Where do I get my specimens?
The specimens I work on are all natural deaths (age, sickness or injury, window death) and come from zoos, breeders, or aviculturists.
Can I bring you an animal I find 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.
Further information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/endangered-species-application-for-commercial-use
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 kitchen towel, double bag it, label it and freeze it. Then please contact me on 07595611618 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.
Will you do my pet?
Thank you for considering me. Please note, I only work on domestic birds and not mammals. There is a premium on these bird mounts due to the increased responsibility 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.
Do you teach?
Yes. 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.
Please note you must be 18+ to attend my workshops.
I also have a Patreon where you can subscribe for as little as £1.04 a month for full access to all of my resources, behind the scenes content and virtual learning. The link is www.patreon.com/ellekayetaxidermy
Can I visit your studio?
Studio visits are by appointment only. 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 email@example.com. elle kaye taxidermy
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. The work will need to be regularly dusted, and preventative antiquity sprays used (if uncased) as part of your regular home cleaning routine.
Taxidermy can live for over 100 years if looked after, and all of my work should outlive me.
For information about looking after your taxidermy, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note, I will direct you to this FAQ should you email me about having moth. It is entirely the clients responsibility to look after their mounts.
If you do find you have moth, professional extermination may be necessary to salvage the work. To do this you will need to find a professional pest controller who will exterminate the pests on your mounts.
I would like to commission a piece of work from you, how do I do this?
Thank you so much. Please email me at email@example.com so we can discuss your bespoke request. I keep a large inventory of stock available for commission, and would be more than happy to send you an inventory list and price list. Alternatively, if you are after something specific, please ask me, as I may just have it.
Upon agreement of the piece, (sketches can be requested at this point if needed), I take a non-refundable 25% 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 approximately 3-4 months, depending on the work required.
(If you have an very sharp-approaching deadline, please email me with your request as I may take it on but I will add a premium for working unsociable hours)
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 at the moment. If you would like to book onto a course or pay for private tuition I am happy to assist.
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.
Why is the 25% deposit on my commission non-refundable?
Once a commission has been agreed and I have taken the non-refundable 25% deposit I immediately begin to invest in materials for your piece. The hand-painted eyes come in from abroad and are species specific, so they need to be ordered as soon as possible. The piece may also require a handmade base or case which again, requires a lead time.
The deposit is non-refundable due to this initial outlay. I also often commence work on the piece even if I am not due to begin it yet, as I fit things in around my other outstanding work. Sometimes things don't work out on pieces and I find I have a day free when I didn't expect to and so very often work my services have commenced and I require arrears for my time.
Do you rent pieces for photo-shoots, film etc.?
Yes. I keep a stock of work available for hire, so please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org 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. Alternatively, you can buy taxidermy from me for final purchase.
Do you do 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.
Please send comprehensive photographs and information to me at email@example.com for a quote.
I want to view the work upon collection and then decide.
I am sorry, but as I am a commissions based taxidermist, this is not an option. No work is undertaken until the brief has been decided and confirmed by the client. Once you agree to the pose/concept you are obligated to settle the outstanding upon completion and before dispatch/collection.
We would love to have you speak at our facility, do you give 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.
I will require a speakers fee/ expenses at my standard day rate.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for availability and details.
I've got the work home but I've changed my mind.
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.
I've found a bird and would like to donate it to you to use as you wish. I do not want it back. What do I do next?
Thank you for considering a taxidermist in this instance, we all appreciate people like you! Please carefully place it in an airlock bag (snappy bag or zip-lock), and wrap it in a another larger plastic bag to ensure it's properly protected from the frost. Then label it and freeze it. The sooner you can do this the better, as the longer the bird stays out of the freezer the more likely it is to spoil and become unsuitable for taxidermy. Please then email me at email@example.com so we can discuss how I can get it from you.