HANDS ON ADVENTURES IN ETHICAL TAXIDERMY
A WEEKEND OF TALKS, DEMONSTRATIONS + HANDS ON ETHICAL TAXIDERMY
Saturday 18 November, 11:30am till late + Sunday 19 November, 10:30am till 5pm
Join us for a weekend stuffed with all things taxidermy.
We’ve invited a menagerie of the finest taxidermists and specialists into the wonderful sky-lit Victorian classrooms of the Think Tank at Ipswich Art School to put on a dream weekend for anyone who’s ever expressed an interest in the art of animal preservation but been too afraid to try.
You'll hear talks from luminaries Dr Pat Morris and Jazmine Miles-Long on the history and ethics of taxidermy: from its roots in the embalmers chambers of ancient Egypt to contemporary practice before Jazmine leads a live demonstration of taxidermy showing off the highly regarded museum grade skills that she has been developing over the past 10 years.
We've teamed up with Ipswich Museum to offer you a bespoke tour of their breathtaking taxidermy collection in the company of their Collections and Learning Curator Kate Riddington, artist Robert Pacitti and archaeologist Lucy Walker. The museum will kindly be lending us marvellous and rarely seen ornate specimens from it's archive to spark conversation and inspiration in the Think Tank.
Finally, you’ll take part in two hands-on workshops and create your own masterpieces to take home with highly experienced taxidermist and workshop leader Tonja Grung guiding your craft. The Butterfly Workshop will teach you the basics of entomological preservation - you’ll prepare, mount and frame beautiful butterflies and The Mouse Workshop will give you the basic skills inherent to small mammal taxidermy - you’ll learn skinning, tanning and mounting, and at the end of the session you’ll have your own completed taxidermy mouse. In line with our ethical focus no animals will be killed for the purpose of the classes and all will be sourced as ethically as possible; the butterflies from environmental breeders and the mice from the reptile feed industry.
Working as a Taxidermist since 2007 Jazmine creates taxidermy for both the gallery and museum context, and so her work sits between the realms of art and education. Jazmine’s love of natural history has led her to make work that respects the animal and focuses on the beauty of living things, giving the viewer the chance to explore nature up close. Offering an understanding of the animal and the taxidermy process itself promoting the scientific and cultural benefits of this intricate and evolving craft. Jazmine Calls herself an ‘ethical’ taxidermist to describe the way she produces work only using animals that have died from natural causes.
Through this talk and discussion Jazmine will explore the techniques used to create her own work, the uses and importance of current and historic taxidermy, and then open up the discussion to the group asking can Taxidermy be considered ‘ethical’?
Dr Pat Morris
Dr Pat Morris is famous in the taxidermy world as a brilliantly engaging speaker and for having an astonishing wealth of knowledge on the subject. He joins us tonight in conversation and to present his talk Art, Science and Bad Taste, a history of taxidermy... and what are we to make of it all?"
Formerly Senior Lecturer in Zoology at Royal Holloway, University of London, Pat Morris is best known for his studies on hedgehogs over the last 40 years, alongside which he has studied water voles, bats, edible dormice and red squirrels.
He has held senior posts with many wildlife institutions including Chairman of the Mammal Society, Vice President of the London Wildlife Trust and Chairman of the Nature Conservation Advisory Panel for the National Trust; for whom he was a council member for 11 years.
Pat is an Honorary Life Member of the Guild of Taxidermists, upon whose recommendation he was appointed one of DEFRA’s taxidermy inspectors to assess the age and authenticity of antique taxidermy.
In his spare time he has pursued a longstanding interest in the history of taxidermy, publishing papers and 8 books on this topic which will be available to browse and buy tonight.
Tonja is a highly experienced taxidermist and workshop leader. Her company Made From The Dead operates from her studio in a church in north London where she creates work inspired by her fascination with a macabre Victorian past. Tonja`s work incorporates both mysticism and symbolism behind traditional technique.
Tonja blends objects of curiosity, rare antiques and carefully selected specimens. Over the years she has acquired an in depth knowledge of the craft that incorporates elements beyond the constraints of taxidermy. Through the artistic process of composition, Tonja relinquishes any notion of death and decay; transforming her poignant pieces into immortal totems of resurrection. Her taxidermy occupies realms other than just the preservation of animals. She has been regularly teaching all stages of taxidermy. Her teaching style can be described as enjoyable, relaxed, with a non-formal approach that is professional.
Tonja does not kill or endorse the killing of animals for taxidermy and all specimens are sourced legally in accordance with the wildlife & countryside act 1981. All items come with a log number. Tonja uses traditional taxidermy techniques with quality taxidermy materials.
Entomology as we know it exploded into the popular imagination in the Victorian era. As the science developed it brought insect collecting into the home allowing everyone to make beautiful and educational pieces of art.
In this 2 hour class you will learn the intricate art of mounting butterflies for preservation. You’ll learn how to select and prepare the ideal specimen; the chemical process of relaxing and opening the wings; and the delicate act of mounting and pinning the insect to the board. As a final flourish you’ll then be taught to frame your masterpiece in preparation for its migration home to take pride of place on your wall. (The framing itself will not take place on site due to the time required for the butterflies to dry once pinned to the board. Though the boards themselves do travel well unframed, we recommend you bring a small box to protect your creations if you are travelling from far afield.)
No butterflies are killed for this class. They are sourced from breeders responsible for reintroducing species into the wild.
In this 4 hour class you will learn all the stages of small mammal taxidermy, from skinning, tanning and mounting and at the end of the session you will leave with a completed, natural style taxidermy mouse.
No mice are killed for the purpose of taxidermy, they are bred as reptile feed and sourced sourced legally in accordance with the wildlife & countryside act 1981.
Kate Riddington is a Collections and Learning Curator at Colchester and Ipswich Museums, based in Ipswich. She has looked after large natural science collections in various museums, since 1999 and has been involved in numerous temporary and permanent exhibitions.
The current Ipswich Museum building opened in 1881 as a purpose-built Museum, Library, and School of Science and Art. At its heart is the Victorian Natural History Gallery, which contains many of the collections and displays from the original 1850s museum building.
The museum collections are wide ranging and varied. It holds a fantastic natural science collection: from ice age mammals, minerals from Australia, through to taxidermied gorillas, giraffe, rhino, and the Ogilvie collection of cased birds. The collection represents a significant element of the history of taxidermy and is also a significant reminder of the social history of natural history in this country.
Ipswich Museum has grown to include Christchurch Museum and Ipswich Art Gallery and today has a regular programme of temporary exhibitions, and activities throughout the year.
Please note we expect a high demand on this event so early booking advised.