jeudi 29 janvier 2015

D is for Drawbacks

D is for Drawbacks

There can be drawbacks living in France. It seems I’m going to miss out on a Mouse Taxidermy Workshop, run by one Margot Magpie, at the Barbican in London. It costs £65, including all tools and materials, but is sold out. The price also included entry to the Magnificent Obsessions Exhibition, which I am sure is fascinating.

Margot Magpie, a taxidermy artist, introduces participants to the processes and techniques behind basic taxidermy. I could have learnt how to skin, prep, preserve, mount and position a mouse and would have been able to take home my creation. Just think of what I could do with all the mice dragged in by the cats. Publicity for the course features a stuffed, bespectacled white mouse sitting in an armchair and reading a coy of Haley’s 2007 Complete Guide to Etiquette.

I was told: “No experience is necessary to take part and all tools and materials are provided. This workshop is open to adults (over 18) only.” But, there again, how many people actually have experience in mouse taxidermy?

Reassuringly, publicity for the course stated: “All rodents are ethically sourced and were not killed specifically for these workshops.

“No dangerous chemicals will be used and all animals are disease free.

“Please be advised that this class is not for the faint hearted. There will be minimal blood and gore, but taxidermy is not for everyone.”

I do have a vision of people emerging from the course, clutching their stuffed mice and heading for the Circle Line.

The good news is there are still places on Margot’s Art of Butterfly Preservation Course, where I could learn how to preserve, handle, set, and pin my very own butterflies. I could then take my specimens home for drying and mounting. A variety of colours and shapes of ethically sourced butterflies would be available to me.

There is a book on Amazon called Home Taxidermy for Pleasure and Profit (Illustrated Edition). It’s £6.40, but there are only six left in stock. Who needs Margot Magpie! But you can also look at Margot’s blog, entitled Of Corpse (

I’m afraid all I can think of is poor old Paddington being chased by a taxidermist in the film!

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