Uses This

1192 interviews since 2009

A picture of Natalie Delaney-John

Natalie Delaney-John

Taxidermist

in animal, teacher

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Natalie Delaney-John and I am a taxidermist and educator.

I run a company named Rest in Pieces which teaches the dying arts. Some of the skill sets taught include taxidermy, skeletal articulation, insect preservation and corrosion casting.

We deliver education in the form of workshops, books, ebooks, kits, exhibitions, online live tutorials and an online video library. We are the only company of its kind globally.

When I first decided that I wanted to learn taxidermy it came from the simplest of curiosities. I was screaming out for a creative outlet and became really interested in the art of taxidermy when I found out that you had not been able to learn it in Australia since the 1970's.

In order to get involved in the industry I harassed a mentor for 3 months until he took me on. I then spent every weekend at their studio for 3 years to pick up some basic skills and also travelled to Spain where I was fortunate enough to help build some works for a museum on the history of hunting.

Since then I have travelled throughout the US and Canada to learn and was lucky enough to receive a fellowship this year through the International Skills Institute to train for 6 weeks in Los Angeles with some of the world's most awarded practitioners in the fields of taxidermy, moulding, casting and zoological sculpting.

What hardware do you use?

Some of the tools we use are unique to their relevant fields such as tanning supplies and polyurethane forms. These sorts of things we get from Australian taxidermy supplies. Interestingly though there is a huge cross over into the craft, science, cleaning and building supplies space. We are constantly using a huge variety of tools ranging from scalpels to needles, paintbrushes, paints, power tools, epoxy, casting agents, plywood and detergents etc.

In terms of machinery we are very limited here in Australia as to what we can access. Most of the specialised tools are made in the United States so I find myself often buying bits and pieces that I can access here and then engaging a carpenter or metal worker to custom build me machines.

And what software?

Software isn't really required in the art forms itself. However, as a small business owner running this company I have to use a tremendous amount of programs.

Things that I couldn't live without include:

What would be your dream setup?

I would love to have a studio for creating and running workshops in both Sydney and Melbourne where we are based. I currently rent a studio in Melbourne that I also live in, and sublet a studio in Sydney.

In addition to this, we are looking to open up our own independant museum in 2022 that showcases the preservation of native Australian species, provides education on our native fauna and the damage caused by introduced species. We want this to be an interactive space for learning and creating with none of the formalities and red tape of traditional museums.

Having funding for a space for our museum in Melbourne would be our dream!

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