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February 15, 2011

Much Too Much Time On Their Hands


For some reason an old hobby has been resurrected - mouse stuffing.

No, not that kind of mouse. An actual rodent-type mouse, dead of course. From the NY Post:

They look like sculptures, but the figurines were once living, breathing, scurrying rodents.

"It looks less like an animal and more like a weird art project," said Susan Jeiven, 39, a tattoo artist and taxidermist who'll teach the class at Observatory art space.

The three-hour stuffing session is not for the squeamish.

Jeiven buys the frozen vermin from snake-feed stores, then thaws them out and sucks out their blood with a syringe.

On class day, students will clean out the mice's innards with razors and remove their bones. Borox and strong chemicals are applied to preserve their coats.

Then the artistry gets under way, with the students shaping molds out of clay, sewing on the preserved skins, and using wires to set the mice into odd poses.

Jeiven is a purist, so her mice will be dressed in Victorian bloomers and vintage doll clothing.

"I don't like rogue taxidermy. I want them to look classy," she said.

Myself, there's a few rogues I know that could stand a bit of creative taxidermy. Dead or otherwise.

And of course this activity is not limited just to mice.There are literally scores of wee beasties who are ripe for scraping, stuffing, mounting and dressing. You are limited only by your imagination and lack of taste.

Anthropomorphic taxidermy was once all the rage of high Victorian society. The Big Apple's first public museum, Scudder's American Museum, featured exhibits on it, and British practitioners created entire weddings and banquets with dozens of stuffed squirrels, cats and mice.

Some of the works fetched $53,000 during a 2003 auction of the largest collections of the oddities in Cornwall, and macabre artist Damien Hirst loves the stuff.

The strange art was featured in last year's comedy flick "Dinner for Schmucks," where actor Steve Carell fishes dead mice off the road to stuff and arrange them.




"There is definitely a revival. Our lectures that touch on taxidermy are standing-room only," said Joanna Ebenstein, an Observatory curator, noting that the biggest interest has come from women.


Thank you, but I'll limit my stuffing to turkeys and Thanksgiving.

11 comments:

Nickie Goomba said...

I stuff my mice with ball-bearings. Difficult to work with, but the little critters become excellent personal defense devices.

Zio Rico said...

""There is definitely a revival. Our lectures that touch on taxidermy are standing-room only," said Joanna Ebenstein, an Observatory curator, noting that the biggest interest has come from women."

These are probably women whose lives are uncluttered by sex and companionship.

Anonymous said...

I stuff gerbils

Eman said...

When I was young, I screwed birds to trees... so to speak. I dunno why, I think I knew why at the time but heck if I remember now. which begs the question: Did you pack your lunch or did you ride the bus to school.

Say wha?

Nickie Goomba said...

Let's leave that lest comment as a reminder to all to arm one's self before leaving the house (shudder).

sig94 said...

Nick - I'm trying to convince my wife to stuff them with a nice mixture of parmesan and rigotta cheese. While they're still alive.

Indeed they are difficult to work with, but they make excellent, fast moving hors d'oeuvres for our cats.

sig94 said...

Zio - Goomba joined the cloisters as his life was also becoming increasingly "uncluttered."

sig94 said...

Anon - One of the gerbils talked. PETA and the local DA's office has you and your household under constant surveillance.

sig94 said...

Eman - BWI, Blogging While Insane.

Goomie, you took the words right out of Anon's screaming gerbil.

The_Kid said...

I think Nana would look wonderful stuffed. Funny at least. She looks stuffed now in fact. If she could only learn to keep still.

On the other hand, Janet wouldn't look good no matter what you did to her. Ditto Hilrod, Elana, and Sonia.

The_Kid said...

By the way, Be very careful Stuffing Gerbils