Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Morbid Anatomy in Brooklyn and Mexico (!!!): Upcoming Classes, Lectures and Field Trips!

Taxidermy, ex voto, Terra Nullius, insect shadowboxes and A TRIP TO MEXICO FOR DAY OF THE DEAD!

Following is a complete list of upcoming Morbid Anatomy Presents events based in Brooklyn and Mexico. Hope to see you at one or more of these great events!
Guinea Pig Taxidermy Class - Intro to Basic Taxidermy with Rogue Taxidermist Katie InnamoratoDate: Sunday, July 14
Time: 12 – 6:30 PM
Price: $150
Email: katie.innamorato(at)gmail(dot)com or afterlifeanatomy(at)gmail(dot)com to sign up.
This class is part of The Morbid Anatomy Art Academy
This class will introduce students to the process and techniques behind basic taxidermy. Students will learn how to skin, prep, preserve, mount, and position the animal. The class instructor will provide all specimens, materials, and tools for the class. Each student will leave with their own finished mount!
***Nothing was harmed for this class, these animals were raised to feed large reptiles and would otherwise be discarded if not sold.

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-
The Unclassifiable Body: Australia and the Unknowable
Illustrated lecture by Ian Haig, RMIT University, Melbourne
Date: Monday, July 15
Time: 8 PM
Price: $8
To the British explorers, the newly discovered Australian continent was Terra Nullius, 'empty land' or 'land belonging to nobody', a land mass at the end of the known world, the end of known geography. Tonight Ian Haig of RMIT University, Melbourne will discuss the mythology of Australia as a zone of the unclassifiable, along with other antipodean notions of the geographical, biological and culturally unclassifiable and unknowable. He will detail the disbelief of English naturists upon first seeing renderings on paper of unthinkable animals--such as kangaroos, platypuses, and black swans-- that exist no where else in the world, and examine Australia’s outback as a post-apocalyptic space. The discussion will range from The Howling 3.
Ian Haig - The marsupials--featuring a breed of marsupial werewolves based on the extinct Tasmanian tiger-- to prehistoric Australian marsupials (mega fauna) and finally to his own art work responding to the notion of the unclassifiable body. is an artist and art instructor who works at the intersection of visual arts and media arts. His work explores the strangeness of everyday reality and focuses on the themes of the human body, devolution, abjection, transformation and psychopathology, often seen through the lens of low cultural forms. Previous works have explored  the science fiction of sexuality, the degenerative and malign aspects of pervasive new technologies, to cultural forms of fanaticism and cults, to ideas of attraction and repulsion. Over the years the trajectory of Haig’s vision has encompassed everything from site-specific installation projects, interactive sculpture, comics, noise music, to animations, videos, drawings, web projects, to large-scale gallery installations.
Image: Early depiction of Cygnus atratus, given the title "Black Swan", native name "Mulgo." Published in 1792. From First Fleet Artwork Collection at The Natural History Museum, London. Found on Wikipedia.

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, July 20
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; 1:18 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?

Death in Mexico: A Special Field Trip to Mexico for Day of the Dead, Obscure Macabre Museums, and other Sites Important to the History of Death in Mexico October 31 - November 4
A 4-day trip to Mexico focusing on sites influential to the Mexican history of death, organized by Mexican writer and scholar Salvador Olguín and Morbid Anatomy
Dates: October 31  -  November 4 2013 (**Must reserve by July 20)
Includes: Two Day of the Dead Festivals; Special tours of The Museo de las Momias (Mummy Museum), The Museo Nacional de la Muerte (National Museum of Death), and The José Guadalupe Posada Museum, and a visit to historical Hidalgo market in Guanajuato, the Zacatecas Cathedral, the Temple of the Jesuit Order and other beautiful places.
Cost: $600.00 USD (Includes all hotels, luxury ground transportation, museum admissions, and breakfasts; airfares not included)
PLEASE NOTE: non-refundable down payment of $250.00 required by July 20 to reserve) Email info [at] with questions.
This Halloween season, why not join Morbid Anatomy and Mexican scholar Salvador Olguín for a very special 4-day, 4-night trip to Mexico for our favorite holiday, Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead?
With Mexican writer and history of death in Mexico scholar Salvador Olguín as our guide, this tour will introduce attendees to some of the of lesser-known macabre destinations in Mexico holding unique gems associated with the culture of death. Our journey will take us to two off-the-beaten-track Day of the Dead celebrations, special tours of obscure museums, markets selling Day of the Dead and Santa Muerte artifacts, churches, cemeteries, and, throughout, great regional cuisine (and drink!) and luxury transportation.
Departing from Monterrey, the trip will take us to the beautiful, historical colonial cities of Guanajuato, Zacatecas and Aguascalientes to experience an area traditionally described as wild and untamed within Mexico. This region of Mexico is uniquely important to the history of death in Mexico in that it was the home of both José Guadalupe Posada and Joaquín de Bolaños, author of the first official Mexican biography of Death La Portentosa Vida de la Muerte published in 1792.
Attractions include:
October 31
We recommend arriving in Monterrey on the evening of Halloween, October 31. We will have a Halloween celebration, Mexican style, and we will depart to our first destination early in the morning of November 1st.
November 1st  - Monterrey/Guanajuato
We will convene in Monterrey, Mexico at 7:30 in the morning, and leave for the city of Guanajuato by bus. Mexico’s Museo de las Momias (Mummy Museum) makes the small Colonial city of Guanajuato the star of this tour. The Mummy Museum has been displaying the naturally mummified bodies of people buried in the local cemetery for almost 150 years. A combination of dry weather, a mineral-rich soil, and a potent concentration of minerals in the water makes every person who has lived and died in Guanajuato a potential mummy, according to local lore. The museum itself is a wonderful combination of the macabre and the kitsch. You can visit the actual cemetery and see real mummies, but you can also visit the ‘modern’ Halloweenesque section of the museum, and eat charamuscas, a sugary candy shaped like a mummy.
November 2nd – Zacatecas
Zacatecas, another small Colonial city in Northern Mexico, was the home of Joaquín de Bolaños, author of the first official Mexican biography of Death. La Portentosa Vida de la Muerte was first published in 1792, and was quickly condemned by the literary elites and some prominent officers of the Inquisition. The book managed to survive, and nowadays the City of Zacatecas honors Bolaños, its prodigal son, with a festival named after him around Day of the Dead.
November 3rd – Aguascalientes
Aguascalientes was the birthplace of José Guadalupe Posada. Posada’s Calaveras have become icons of the festivities around Día de Muertos. In this city, we will visit the José Guadalupe Posada Museum, which houses original illustrations by Posada and other engravers of the time. The tour includes an exclusive visit of the Museo Nacional de la Muerte (National Museum of Death.)
We will be back in Monterrey by November 4 after 5:00 p.m. Please consider this for your traveling arrangements. For more information, contact  info [at]
Cost: $600.00 USD - airfares not included, non-refundable down payment of $250.00 required by July 20 to reserve . Email info [at] for questions.
The $600 fee covers land transportation in a luxury bus, traveler insurance, lodging (double rooms at hotels), taxes, breakfasts, guided tours, tickets to all museums, special visits to some of the sites, and special treats.

English Sparrow Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman
Date: Sunday, July 21
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.
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.


Anthropomorphic Mouse Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman
Date: Saturday, August 10
Time: 12:30 - 5 PM
Admission: $110
Advance Tickets Required; Tickets here:
Email divya.does.taxidermy at gmail dot com with questions or to be put on wait list
Class limit: 10
This class is part of the Morbid Anatomy Art Academy

Anthropomorphic taxidermy--in which taxidermied animals are posed into human attitudes and poses--was an artform made famous by Victorian taxidermist and museologist Walter Potter. In this class, students will learn to create--from start to finish--anthropomorphic mice inspired by the charming and imaginative work of Mr. Potter and his ilk. With the creative use of props and some artful styling, you will find that your mouse can take nearly whatever form you desire, from a bespectacled, whiskey swilling, top hat tipping mouse to a rodent mermaid queen of the burlesque world.

In this class, Divya Anantharaman--who learned her craft under the tutelage of famed Observatory instructor Sue Jeiven--will teach students everything involved in the production of a fully finished mount, including initial preparation, hygiene and sanitary measures, fleshing, tail stripping, and dry preservation. Once properly preserved, the mice will be posed and outfitted as the student desires. Although a broad selection of props and accessories will be provided by the instructor, students are also strongly encouraged to bring their own accessories and bases; all other materials will supplied. Each student will leave class with a fully finished piece, and the knowledge to create their own pieces in the future.

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.

Ex Voto Making Workshop with Master Jeweler Karen Bachmann
With Art Historian and Master Jeweler Karen Bachmann
Date: Sunday, August 11
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.

You can find out more about all events here. Image sourced here.

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