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FAQ

updated 2024

Where do you get your specimens?​​

The specimens I work on are all natural deaths (age, sickness or injury, window death) and come from zoos, ornamental breeders, or aviculturists.

Can I bring you a dead animal I have found deceased?

I work in accordance with the animal protection laws provided by Natural England and DEFRA, and therefore need to ensure all of the specimens I work on are obtained legally. If you find a bird that you suspect has been deliberately harmed, or dead birds in numbers of five or more, please contact DEFRA on 03459 33 55 77. 

If you do find a bird that  you would like mounted, and you are sure it has died as a RTA (road traffic accident), window death or cat prey, or your own domestic aviary death, please record the location and date, wrap the bird in an airtight plastic bag (such as a snappy bag or zip-lock), label it and freeze it. Then please contact me to discuss your taxidermy piece. Freezing it as close to death as possible will ensure it is the best condition for mounting. 

Please be aware that if picking up birds of prey (owls, buzzards, kestrels etc.) I will need very specific information about where the bird was found, in order to apply for a A10 certificate.  Screenshots of your location on Google Maps is very helpful.

I would like to commission a piece of taxidermy from you. What do I do?

Thank you so much. Please email me at  elletaxidermy@gmail.com so we can discuss your bespoke request. 

Upon agreement of the piece, I take a non-refundable 35% deposit that secures the specimen for you, and also reserves the time in my calendar. Due to availability, my current turn around time for work is 3-4 months, depending on the work required. For quick turnaround pieces, I charge an additional 15%. Please contact me to discuss your needs.

What is the process for a commission?

Once we have discussed your needs, I invoice for a non-refundable deposit. Upon receipt, I begin work. Once the work has been completed, I  invoice for the remaining balance, any other charges incurred (i.e. a glass case) and the courier charge. No work is dispatched until full payment has been received. Payment must be remitted within thirty days of receipt.

What happens if I don't pay my invoice within thirty days of receipt?

Failure to pay within thirty days of remittance will result in a balance increase of 5% of the owed amount. This will be resubmitted for each month that elapses until payment has been cleared. It is at my discretion as to when I decide to pursue other avenues for unpaid invoices.

What if I don't respond to you to claim my finished artwork?

I give clients six months to respond to my emails and to claim their finished artworks. During this time I will make multiple attempts to contact you and remind you of this policy. After this period I have the right to keep your deposit, and sell the work elsewhere. Should you contact me after six months of remittance, I will refer you to this clause.

Will you do my pet?

Thank you considering me. Please note, I only work on birds and not mammals.
 

If you are considering pet taxidermy, you must get your animal in the freezer as soon as possible. The longest it remains unfrozen the more likely it will spoil and become unsuitable for taxidermy. Wrap the animal in several plastic bags and ensure it is airtight. Then label and freeze while you evaluate your options.

 

I charge a premium rate on these mounts due to the increased responsibility and research involved. I ask that you provide photographs and if possible, video footage of your bird when they were alive, so I can really try to get the essence of your pet.

Please note, taxidermy is essentially model-making. The piece that you are returned is not a movable piece, but a rigid model. Please think long and hard about whether you would like your pet done, as the taxidermist strives for a likeness, but can never truly achieve an exact carbon copy of your pet, and as I do not offer refunds, please consider whether you will be satisfied with this new version of your beloved creature.

You will be required to pay a 50% non-refundable deposit, and sign a disclaimer should you agree to the work.

I've got the work home but I've changed my mind. Can I have a refund?

Due to the 'bespoke' commission nature of the work,  I do not offer refunds. No work is undertaken until  a creative  discussion has taken place between the client and I, to clarify the objective and visual intention of the work. Sketches can be made on request if needed to ensure the vision is shared (for which I charge an hourly rate). If you change your mind during the process, you will still be required to make full payment in exchange for the completed artwork.
 

Do you teach?

I do the occasional class hosted in museums and venues across the country. For news about upcoming classes, please subscribe to my mailing list where I will send out ticket information when it becomes available. For private tuition there is a premium, but can be booked for individuals or small groups depending on my availability and will be entirely at my discretion.

Please note you must be 18+ to attend my workshops.

Can I visit your studio?

Studio visits are by appointment only and are subject to my discretion. Due to the sensitive nature of the work, I do not allow casual drop ins to the studio. This can also be disruptive to private tuition sessions that may be ongoing.

Press visits can be organised by emailing elletaxidermy@gmail.com.

My taxidermy has moth! What do I do?

All mounts are professionally fumigated and properly preserved before leaving the studio. A taxidermist preserves the skin so that the animal cannot rot. The feathers, whilst treated, are still vulnerable, just as a tapestry, rug or fur coat would be, and needs monitoring and looking after. 

A taxidermist cannot live in their clients homes, and cannot legislate for the client getting moth. It is the clients responsibility to be vigilant and committed to looking after their work. If you find you have moth, I will refer you to this clause. Please contact your local pest controller who may be able to provide you with options to control it. 

Taxidermy can live for over 200 years if looked after, and all of my work should outlive me.

Can I come and collect my taxidermy instead of using the courier option?

As per my company policy, I do not accept customer collections. All work will be dispatched by courier and is non-negotiable.

Can I be your apprentice?

Thank you for considering working for me. Unfortunately due my availability I do not have the time for an apprentice currently.
 
Please note, if I am hiring for a paid position at the studio, I will be looking for applicants who have practiced taxidermy for a minimum of 3 years, and will need to see examples of your work and practice. I do already have an assistant for the workshops I teach, but if I am ever looking for more assistants this will be advertised on my Instagram at @ellekayetaxidermy and will be a one off paid event.

Do you rent pieces for film, prop, photoshoot etc. hire?

Yes. I keep a stock of work available for hire, so please email me at elletaxidermy@gmail.com for availability. 
The prices are either a rate per week (Monday-Monday), or a price per day. Delivery and collection are not included but can be arranged for you. 

 

Please note, you will be required to sign a contract if you are hiring work, to agree to costs for breakages, fines for late return etc.

Do you do taxidermy restoration?

Yes. Whilst I do have experience in taxidermy restoration, sometimes taxidermy is unable to be restored due to severe breakages, water damage or pests. If I feel the request is outside of my capabilities I will recommend a professional natural history restorer or conservator whom I trust. 


Please send comprehensive photographs and information to me at elletaxidermy@gmail.com for a quote.

We would love to have you speak at our faculty. Do you do talks?

Yes! I have been very fortunate to give lectures all over the country, at schools, Universities, galleries and events. I can also do demos and provide examples of work at different stages in the process.

Please contact me at elletaxidermy@gmail.com for availability and details.

Do you have a showroom or is your work on display for me to view somewhere?

The majority of my clients are private, and for some contracts I am signed into non-disclosures preventing me from advertising where my work is shown. I currently have specimens on display as part of the London Natural History Museum's 2024 exhibition 'Birds: Brilliant and Bizarre'. For more information just drop me an email.

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