Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Morbid Anatomy in Brooklyn: Newly Announced Classes and Workshops in the Arcane, The Taxidermic, and the Anatomical

Morbid Anatomy is delighted to announce a number of new Brooklyn-based workshops taking place in the weeks and months to come! Offerings include anthropomorphic insect shadowboxes, wearable and displayable taxidermy, and ex voto making; Full details on all follow. Hope to see you at one or more!

And as always, you can find a full event and workshop list on the Morbid Anatomy Facebook page by clicking here.

Anthropomorphic Insect Shadowbox Workshop with Former AMNH Senior Insect Preparator Daisy Tainton
With Daisy Tainton, Senior Insect Preparator at the American Museum of Natural History
Date: Saturday, June 22
Time: 1 – 4 PM
Admission: $75
***Must purchase tickets either in person or at
This class is part of The Morbid Anatomy Art Academy

Today, join former AMNH Senior Insect Preparator Daisy Tainton for Observatory's popular Anthropomorphic Insect Shadowbox Workshop. In this class, students will work with Rhinoceros beetles: nature's tiny giants. Each student will learn to make--and leave with their own!--shadowbox dioramas featuring carefully positioned beetles doing nearly anything you can imagine. Beetles and shadowboxes are provided, and an assortment of miniature furniture, foods, and other props will be available to decorate your habitat. Students need bring nothing, though are encouraged to bring along dollhouse props if they have a particular vision for their final piece; 1:12 scale work best.
BEETLES WILL BE PROVIDED. Each student receives one beetle approximately 2-3 inches tall when posed vertically.

Daisy Tainton was formerly Senior Insect Preparator at the American Museum of Natural History, and has been working with insects professionally for several years. Eventually her fascination with insects and  love of Japanese miniature food items naturally came together, resulting in cute and ridiculous museum-inspired yet utterly unrealistic dioramas. Beetles at the dentist? Beetles eating pie and knitting sweaters? Even beetles on the toilet? Why not?
You can find out more about all events here.


Squirrel Taxidermy and the Ancient Technique of Wrapped Body with Rogue Taxidermist Katie Innamorato
Date: Sunday, June 23
Time: 12 - 6.30
Admission: $275
***Maximum class size: 8 Students; Must RSVP to katie.innamorato [at]
This class is part of The Morbid Anatomy Art Academy

This class will introduce students to basic taxidermy processes. As with other classes, this is only open to 8 students to allow for a more intimate one on one environment. Each student will be provided with their own squirrel which they will skin, flesh, and prep for mounting. Students will be taught how to wrap bodies for the animals using the carcasses for reference. Wrapping is an old school traditional taxidermy process that many taxidermists do not bother with today. Pre-sculpted head forms will be available for students, but if they are feeling more adventurous they can carve their own! Students will be able to pose their squirrels however they want and are encouraged to bring in any props they may want to dress the animal up in, and items to secure their mounts on. Animal remains will be collected at the end of class and either the students can take them with them, or the instructor will dispose of them.

Rogue taxidermist Katie Innamorato has a BFA in sculpture from SUNY New Paltz, has been featured on the hit TV show "Oddities," and has had her work featured at La Luz de Jesus gallery in Los Angeles, California. She is self and professionally taught, and has won multiple first place ribbons and awards at the Garden State Taxidermy Association Competition. Her work is focussed on displaying the cyclical connection between life and death and growth and decomposition. Katie is a member of the Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermists, and with all M.A.R.T. members she adheres to strict ethical guidelines when acquiring specimens and uses roadkill, scrap, and donated skins to create mounts.

Her website and blogs-


English Sparrow Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman
Date: Sunday, June 30
Time: 12 – 6:00 PM
Price: $185.00
This class is part of  The Morbid Anatomy Art Academy
In this class, students will create a fully finished mount from an English sparrow. An awfully cute, yet highly invasive species commonly seen in city and country alike, this class will cover introductory basic techniques used for small bird taxidermy. Each student will begin with their own sparrow, which they will proceed to skin, flesh, and mount in the pose of their choice. A selection of anthropomorphic and naturalistic props will be provided, although attendees are also welcome to bring their own, allowing the student to customize their bird. Students will create forms and poses using the technique of wrapping (a very traditional method of creating forms for small animals). We will also discuss the various methods of maintaining feet, beaks, and the delicate nature of grooming feathers. Reference images will be provided, though students are more than welcome to provide their own props and inspiration. We will also discuss federal and state bird laws, as well as the MBTA (a copy of which will be provided).

And please note: No animals were killed for the class.

Divya Anantharaman is a Brooklyn based artist whose taxidermy practice was sparked by a lifelong fascination with natural mythology and everyday oddities. After a journey filled with trial and error, numerous books, and an inspiring class (Sue Jeiven's popular Anthropomorphic Mouse Taxidermy Class at Observatory!), she has found her calling in creating sickly sweet and sparkly critters. Beginning with mice and sparrows, her menagerie grew to include domestic cats, woodchucks, and deer. Recently profiled on Vice Fringes, the New York Observer, and other publications, she will also be appearing in the upcoming season of Oddities-and is definitely up to no good shenanigans. You can find out more at

Also, some technical notes:
  • We use NO harsh or dangerous chemicals.
  • Everyone will be provided with gloves.
  • All animals are disease free.
  • Although there will not be a lot of blood or gore, a strong constitution is necessary; taxidermy is not for everyone
  • All animals were already dead, nothing was killed for this class.
  • Please do not bring any dead animals with you to the class
Image found here.

Traditionally Wrapped Body Pigeon or Quail Bird Taxidermy Class with Rogue Taxidermist Katie Innamorato
Date: Sunday, July 7
Time: 12 – 6:30 PM
Price: $250
This class is part of  The Morbid Anatomy Art Academy

This class will introduce students to basic small bird taxidermy processes. As with other classes, this is only open to 8 students to allow for a more intimate one on one environment. Each student will be provided with their own quail which they will skin, flesh, and prep for mounting. Due to the small and varying nature of these birds, we will be using the old school traditional technique of wrapping bodies for these birds. Students will learn how to mount a bird using its skull and learn how to preserve the skin and pose it. Legalities of working with birds and bird parts will also be discussed. A copy of the MBTA will be brought to class and passed around to students.

Katie Innamorato, artist and Rogue Taxidermist, is a member of the M.A.R.T. or Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermists. She is professionally and self taught in taxidermy; winning awards and ribbons every year at the GSTA. She explores the commercial relationships between animals and our society and her work questions the idea of bringing nature inside. She also examines the cyclical connections between life and death, and growth and decomposition. As with all M.A.R.T. members she adheres to strict ethical guidelines when acquiring specimens. She uses roadkill, scrap skins from other taxidermists and the garment industry, and donated skins to create her artworks; almost every part of the animal is utilized.

Her work has been featured recently on the new Science Channel show, "Odd Folks Home," on the hit Science and Discovery Channel TV show, "Oddities," and exhibited at La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles, CA.

Her website and blogs-


Wearable Taxidermy Workshop with Beth Beverly, Rogue Taxidermist and Fashion Designer at Diamond Tooth
Date: Saturday, July 27
Time: 12 - 6:30 pm
Admission: $150
Must RSVP to RSVP Email: diamondtoothtaxidermist(at)
This class is part of The Morbid Anatomy Art Academy

Students will be provided with pre-skinned and tanned chicken hide elements (wings, tails, heads, etc) along with millinery hardware and all the glues, threads, chain, and miscellaneous decorative elements to create a one of a kind custom taxidermy headpiece.

Starting with the malleable hide parts, students will be instructed on how to manipulate, fill and and position the feathered sections while anchoring them to the metal hardware using foam mannequin heads (provided) for stability.  Millinery accents like netting, crinoline, jewels and metal embellishments can then be added to complete the students' own personal design, finishing off the workshop with instruction on lining the inside and adding a personalized garment tag.

Students will leave with their new wearable piece of fashion taxidermy, along with printed out lesson sheets and sourcing info so that they may employ these new skills for life.

Philadelphia’s premiere rogue taxidermist, Beth Beverly specialises in wearable taxidermy. Her hats have won awards at the Devon Horse Show, Brandywine Polo and Radnor Hunt Clubs. Her work has been featured in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, plus galleries such as La Luz de Jesus, Art in the Age and Michael Vincent Gallery. In 2010 Beverly won "Best in Show" at the annual Carnivorous Nights competition in New York. Currently featured as an "Immortalizer" on AMC's series about competitive taxidermy, she relishes in being photographed wearing her work and defying common stereotypes of taxidermists.

Ex Voto Making Workshop with Master Jeweler Karen BachmannWith Art Historian and Master Jeweler Karen Bachmann
Date: Sunday, August 4
Time: 1 - 5 pm
Admission: $150
***Must pre-purchase tickets at; 8 person limit
This class is part of The Morbid Anatomy Art Academy

An Ex-voto is an offering made in fulfillment of a vow, usually offered to a particular saint or other divinity. The term is Latin in origin, short for ex voto suscepto –“from the vow made." Ex-votos are placed in chapels, shrines, and other places of pilgrimage to offer thanks for blessings, healing, and to seek grace. Such places of pilgrimage have been found throughout history and in such diverse places as Egypt, Italy, and Mexico.

As ex-votos are often associated with miraculous healing, the forms they take reflect the healed body part. Hearts, lungs, legs, arms, heads, breasts, crutches, etc. often find themselves replicated in embossed and sometimes painted metal which adorn the walls of chapels in fantastic array. They are sometimes accompanied by written verse as well. Such ex-votos stand not only as tokens of thanks, but also as testaments of faith to other viewers.

This class will demonstrate how to construct from sheet metal an ex-voto of one’s own choosing. Using metal sheers and embossing tools, students will learn how to lay out a design and create their own individualized ex-voto suitable for hanging on a wall (chapel or otherwise). Metal and tools will be supplied. Samples will be shown, as well as anatomical images suitable for reproduction. Please bring sketchpad and pencil.

Karen Bachmann is a fine jeweler with over 25 years experience, including several years on staff as a master jeweler at Tiffany and Co. She is a Professor in the Jewelry Design Dept at Fashion Institute of Technology as well as the School of Art & Design at Pratt Institute. She has recently completed her MA in Art History at SUNY Purchase with a thesis entitled Hairy Secrets:... In her downtime she enjoys collecting biological specimens, amateur taxidermy and punk rock.
Image found here.

Full list and more information on all events can be found here. More on the Morbid Anatomy Art Academy can be found here.

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