep in mind that his work involves much creativity. A finished mount can be the object of your pride for many years, maybe even half a century, so let a taxidermist take his/her time.
We hope this material will be useful for you while choosing a good taxidermist. Treat this interesting process like choosing a nice play to watch in a theater, or a piece of jewelry for a beloved person. Do not be hasty, plunge into the subject, it is truly exciting and rewarding.
With the right attitude, your trophy will be long admired by your family members, children and grandchildren of yours.