Finally got the chance to upload these new full hide wolf headdresses! Three of them are completely unadorned, other than my signature fangs I added to the muzzles; the big Arctic wolf, though, I made into a much more elaborate costume inspired by the green wolf myth from Normandy (France). You can find more pictures of them, and more information about them, on the Green Wolf Etsy shop!
I listed even more tails later in the weekend! Along with some nice fox and such, I also have some unusual ones—calf, sheep, vintage zebra, and more! Check ‘em out here at my Etsy shop :)
i know a lot of taxidermists take photoshoots of their pelts hanging on gravestones and i’ve thought about doing that (i like taking my pelts with me) but after thinking about that i think it might be disrespectful so i avoid it at all costs and make sure i never lay my possessions on graves if i have anything with me
Which brings up an interesting set of thoughts about the different ways people respect the dead and their remains. Just desecrating the dead stone object marking the place where someone’s body lies is seen as a much worse offense than some of the things we do to nonhuman animals’ bodies. This isn’t a bad thing or a criticism of the above, just a curious difference.
In American society as a whole human remains are treated very differently than other species’, hence there being nonhuman animal meat and leather and such freely available. We’d never dare do that to humans (as a culture, anyway). We’re biased toward our species. Look at all the different ways human remains are cared for—burial with embalming, green burial, cremation, scatter or keep the ashes, burial at sea, sky burial. All these have different connotations, often even different across cultures. But they all tend toward “treat dead humans with as much perceived respect as possible”. Look at how angry people get over the desecration of deceased humans, from Hector of Troy to a modern crematorium that dumped bodies into the woods behind the building.
Contrast that with other animals. Some people will bury or cremate a beloved pet that’s died, though plenty of dead fish still end up flushed down toilets across the nation. For the most part, other nonhuman animals aren’t treated with even that much care; it’s a much more impersonal affair to deal with their remains. Eat them, wear them, let them rot in a gutter with the other dead rats.
Taxidermy and other dead critter art is often a way to give the animals’ remains some additional respect, according to the artists, anyway. But opinions differ on that note, especially with animals that were killed only for their skins. Is it respectful to carry a pelt around, or wear a headdress into a grocery store, or wear a tail to school? Is it respectful to preserve a hide as close to lifelike as possible with taxidermy? What about ritual tools made from hide and bone that are strictly kept in sacred places?
I don’t think there’s one right answer, especially as this can be a very heated topic with people on all sides firmly convinced they’re right. Despite the ways in which we are much stricter about the treatment of our own species’ remains than those of other animals, even the disagreements there pale in comparison to the debate over nonhuman animal remains. There’s not as much of a set system in place, and there’s plenty of room for debate.
I’ve been working since the 1990s to create such a system for myself, based on my work with the animal hides and bones I’ve incorporated into art and spirituality. I’ve written about these practices extensively, and tried to make it clear what I was about. I’m not surprised I still get criticism for it, though, in part because the culture surrounding animal parts is in more flux.
Anyway, enough rambling from me. I just liked the initial vignette above, and thought it illustrated the different in how we treat the remains of our own species vs. those of others.
Unexpectedly stuck at home today. Still managed to list some tails, all garments remnants. You can see them at http://thegreenwolf.etsy.com :)
Kaprosuchus saharicus skull replica sculpted by Tyler Keillor.
Added stuff to Etsy last night—scrap fur for crafts, and a bunch of pouches, including one made from a coyote skull! They’re all over here at the Green Wolf.
Happy Friday! I made this big wolf fur shoulder bag earlier in the week, and listed it last night thanks to on-flight wi-fi! It’s here on Etsy if you want to find out more.
Well, *that* was interesting. Had a famous first as a dead critter artist last night—having to have someone removed from a venue for harassment.
Now, let me preface this by saying that this was neither the fault of the venue or the event being held there. The Dark Faerie and Fantasy Ball was an absolutely awesome party for the second year in a row, and if you didn’t go you missed out on a great time with many, many beautiful, happy people. And the Tabor Lounge (soon to be renamed the Alhambra) is a great venue; the staff took excellent care of me from load-in to pack-out, one of the most professionally run venues I’ve had the pleasure of vending at.
At any place where people are drinking, it’s likely that somebody will lose their inhibitions, and I think that’s what happened in this little vignette. I was hanging out with a group of pirates in my booth and having a rather fine time of it. I was putting a headdress they’d been admiring back on the shelf when, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a man and a woman at the edge of the booth. The look the woman gave me was not friendly. “Uh-oh”, I thought, “better prep myself for this one”. So I put on my best smile and turned to them. (Please note the following dialogue is an approximation of what was said; I don’t remember exact wording.)
I’m not even sure whether I got to say anything before the man started in on appeal for me to stop working with fur in my artwork. I said “Look, whatever you have to say is probably no different than what other people have said over the past fifteen years, and it’s not going to help”. He replied “But I have to try because maybe I’ll be the person who makes it sink in”. Okay. I get that he’s sincere. I appreciate sincerity, even if I don’t agree with the sentiment behind it.
But I wasn’t up for having an argument in the middle of a nice, big party, and so I replied “Why don’t we avoid this discussion and just let everybody have fun tonight? That’s what we’re all here for”. At this point I lost track of what the exact reply was, because both the man and the woman now started in trying to argue with me about it. I asked them three times to please not continue the conversation, and then said “If you don’t stop I’m going to have to ask you to leave my booth”. They didn’t stop, and kept at me.
Alright. That was it. No more of this. I said very loudly, so that people nearby could hear me, “If you do not leave me alone right now, I am going to go get a bouncer”. They both started in on me *again*, the woman making some snarky comment about “Oh, of *course* you will” or something along those lines. Yeah. Game over folks. I don’t care whether you’re a drunk guy who can’t take “no, leave me the fuck alone” for an answer, or a pair of anti-fur activists incapable of the same. When I say I’m calling a bouncer, you can bet I’m calling a goddamned bouncer.
Thankfully the lovely cadre of pirates were kind enough to keep an eye on the shop while I went to find a bouncer—which didn’t take very long. I ended up with a bouncer and two other staff members all confronting these two folks, quite politely and professionally. The bouncer told them “Look, you can stay and have fun at the party, just stay out of that room”, meaning the back bar area where my booth was. Quite reasonable, really.
But then they went and started yammering at the bouncer about how they weren’t doing anything wrong, and saying “But WHY? Whhhyyyyyyy?” To his credit, the bouncer put up with it long enough to offer them a couple more chances to stay and enjoy the show, rather than being shown the door, but they just kept up with their protests. And that’s why you never annoy the bouncer, especially when he’s trying to give you a second chance.
They were summarily shown the door, and I never saw them again. Then, on top of everything else, the bouncer AND the other two staff members all checked in to make sure I was okay, I apologized profusely for having to involve them in that ridiculousness, there were hugs all around (they all gave great hugs!) and we all went about our night.
I get that animal parts are a really emotional subject for a lot of people, and that not everyone agrees with me using hides and bones and such in my art. I’m more than happy to have polite conversations with people over our disagreements, as long as it’s understood that we each have our reasons and we don’t need to focus on trying to convert each other. And I’m ever grateful to people who don’t like my work who choose to simply walk past and go on with their day. But while I have to give them some credit for being bold enough to speak up in person instead of hiding behind a computer, the two folks last night crossed a definite line. My booth is my space, and it’s a place that I want to keep safe for both myself and my customers. Even if no red paint is tossed and no punches are thrown, verbal harassment still constitutes a threat, especially when the harassers are asked (or told) repeatedly to stop. Doesn’t matter whether the subject is “I want to get into your pants and if I pester you enough maybe you’ll give in” or “I want you to stop making the art you’ve made for over a decade and if I pester you enough maybe you’ll give in”—that’s a losing tactic.
As I said, the rest of the night went off without a hitch, and I had a great time. I was so surrounded by awesomeness that the adrenaline from the confrontation wore off pretty quickly, and once my partner showed up from work to relieve me I even got to go out and dance. So all was well that ends well!
Late last night I listed some new fur bracelets on Etsy! These are made either from vintage hides, or from scraps left over from my or other crafters’ projects, so nothing goes to waste, and the leather is all from secondhand coats. Plus, as always, part of the proceeds benefits wildlife and habitat-based nonprofits. So go see what I have at http://thegreenwolf.etsy.com/ :)
Yikes. Has it really been almost a year since this shoot? I kind of miss that cloak, though it went to a good person.
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