CLUTTER FURNISHINGS AND INTERIORS: What drew you to the art of taxidermy?
BETH BEVERLY: I've always been captivated by nature and the exquisite array of colors & packages it produces. I've also been compelled to hang onto objects and make them precious totems since I was a child. My path to taxidermy was both accidental and organic.
CF&I: Do you have a preferred species you like to work with? What is your favorite piece you’ve ever created?
BB: I prefer to work with smaller animals like domestic dogs, raccoons, and chickens simply because the mass is easier to handle in the accommodations I have. Chickens are great since I have abundant access to them, their skin is tough and they have very little fat on them. Obviously I'm talking about hand-raised, honestly-treated chickens and not that profane factory farm shit.
I'm quite fond of a little baby lamb mount I made a couple years back who has sort of become my studio mascot.
CF&I: What pieces do you keep in your own home? Are there items you would NEVER sell?
BB: When I moved the business out of my house and into a professional studio I took almost all of the taxidermy with me. It really opened our house up. I gave away or trashed all my early pieces because the quality was so poor I couldn't stand to look at them, except one piece called Dress Up that my husband insists on keeping around. It's the upper torso of a squirrel in half a luggage case, almost as though she's in her closet. A rabbits head hangs from a small wire hanger behind her waiting to be tried on.
It's all for sale. I like to see things move around.
CF&I: What advice would you give to a first-time taxidermy buyer? Where/when/how should your work be displayed?
BB: So many first time buyers get sticker shock. I don't think people understand how labor intensive and costly this craft is to pursue. Not when they see a whitetail shoulder mount at a flea market for $30, anyway. To which I say, you get what you pay for. Ill bet dollars to donuts that any second, third or fourth hand mount will have issues with decay and infestation. This can be worked with, but just know what you're getting into. Thank god a universal appreciation for all things custom and couture seems to be making a comeback.
As for displaying, avoid direct sunlight and moisture. Think about the best angle you'd like to view your piece at and light it accordingly. Once a year, if you can, freeze your mounts for 24 hours to kill any possible bugs that may have hitchhiked into your home via Christmas tree, pets, floral arrangements, etc. Bugs are the fucking WORST.
CF&I: What would be your dream animal to work with?
BB: I'm working with a peacock right now which had been a fantasy for some time. I suppose next in line would be some sort of exotic dog breed like an Afghan Hound.
CF&I: What is your guilty pleasure?
BB: Just pleasure, no guilt. I've been listening to that Miley song "We Can't Stop" for days, and just devoured 8 episodes of My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding. Oh, and I prefer my coffee with honey.
CF&I: Describe your work in five words.