DIY Taxidermy with Charlie Tuesday Gates

To drink on a Tuesday night would be the absolute last thing on my mind (#SchoolNight), and for others, it would be to attend an interactive DIY taxidermy session at The Book Club with artist Charlie Tuesday Gates — which I had the immense pleasure of doing.

Charlie has more charisma in her surgical-gloved pinky finger (or magpie-headpiece) than alot of people have in their entire body, which is necessary to captivate an audience for almost three hours. In between using animal skins as puppets and re-dressing carcasses, she does taxidermy as performance and show. #Casual #DayInTheLifeOf



Here Charlie illustrates how one can use basic household items to do taxidermy, making this seemingly untouchable form of art accessible and simple. From what I gathered, taxidermy (with artistic license) has one step and one ingredient — dousing and salt respectively. Alongside her, an audience participant makes taxidermy of  either a rabbit and squirrel: nothing like learning from first-hand experience !

The meat of the rabbit was cooked by George Foreman (grill) and another member of the audience who happens to be a chef, later served to six people. Despite having a rabbit named Octavian, rabbit is undeniably tasty so I savoured a limb while Charlie proceeded to salt the skinned lamb’s body. It’s like Martha Stewart, Yan Can Cook and Bill Nye The Science Guy met to collaborate (…and make macabre art ?)

To end, she raffles off a few obscure pieces — mostly a mix of taxidermy and found objects. #WomanAfterMyOwnHeart
The one above is a lovely ornamental squirrel-crystal-ball that I imagine would go well alongside a jewelry box on one’s powder table. #NotSarcasmActually

What an inspiration ! I have genuine intentions of purchasing mice (#TaxidermyForBeginners) to practice and refine this very special skill/art form/hobby. Like, seriously, fuck all the My Little Pony-collecting, flower pressing and cupcake-baking….

NOTE: Charlie’s work is both brilliant and controversial, and seems to pertain the very pregnant question of ethics for many. For starters, she only uses animals that are already dead, diligently hunting skips where their bodies have been discarded or keeping an eye out for roadkill to collect. She preserves animals that will surely outlast the time it takes for the average person to chow down a steak. And in this, conveying a message through art that may be even more essential than leaving dead lambs in skips to just be dead lambs.

Photographs by myself and Dalia Kranauskaite.
Fin !
/E

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