If like me, you have a keen interest in dead things – and more to the point – if you have always wanted to know what it’s like to try taxidermy, read on…
Bart’s Pathology Museum houses over 5,000 medical specimens and is apparently one of CNN’s Ten Weirdest Medical Museums in the World. The place has a vibrant and quirky charm despite it’s dark subject matter and is a place of genuine interest to anyone fascinated by the macabre in particular, although I would also highly recommend it to anyone of an inquisitive nature. Most independent (or non-mainstream) museums are under considerable financial strain in recent years and so frequently have to raise money through holding events to stay afloat. In this vein, Bart’s hold taxidermy classes for beginners on a roughly bi-monthly basis, and it might come as no surprise to some of you to hear that I attended in February this year.
The class takes place in the museum itself and attendees are surrounded skeletons, body parts in jars and other assorted medical curiosities – accompanied to a punk/pop soundtrack, including the likes of Misfits, The Clash and erm… Kylie Minogue. The lesson takes about 5 hours (with lunch thrown in) and the atmosphere is very laid back and jovial – although obviously is not for those of a squeamish or faint-hearted disposition. The class is hosted by the lovely Amanda Sutton whom I sort of fell in love with temporarily during the course of the day (as is fairly commonplace for me in such situations) and you can have a look at some of Amanda’s taxidermy work here at Amanda’s Autopsies: http://amandasautopsies.com
During the lesson participants are shown how to dissect and stuff a hamster. The specimens are ethically sourced from animal feed for pet snakes bought from pet suppliers, plus collected road kill – so there’s no need for any vegans to start moaning. The event was also Valentine’s themed (of course!) so attendees where encouraged to accessorise their hamsters with romantic props and clothing. With this in mind, my creation is simply titled ‘Dead Sexy’:
I’ve included a few photos I took during the process at the bottom of this post, but there’s a load of professional shots over on the Facebook event page here (This is also where I stole the action shot of me at the top of the page):
I’m already looking forward to the next one!