I often tell my students “In for a penny, in for a pound.” If you are interested in something enough, you should be willing to do something which makes you at least a little bit uncomfortable in the pursuit of that interest. If not, find another project. I am pretty sure I proved that adage today.
I showed up this morning at 8am sharp. The second I walked in the door, Dennis Rinehart looked at me and said “Kimberly?” As the only woman in the class, this was a bit of a no brainer. Dennis is friendly, funny and a very good teacher and taxidermist. I was offered a taxidermist’s breakfast of champions “We have cookies, bananas and coffee. . . help yourself.” Clearly, these are my kind of people. I must admit I didn’t really want to eat any Oreos while skinning my fox but they were kind to offer. The demonstrations began immediately. Dennis demonstrated each step and then we returned to our benches to work our way through the process. It involved fur, blood, knives and a whole lot of salt.
Today I skinned a fox. There, I said it. It made me uncomfortable for a whole bunch of reasons. First, let me be honest – it is visceral, intense, and pretty gross to skin an animal. Next, I am an animal lover and am very uncomfortable with the fact that this particular animal was trapped to be sold to a taxidermy school – this is not my usual roadkill adventure. Finally, one of the guys was skinning a coyote and coyotes REALLY smell. It reminded me of the day I was sprayed by a skunk. If you would like to imagine my day: imagine being sprayed by a skunk and then spending 8 hours skinning a dead critter in a room with 4 other folks also skinning dead critters. It was kind of like that but still somehow really awesome.
Nothing worthwhile is easy, or so they say.
The place is a fantasia of taxidermy. Enjoy the pics.