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Photo by Olivia Rae James
It seems that the weeks that are the most unsettling are the ones that I post about. These events, downright insane or even just a little strange, can create certain milestones and tend to re-shape my entire existence.
I welcome it, as I’m a firm believer in Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote: “do one thing every day that scares you.”
This month, I’ve said yes to almost everything. I’ve been trying to put my foot down and not do many things for “free” anymore, as I’ve found that the more you do for free you can begin to figure out which things will actually advance your business and which things are just people taking advantage of you.
Things I’ve said yes to:
Being there for a friend as she had to put down an aggressive goat, Chloe, who was in pain, generally unhappy and no longer producing milk. With her help, I skinned her and prepared her to be a life-sized taxidermy piece who will live on forever. More on that later. That day, that whole experience deserves its own blog post, later, when I’ve had more time to consider what actually happened. I will say, for now, that I’m changed, and I think my friend is too. Talk about bonding… we’re “in it for life.” As I drove down the road to the farm, I heard Florence and the Machine singing “I must become the lion-hearted girl” and I was smiling and tearing up thinking about how sometimes things just happen at the right time. A huge wave of emotion washed over me about 10 minutes out, and when I arrived I was told Chloe died 10 minutes ago. It was a pretty spiritual experience. I don’t care how tough you are, how disconnected you can get from things, life coming and going is the most intense thing on the planet. I think that’s why I love taxidermy so much – it’s therapeutic.
Speak at a nursing home about my craft.
Private art lessons with a talented little girl.
Heading up/planning a fundraising event for the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind (May 2014)
Attend an artist intensive weekend for small art business owners.
Create a wearable, taxidermy deer-head mask for a theater company (more on that later, but as for now it’s on it’s way to Copenhagen!)
And other stuff….
Sisal & Tow, fine fabrication: a gallery space.
Custom tiles for a brand new restaurant.
More repair work for the Charleston Museum.
Creating an ocean-floor diorama for a NSF art exhibition.
Custom raccoon mount…
Starting on this Sailfish Repair… yikes!
The opossum and fox are for the Charleston Museum’s education department.
Fixing up the bear so he can make an appearance at the Kinfolk Gathering next week, the HONEY HARVEST! Get your tickets before Tuesday! www.kinfolk.com/shop/events
Just had to include one more of this guy.
Things are going pretty great over here at Sisal & Tow!
This month has brought a lot of great new things, and many changes. The new house is looking good, but I don’t think it will ever be finished. I am such a nester.
Sisal & Tow repaired some taxidermy for the Charleston Museum
We held a baby shower for Lauren.
I was featured in Freunde Von Freunden, read the article here.
I mounted a custom Raccoon.
Finished some birds for some friends.
Started on a really cool renovation of a Sailfish
Danny came to visit!
Visited NYC and loved the Rain Room!
Going to teach at Redux for the summer kid’s camps. Jennie is coming to stay next week.
Turned 26 and had a great birthday!
We did lose a hive this last month, but we’re going strong with the other and we’re not giving up!
This past month has been quite amazing.
I’m back at the Aquarium for six weeks (three have already gone by!)
We had a friend trip to Lake Summit, NC, Erik got a new (used) BMW, and I am under contract for a home which will be the new HQ for Sisal & Tow.
At the Aquarium, I am sculpting seven models of various animals for a new exhibit on the veterinary side of things.
The Yellow-Bellied Slider in progress.
The animals are as follows, with a brief description of how they are being made/what steps I take to make them…
Tarpon – fiberglass model, detail work (eye-setting, fin-sculpting), painting by airbrush and hand, water-proofing, gill-adding, he gets water pumped through him under a glass case to simulate a surgery. He also has this extra gross blob on his face I had to add on, which was delightfully fun
Yellow-Bellied Slider – fiberglass model, detail work, painting by airbrush and hand
Green Moray Eel – sculpted from scratch (foam, epoxy, painting)
Lined Seahorse – sculpted from scratch (out of clay, made a mold, cast, painted, etc)
Spadefish – fiberglass model, detail work, painting by airbrush
Horseshoe Crab – preserved and repaired real animal (died naturally) it was majorly cracked and unstable so after repairing and stabilizing, painted it and sealed it
Bonnet-head Shark – fiberglass model, detail work, painting by airbrush and hand
Here is a photo of the animals in progress…
*THE EEL IN THIS PHOTO IS BEING USED AS A REFERENCE ONLY – I DIDN’T MAKE IT!*
There’s also a mural to be done, fake bananas to fix (didn’t think that would be something I’d ever do again, but I guess things come back to haunt you) and a big fake log to fix up so the kiddies can play on it.
I’m pleased to announce that I am still taking on pet portraits, here is my latest:
And I will be published in the Greenhorn’s Almanac (soon) and the Southern Makers book by Jen Causey – not only am I honored to be included in the book, but I am also going to be hand drawing the map for the publication as well. http://www.themakersproject.com/
OH, and Bruce is doing great.