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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Twenty 4 Twenty #9: Buck Brannaman

For anyone unfamiliar with Buck Brannaman, just check out this trailer for the documentary “Buck”:

 

And then, the first chance you get, watch the entire movie.  It’s so thoughtful and sweet.  My husband introduced me to “Buck” a few weeks ago thinking I’d dig it since I’m so interested in horse people.  I more than dug it, I’m now obsessed with this guy.  Good thing when I embarked on this Twenty 4 Twenty project I didn’t have my complete list of recipients, because I seem to constantly be discovering new heroes.

Perhaps I too am a tortured soul but I relate to so much of what Buck says, his philosophy, and like him and all the scores of people who feel an intimate connection with animals, I’ve had an easier time connecting with four-legged creatures than the bipedal sort.  As an adult, I’ve learned how to better treat myself and others but I cannot stress enough how much Mr. Brannaman’s words ring true when he calls your horse a mirror of yourself.  I think this can translate to just about any domestic animal. As humans we tend to project everything onto other people (which is why one ought to be wary of folks spending so much time preaching about to evils of homosexuality, of sex positivity, etc- we take the things we fear and hate in ourselves and cast them onto someone else.  Understanding this has made me a much more laid back person). Not just our friends/family/coworkers, we project these things onto our pets.

Have a hyperactive nervous dog?  Next time you walk them, check your shoulders and body language are you tightened up, anticipating a transgression? I know I was, when we first got our dog.  It took me months to relax.  I was also a very nervous person in general, terrified of my own thoughts and feelings.  When that transgression happens do you correct it by whacking the pup on the head and yelling?  Is that how you were disciplined by your parents and other authority figures?  Ia that how you treat yourself?  Do yourself and your animal a favor and take a long look within.  You deserve it.  Everyone deserves to be treated with compassion, so start by practicing on yourself!

 

I’ve been holding onto this old cowboy charm for years and years, and finally the time to use it arrived.  I incorporated it into a lapel pin with miscellaneous pheasant and chicken feathers, thinking he could stick it in one of his hats.  Or not.  In my letter to him,  I suggested passing it along to someone he cares about if it doesn’t fit into his wardrobe.  The point was to create something with my hands to express how touched I am by his story.  That’s been the main lesson of this project, is learning not to expect anything in return, not even a thank you. I already have my reward and it’s knowing these people exist.

 

Thank you Buck!  Keep spreading the good word!

 

 

 

 

For a more in-depth interview with Buck, check out this video:

buck-describes-abuse-finding-peace-15426113

 

“Gospel of Buck”!  Swoon.

Twenty for Twenty #7: Cherie Lily

Behold the goddess known as Cherie Lily.  I have been an admirer of hers since I first met her, briefly, in the ladies room of some bar in Austin during South by Southwest, 2010.  (Which, technically should make her ineligible for this project since it’s about folks I’ve never met but nobody cares so there).  She was wearing a spandex get-up not unlike the one you see pictured below, and washing her hands. I walked in with my friend and exclaimed, “Great outfit!  You look awesome!”, to which she replied, “Hey thanks, I’m performing upstairs if you’re interested!”, and I was too embarrassed to tell her I had no money to see any ticketed shows; I was only there to catch the free performances on the outskirts of the SXSW event…so I just peed and left it at that.

Cut to two days later when my friends and I went to see the free GWAR show, and among the day long line-up of performers, there she was!  Cherie Lily, onstage with Andrew WK, aerobic dancing and looking like a neon spandex glamour queen.  In between songs, the audience was treated to multiple aural doses of positivity, feeling good, loving yourself, and being beautiful no matter what anyone says.

Does that sound hokey?

Well then go fuck yourself.

Sorry, harsh.  What I mean is, if that sounds hokey it’s probably because self-acception/celebration is an unfamilliar concept to you.  And that is sad.  Forget what your family/acquaintances tell you and embrace your body, your dreams, all of it.

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.

This attitude in mind, I started with a felt hat from a vintage collection I received as a gift from a friend (more about that in the future), a bright kelly green one because of the strength represented in that hue.  It had some wear and tear; I re-pressed it ad gave it a new shape, but some of the small pock marks couldn’t be erased.  That’s ok, I thought, they’re the small imperfections which document a full life lived.

I placed the taxidermy accent pieces under a studded flap on the side of the hat; chicken feathers, red squirrel tail, dyed deer tail, and some blue dyed feathers which I acquired with another vintage hat. When worn, this would be the straight-on view:

It’s on the small side, meaning that it’s more like a fascinator since it won’t fit snugly on the head; it will need to be set in place with combs or a hair pin.  I sewed two combs on the inside, envisioning her pulling it back over her thick hair and it resting in place.  But, this is an unsolicited gift for a woman I can’t even say I know, so all I can do is touch wood and hope it works out on her head.  I did get a thank you email from her this morning, all full of kind and gracious words, but I can’t help but wonder if maybe it didn’t fit well enough.  Alas, she said she can’t wait to wear it so I’ll eagerly await any possible sighting of her in this little ditty.

Finally, as a detail, I incorporated an old wrestling pin I rescued from the trash heap in my brother’s room.  The ten year old in me can’t help but chuckle at the homoerotic-ness of these two spandex clad men in such an embrace, and I thought, as a gay icon, she would appreciate it.

As a gay man with lady parts, I know I can.

Let me know if you see her wearing it, New Yorkers!

And thanks Cherie Lily, for inspiring self-confidence in little freaks like me who never felt they could possibly fit into any of the factory modeled forms provided.

Arrrrrt Starrrr Craft Bazaarrrrrrrr

I’ve come up for air after the Art Star Holiday Craft Bazaar, if only for a moment.  The weekend was a success and I feel pretty good about how my first time at the rodeo went.  It didn’t hurt to pair up with Art Star veteren Maria Eife wh also has an international show plus the Martha Stewart Holiday Craft Show under her belt.

I presented (and sold!)  an assortment of combs, pins, picks, joined earrings, hats, and talon charms.  Below is a smattering of the pieces I’ve been toiling away in my ivory tower creating:

A chicken feather hair pin with vintage jewelry elements,

More chicken feathers with more vintage jewelry,

And look!  An equestrian flair!  I finally got around to creating those horse shoe themed pieces I promised my polo buddies so many months ago!  Perhaps this Summer I’ll actually follow through and sell some at the Friday Night matches…

Some of the combs were feather based while otehrs were built around entire taxidermied wings.  Below is an in betweener, comprised of the taxidermied tail of a chicken.

Oh look!  A frizzle chicken wing!  Perhaps now would be a good time to let you know that 90% of my feathered elements come from my dear friends Bailey and Thomas.  They are quite possible the sweetest, kindest and most compassionate farmers this world may ever know.  Yes, My opinion is totally biased.  They keep an outstanding blog in which they document their adventures in farming, please give it a read: The Farmers Husband.

Another winged comb.  I would also like to give a shout out to my dear friend Daniel who owns Wilbur Vintage for letting me purchase his odds and ends of vintage gems.

For those who choose not to sport a long mane, fret not!  Stick pins are always within reach.  Pop one into your hat, your lapel, blouse, sweater, bag, etc.

This one belwo didn’t sell, much to my surprise.  Instead, it and one cimilar to it are en route to a faraway city as I write this, where it will make Christmas gifts for a pair of very special friends.

The gang!  (some of them, anyway)

I also made a trial run of these fur bangles with tails for the show.  People responded quite positively so I intend to tweek the design a bit and create a series.

Perfect for gesticulating wildly at cocktail parties…

I also created three new higher end head pieces for the show, as my little neon signs to lure in passers by.  They absolutley did the trick, and had many a lady tryign them on.

Right here is a vintage rabbit fur pillbox hat to which I added a chicken tail, with feathers from other birds.

Here’s a view of the side.  Can you guess what that super fluffy soft yellow plush is?

It’s gosling!  Compliments of another farmer friend of mine, Jeannie. I sewed another patch on the opposite side:

Next up: A vintage velvet fascinator base with a pair of chicken wings on one side and down on the other:

It’s hard to see form these photos (all of these hats need to be reshot on a model’s head, but I also added a small metal crown jewel charm to each side; a reference to my new logo, which you’ll see below.

Laslty, my fave piece of all, this vintage black felt hat base with chicken wings, vintage jewelry adn a tassel made by yours truly.  I have a thing for fringe and tassels, and I think you do too:

That’s actually the side view.  Below is the hat, straight on.  The curved shape frames the wearer’s face beautifully.  I just adore this hat.

On Friday night my husband came and got a few shots of our booth.  Here it is, our gypsy caravan in all its glory:

My “side” of the booth:

Like that fox? I worked with the very talented designer Dave Seater to create it and a more cohesive look for all my online presences, which you will be seeing soon.  He’s the best.  The fox with the crown was entirely my idea though; I think it really embodies the Diamond Tooth philosophy.

Here I am making a sale!  Yippee!  Like I said, I feel pretty good about how I did this weekend, as a greenhorn.  I visited with Sue Eggen at her booth, Giant Dwarf where she not only promised to play hat model for my next set of shots but also to toss some much needed (my words, not hers) pearls of wisdom my way in regard to navigating through this wild and wacky craft show life.  Sue, I’m holding you to both these things!

And that is all for the craft bazaar, now its time to work on my entry for this year’s Carniverous Nights competition.  If you plan on coming, buy your tickets now!  ALso coming up: A cat, a fox, a hamster, a rabbit, more bridal pieces and the next 20for20 gift which is going to a mystery man that some of you may have dressed as for Halloween as children…

Devon Dressage? More like Bon Voyage!

It’s been a hectic couple of weeks and I’ve neglected this blog.  Did anyone notice?  I hope so.  Anyway, I’ve been wrapped up in outside jobs like painting pumpkins for a corporate gig and transcribing VHS tapes of reality shows.   I do these things to support my taxidermy habit.   In other words, I work so that I can work.  It’s exhausting but thankfully one of my many hats requires me to spend copious amounts of down time lounging on the Lido deck of cruise ships where I catch up on all my beauty rest.  In fact, I’m leaving for one of those trips in just a few hours, and I will soak up every drop of precious sleep that comes my way because once I hit dry land again, it’s go time for holiday craft show prep, the annual Carnivorous Nights/MART competition and other projects in the works. Amongst all this hustle bustle I attended Devon Dressage last week.  This week long event features a ladies hat day and as you may recall I received accolades for my squirrel fascinator entry last year.  I believe that my work has improved significantly since then and was quite proud of this years entry, a black rooster bedecked with crystals and gems mounted in such a fashion so that it would appear to be curling up on the wearer’s head, and providing bangs out of its wings.  Sadly, I have no pictures from the event but last night my friend Rachel came by for some wine and chat and a photo project so we snuck in a couple shots of the new rooster hat just for fun:

Pardon my dirty mirror; let  your eyes instead be dazzled by the giant cock on my head.

Anyway.  Devon Dressage.  I didn’t win a thing. Nada!  Zilch!  Can you believe it?  I couldn’t, but then I saw this guy was one of the judges and figured I should take his millinery opining with a sizable grain of salt.  I know I’m a winner and that’s that counts, (or so mother always told me) so I gracefully let the other women take what I thought should be mine and spent the rest of the day in heaven with two dear friends, watching beautiful horses and insanely skilled riders perform the horse ballet known as dressage.

So now it’s almost midnight and I have to decide if I should just stay up a few more hours or try to get a tiny bit of sleep.  I’m all packed with plenty of Diamond Tooth goodies in tow (hopefully this time will not be a repeat of DELTA= Don’t Expect Luggage To Arrive) so I can properly saturate the high seas with my product.  Plenty of pictures and fun stories to follow, see y’all next week!

xoxo BB

Fashion Night Out Quickie

While I wait for the all-clear form a client to post about a recent project, I will toss these out there for anyone interested. Behold the lovely Meredith, who attended a flurry of NY’s Fashion Night Out events  donning two of my creations.  Below is the purple duck wing fascinator:

And another night, another event brings you Meredith in a yamamoto jacket I will steal from her someday , topped off with a masked hen hat.

 

For now, c’est tout.  I have my hands full with more pieces for the 20 for 20 project (speaking of which, it’s driving me batty knowing that two of my pieces have arrived at  Ms. Zoe and Ms. Von D’s respective locations and I have no idea how they were received and may never know  UGH the bain of sending unsolicited gifts), creating a fascinator for this Sunday’s season closer at the Brandywine Polo Club, two more competitions on the horizon, an Alice in Wonderland themed fascinator commissioned by a client,  pieces for a holiday craft show and today I am skinning a cat.

Yes I am aware that there is more than one way but I’ll be happy to master just one for now.

 

 

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!