Freshest Head and Neck Fruits from my Hand Labor

Last week the gorgeous and talented Pearl ( you’ve seen her beauty here, see her creations here: Pearl Bell ) braved the sweltering climes in my third floor studio along with photographer and all around hottie Jim Coughlin (blog here: Snap Bam Splat and follow him on Instagram too @jimsinspace ) to shoot my latest headgear.  I provided the champagne.

Behold!

The Pearl:

I blocked this green felt hat myself, and named it after Ms. Bell for the simple reason that wide brim hats remind me of her.  There’s a taxidermy wing tucked into the brim and some of the feathers trail off on the side, complimenting the downward swoop of the hat.

I also incorporated a sparkly tennis bracelet from my mother’s collection.

The Pomp:

Comprised of the very same chicken from the Pearl hat, this piece is a taxidermied mount dried to mimic the shape of a swooping pompadour.

The mount itself is affixed to a handmade millinery base that I lined with pink satin and blue lace trim, which serves as a point upon which the hat can be secured on the wearer’s head with bobby pins or elastic.  I like to see it paired with a cage veil but it can also be worn alone.

The Frenchie:

A taxidermied wing is enmeshed into the ruffles of a vintage millinery base, a fun jaunty little number.

Secured to the wearer’s head with an elastic band, it can provide hours of worry free dancing, drinking, laughing, etc.  Worn alone here it’s a flirty little number but can be paired with a white cage veil for a stunning wedding piece.

The Carnival:

Named after a wild night in which this hat remained on my head for 8 straight hours of drinking, dancing, being chased by Mexican gangsters, etc,  this hat takes a licking and keeps….on your head.

Secured to the wearer’s head with an elastic band, the focal point of this piece is a pair of deer antlers embellished with genuine Swarosvki set amethyst crystals that point dangerously close to the eye.  The base is an antique millinery piece upon which I have added a raccoon fur poof and some hand twisted crinoline.

The Bobby:

My obsession with visors is still going strong, this example being in a hand blocked blue felt cap with a taxidermy chicken swirled around to create a bird butt poof at the top.  The chicken is, of course, embellished with crystals.

Along with the practical purpose of visors reflecting glare, the not so secondary mystique element of a slightly veiled face cannot be denied.

Le Roth:

As it took shape, this hat started to channel a sort of David Lee Roth ala “California Girls” energy, but en peu more French.  A taxidermied rooster wing sits atop a vintage millinery base with a yellow visor.  The bird head is hollow, while the exterior is just dripping with crystals.  Take from that whatever symbolism you wish,

The Andrea:

My classic visor hat.  Raccoon fur lined with felt and embellished with a sweet little green velvet ribbon.  Perfect for eye sex across the slopes and a toasty tete.

The Duchess:

This hat is a mashup of several species: the base is an antique rabbit fur pillbox, and I added a yellow poof of gosling down along with assorted chicken, guinea hen and pheasant feathers.

Ideal for a post hunt dinner on the estate, or a stroll down the avenue with you best beagle.

The Ladyship:

I think this piece speaks for itself. I just adore it.  It commands respect and gives the wearer an air of dignified authority. The base itself was so stunning to begin with, all I could do was add to it.  So add I did- a patch of assorted feathers, some gold metal charms from my personal collection and a tassel I made from silk fringe.  For women only, no girls please.

 

 

El Gatador:

A super cute felt number, this is a seriously easy to wear piece that stays on the wearer’s head thanks to an elastic band, and it extremely lightweight.  One of my favorites, it’s made especially special with a swirl of black rooster on top and a repurposed (read: my old earcuff from ’84) alligator charm serving as an anchor for a bouquet of turkey beard hairs.

Perfect for any occasion, in my opinion.

 

The Marie:

Inspired by my Maid of Honor, this is a very proper velvet halo with a taxidermy rooster wing and saddle affixed to one side and a generous amount of Swiss dot veiling.  If only I’d had this on my wedding day; she would’ve worn it perfectly.  It conveys class, stoicism and a tremendous amount of fun just below the surface.  For the gal who can conduct herself properly at an exclusive event and then share a cigarette in the alley with the staff five minutes later.

 

The Shannah:

Not for the faint of heart!  The centerpiece of this headdress is a mummified bunny corpse coated in clear lacquer and covered in gems.  He’s holding chain reins and resting comfortable among the spider-like fur “arms” of this vintage mink millinery piece.  Can be worn alone or paired with a cage veil.

 

The Mearrah:

I was going for a flapper feel with this hat; again the base is a vintage millinery piece and I added a taxidermied wing plus miscellaneous feathers and gems.  Works great with slicked back hair or a curly mane.

 

 

The Isabella:

I wore the unfinished version of this to my opening at La Luz and it was a hit.  Seeing it finished, and on a model, it feels more like a tribute to the late Isabella Blow, hence the title.  It’s a simple piece consisting of a taxidermied rooster dried in a shape which hugs the crown and points out at such an angle so as to keep simpletons at bay.

 

Foxy Fascinator:

A simple little ditty comprised of chicken feathers fanning out from a taxidermied fox nutsack.  Sorry to be crass but I quite enjoy the juxtaposition of something people tend to shy away from serving such a pretty purpose.  An excellent conversation piece.

 

Guinea Hen Necklace:

Taxidermied leg with fox fur poof, gold chains and an old charm from a church in Philadelphia.

Guinea Hen necklace with pearls:

Freak Mutant Rooster Leg Necklace:

That spur says it all.  Ideal for someone who really wants to thin the herd of idiots who talk to them daily. No canvassers will even try to get your attention when you’re wearing this.

 

Jawbone continuous earrings:

Fun to wear, lightweight nad a nonstop conversation piece.

Jaw bone continuous chain earrings:

Same as above; the chain is aluminium so it’s also very lightweight.

 

So that was an eyeful, right?  And there is still more in the works!  Please think in advance about your Fall pieces and order now, folks.

XOXO Diamond Tooth.

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Radnor Hunt Wrap up, 2012

 

The annual Radnor Hunt Cup was this past Saturday, and an exceptional day it was, as one might expect.  This time around I didn’t take any pictures since I’m not really on speaking terms with my phone.  I think my new modus operandi is to just be photographed as much as possible and then hunt for those images online. It’s fun and I highly recommend it for any fashion conscious gals and guys out there who hate carrying cameras and prefer to leave their hands open for cocktails and shaking other hands.

One tip: Wear the biggest, brightest, loudest thing you can find. This vintage dashiki  I’m wearing is like a brightly burning light,  attracting shutter-bugs to my flame.

 

That’s my agent Erika to my left and our body-guard who shall remain nameless a few steps behind. photo compliments of Malvern Patch.

 

The theme for the Radnor Hunt was “Islands, Large and Small” so I went with Cuba.  I basically channelled my inner Santeria Priestess and also this woman:

Sure a dashiki is an African garment but there are plenty of Cubans of African descent, and isn’t that where it all started anyway?  I hope my loose interpretation of the cultural melting pot isn’t offensive to anyone; I just want a piece of it all.

World Clique, y’all.

My hat is a series of rooster wings and tail feathers gathered around a visor with a vintage cat brooch and other embellishments.  A millinery masterpiece by no means, it was a last-minute confection whipped up just for fun and FUN IT WAS. I rolled in four deep with some polo friends, old and new and upon entering the Philadelphia Style tent dove headfirst into the oyster table, forgetting that whole 6 days of food poisoning that ravaged my internal organs just two weeks ago. We had already enjoyed some Spodee (have you had it yet?  Le duh.  Try it!) and now it was onto the race-themed cocktails.  I enjoyed a Finish Line with champagne and berries.

Soon enough I was chatting away with all my pals who I hadn’t seen since last Summer and watching the races.  They got off to a rough start, with several riderless horses running the course after having thrown their jockeys,  In another entry I’d like to explore my thoughts on the complicated world of horse racing when I can articulate it better, because it’s much more emotional and complex than on might think from first sight, but for now I will focus on the fun stuff.

I bet on a horse named “On the Corner” for the second race but he mostly stayed on the corner and didn’t win me any money.  No matter; just being there enjoying my health, my friends, the food and sunshine was all the winning I could have asked for.

My friend Jaun, who plays polo, is also apassionate photographer. He is the best as covering these events, photo-wise.  I ran into him and the lovely Sharilyn, plus their wonderfully engaging daughters, under the tent but didn’t have much time to chat- saving it for the  Brandywine Season Opener next week, suppose?  Can’t wait.  Anyway, I can’t steal any of his pictures to post on here so please go to his site and check them out.  He’s got it call covered: Juan Vidal Photography.

Other folks who have the Philadelphia social scene on lockdown are Susan Scovill who is a perennial delight and one of my fave rave folks to run into at these venues; (check her out here: Susan Scovill) plus Hughe from Philly Chit Chat who never remembers my name but gives me love nonetheless.  In fact he threw me some of that on yesterday morning’s episode of Good Day, Fox 29’s morning news show.  I took the liberty to upload a video of just the segment relating to MOI.  Turn up your volume for the chuckles:

 

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For full video go here:

Was Jenn Fred At The Radnor Hunt?: MyFoxPHILLY.com

We had to wrap it up and head out a wee bit earlier than last year (no rest for the wicked Mole Street crew) but it was just the right amount of fun and revelry.  Oh!  The hat contest.  By the time I mosied up to the judges stand, the women were piling into a gold cart to hand out the prizes to winners whom they’d already determined.  One shot me an exasperated look and I just shrugged.  Another one managed to hand me an “honorable mention” ribbon as a consolation prize.  Familliar scene?  Perhaps, except this time around sans heartache.  I’ve realised that sometimes it’s best not to be judged.

 

 

20 for 20 #2: Turd is the Word

I got a sweet note from my newly minted overseas pal The Fashion Turd, so it’s safe to post about what I sent her:


The Turd received a custom created, larger than life, bird talon hair stick!  Based on photos from her blog, she’s got a head full of colorful locks, which made the job fun to the power of awesome because 1) dread locks are thick and strong, and therefore can hold pieces with a bit of heft, and 2)someone who deliberately works their hair into this style is most likely open to wearing items that are less than conventional.

That said, I felt free to go bonkers.  I started with the talons of a very large chicken (sourced from one of my farmer friends) clutching a chunk of electro-formed copper with a crystal embedded in it.  Once this was mounted on the hair stick, I embellished the base with dyed deer tail, rabbit fur and pheasant feathers.  I felt free to get as far out as my heart could carry me, knowing this gifteewould appreciate the outlandishness of it all.

Due to the size and weight of the claw end of the stick, some balance was needed both for aesthetic and functional purposes.

This was achieved by running a large link chain from the top, to a cap which would attach to the bottom, so the stick could be worn securely like so:

I’m sure she’ll make it look even better than I am in this photo.  Now that it’s in her little paws, I am excited to see how she wears it.  I imagine it could even serve as a unique sweater/kilt/cape/shawl closure clasp, not to mention sharp pointy self-defense mechanism for those late night crawls home from the bar, er…pub.  Mind the gap, ye!

xoxo, BB

ps: I don’t mention it in every post but it should pretty much be assumed that all product shots seen on this blog, as well as on my etsy and website, are done by my on site photographer and husband, Jim Coughlin.  He also is a musician and painter; check out his stuff here: SnapBlamSplat

 

Up next: a client update or two

Coming soon on the 20 for 20 project: girl hunters, drag queens and another fashion dragon from the UK!

20 for 20, # 3: Put a Zoe on it.

I just finished making a hat box which is housing the halo fascinator I just finished custom making for Rachel Zoe.  I doubt she’s aware of myself or this blog so I feel like the risk of ruining the surprise by posting this before she receives it is minimal. While this is technically the third piece I’ve created for my 20for20 project, #2’s gift is still traveling through the postalverse and I know she reads this so I don’t want to spoil it for her.  So there’s that.

In a few hours, this piece will be en route to Madame Zoe, by means of which I don’t care to bore you with.   The box is somewhat hastily made and it shows, but what’s inside was made with plenty of love and thought.

 

I used a vintage halo-shaped fascinator base and built on it with feathers from a variety of foul, along with some salvaged antique mink tails.  My impression of Rachel Zoe is romantic hollywood gypsy, and while I know very little about her personally, I selected her for this project because I love her style, I admire her tenacious drive, and am inspired by the better-to-apologise-later-than-ask-first attitude I imagine her to have.

Unfortunately I don’t have a blonde wig but I anticipate the brown velvet and feathers popping quite nicely against her light hair.  The charms make a nice tinkly noise and their translucency in the sunlight gives this piece a very gypsy feel.

I just hope it fits her!  That’s the tricky part about designing unsolicited gifts for people-how to predict sizing.  I have very thick hair though, and that’s underneath the wig (ha!  I wish this luxurious mane were my real hair!), so there should be a small amount of wiggle room.

Fancy chickens, pheasants, grouse, and vintage trinkets.  Let Madame Zoe look into your future…..

 

Twenty for twenty

I was chatting with friends at polo a few weeks back and two of them, almost simultaneously said, “I could see Kat Von D in your hats.”

My reaction was “Really?  Wow.”  I’d never seen LA Ink but I’ve seen many photos of her-and I love her look.  She’s absolutely stunning.  “Too bad she has no idea who I am,” I sighed, defeated, ready to move onto another topic but my friend persisted, “No, ding-dong, just send her a hat.”

This sentence rolled around in my head for a while and set into motion a brainstorm which gave birth to my newest project, an interactive “piece” I am calling Twenty for Twenty.

I began by simply imagining that Kat had put an order in for a custom hat and said, “Beth just make it me.  However you see me.”  I went with my heart and created the hat you see pictured in this post.  As I worked on it, I took a moment to really explore this feeling coursing through me, this in-the-zone elatedness I get when I’m not even thinking about my work but just letting my hands and eyes do all the talking.  I began to embrace this feeling of following my heart and creating something wonderful even though nobody asked for it.  There was no demand. Not yet.

That didn’t seem to matter to me at the time.  I just focused on custom work and how right it feels.  I thrive on connecting with (nice, good) people and creating for them.  It just feels right.

After I finished Kat’s hat, I was re-reading segments of an online book called “The Art of Earning” by Tara Gentile.  Toward the end there is a passage which inspired me to turn this good feeling about custom pieces and reaching out to people into a project. I decided to come up with a list of twenty individuals whom I’ve never met  but have been inspired by in some capacity or another. Some of them I’m just a plain fan of.  I would reach out to each of these people and make a connection through my work.  Like good old-fashioned fan mail!

This ties in to my love affair with the postal service.  Anyone who knows me well has received a note from me at some point in our friendship.  I love sending thank you notes.  At times when we are more organised, my mister and the kiddies and I would create our own holiday greeting cards to mail out each year.  I’m a sucker for that tangible piece of “hello” from the mailbox.  Like a long, convoluted paper-cup-telephone on a string.

I complied my list of twenty, and began the process of reaching out to them.  Some are more accessible than others (twitter is amazing for this), and some might never happen.  It’s hard to tell (any of you guys tight with Gwen Stefani’s team?)  But the responses I’ve gotten so far have been overwhelmingly positive and I’m so very excited to reveal more names (and why I’m inspired by them) in future posts.  I’m hoping that by following through with this brainchild, I can not only get more of my product on more people’s bodies (I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a hint of self-promotion in this) and gain some exposure, but also to fully express the gratitude I feel towards individuals whom I am happy to know exist in this sometimes glum and banal planet.  Also, I want to remind people how rewarding it is to receive a gift in the post, a piece of art that someone spent hours of their own life to make.

And that, my friends, is that.  I’m tapping into something deeper than taxidermy and hats, so bear with me as I explore this.  I’d love to know your thoughts.

For now, here is Kat’s hat.

I used one of my gifted vintage bases and spent oodles of time fastening the perfect chicken wing and feathers/pelt to it.

Inspired by her military meets goth meets doll type style, I used an vintage Trifari gold tasseled baton brooch and tied it all together with some chains and such.

Up next: My larger than life and circus inspired piece for The Fashion Turd!

Hats Off!

 

This past Sunday brought sheets of rain,  thunderstorms and my lovely friend Pearl to Diamond Tooth Studios for a shoot.  Ms. Bell is more than just a pretty face, she’s also a lifestyle and home enthusiast.  She can wave her magic wand over any home, wardrobe, or human and said item will emerge sparkling and wonderful.  Please check out her blog, 7pm.

Together with the talented and professional services of Diamond Tooth on-sote photographer, Jim Coughlin, we had a few flashy packed hours together.  He like to shoot, paint, spray, stencil, and make music.  Please check out all the wonderful things he does on Snap, Bam Splat!

 

I’ve been busy working with the materials from that load of vintage hats I received a few weeks back, mixing and matching the elements from each piece with other pieces from my studio alongside certain taxidermy ingredients that revealed themselves as an ideal match.  This Gothic Bridal Fascinator started out as a black cage veil with white fabric roses.  I dyed the roses a fade-into black and added two mounted wings from a fancy chicken.

 

 

I kept the original velvet ribbon and added some black fur.

Here is another bridal fascinator; none of these bridal pieces are white  as they are geared towards a less conventional woman who is looking for something unlike what she can find in traditional bridal boutiques. This results in a versatile piece that could be worn by the maid of honor or even the mother of the bride..or for an event that isn’t even a wedding!

I used the blue veiling from an antique wide-brimmed blue hat (shown later in its reincarnate form down below) and attached it, with the wings of a fancy chicken, to a wire fascinator base.  The feathers are hand curled to compliment the wearer’s hair.

 

This is my Blue Poof Quail Fascinator.  This quail has been worn in several ways, before I found the perfect base for it which is the vintage blue ostrich feather one you see below.  I switched the original blue veil out with an off white, Swiss-dot one from another vintage piece and added a strand of sea pearls around the quail to bring out the creaminess.  I think this piece would be perfect for a Winter wedding….or even Spring!

 

 

Behold the wide-brimmed blue hat I mentioned earlier.  It’s a strong, beautiful piece of millinery that stands  on its own without a ton of bells and whistles so I simply added the mounted and embellished cape of a chicken, some pheasant feathers and a few pieces of antique hand-tatted lace, all meant to compliment the shape and motion of this piece.

 

 

Hair Doin’!

Next up is the duck wing fascinator which Pearl has worn before.  I very much enjoy manipulating crinoline/horsehair, and look forward to making more of these.

 

It’s light and easy to wear, ideal for the individual who wants to express some fashion sense but isn’t willing to compromise her comfort level.

 

Here is another bridal piece, this one crafted with the base of a vintage fasctinator which originally was a simple green bow.  I took the fabric off, rearranged it and added a green cage veil from another antique pice.  Then came the mounted wings of a chicken and vintage charm in center.

The two wings are firmly pressed together in a way that makes the feathers pop out on the opposite side, not unlike what your fingers do when you clasp you hands.

 

Hold on!

OK, perfect.  This is my beloved montera hat, embellished with a mounted chicken head  that has been encrusted with jewels. This hat generates a very healthy dose of attention and makes for an excellent conversation piece. Ole!

It also opens up some fun opportunities for various hair-dos.  I like twisted locks around and under it, but a side pony tail or a combed out fro would also work just as well.

The last piece of the shoot was another fascinator Pearl had worn before, crafted from an antique base with a delicate off white veil.  I added the wings from a chicken which had been source mid-molt, so the spiny veins of the feathers are exposed.  This made them ideal for stringing beautiful beads on; I got these marble and pearl beads from two vintage necklaces.  I also hand curled some of the feathers.

 

 

Not to be outdone, our house model demonstrated his ability to work a chapeau.

 

And that’s a wrap!  For more info and pricing, please visit my website, Diamond Tooth Taxidermy, or my Etsy shop.

 

 

From my cold, dead hands

Here are some items I recently added to my etsy shop, for all the tween-witch kids:

I don’t want to alienate though, they’re actually for anyone who would want to wear a bird talon.  This includes me and it could include you but it may not include your roommate or your cousin.  I wind of separating the feet from most birds I skin because, at this time, bird feet aren’t all that palatable for the budding fashionista so I just use the wings/pelt and save the feet and heads for my own purposes.  And that’s fine with me.  How boring would the world be if we all wore the same thing?

 

But for those of you who ARE into this symbol of strength and beauty with a dash of menace, what a great little trinket you can add to your wardrobe for barely any monies at all.  Customize it with your birthstone or any other kind of crystal, tie it up in your hair ,hang it from your phone, whatever your icy little heart desires.

OK, this is too sales pitchy.  Just check it out, OK?  I think they make great gifts…(too early for Christmas ornaments?) starting at under $20 a pop.