Letter to Will

Submitted by Dominic on 1/22/01. ( )

Will, I was not attacking you nor was I trying to belittle you.
Sorry that you missed the meaning in my post. .
When you asked "Lets hear It" I assumed you wanted some responses.
As for the organized taxidermy associations, none of us would be where we are today without organized taxidermy. Before the NTA, I went to visit a large freshwater fish studio in one of the Southern states. Everything was fine, until the owner found out I was a taxidermist, then he pushed me out the door. Today, that same person has a supply business, and has tripled many times over his business. He also conducts seminars, workshops,etc. and welcomes people to his studio.
The NTA, and to a lesser extent the IGT is responsible for the great sharing of knowledge of taxidermy in this country today. Anyone can deny the fact, but it is still true. As for not likeing the NTA, I didn't like Bill Cl***on, but that did not make me renounce my citizenship . I don't like the IRS, but I continue to pay taxes.
I don't like Dale Earnhart, but I still go to the races.
Just to say you don't like the NTA ,and use it for an excuse for not belonging,is a lame excuse at best. But I guess any excuse is better than none at all.


Return to Category Menu

You are Not exactly correct

This response submitted by Tenbears on 1/22/01. ( )

Dominic: well your statement that none of us would be where we are without the NTA, or other similar orginazations. Is not quite correct. Before someone goes off thinking that I am Anti NTA. Or anti anything. Let me explain I have nothing against The NTA. Or any organazition. However. I would be exsactly where I am With Or withOut the NTA, Or alike. I am Not an NTA Member. Have Never Been. Have Never Competed at any level. No One gave me free advice when I started The business, I had to learn everything the hard way, By trial And error. I make a Good Living in this business, and enjoy what I do. I do Not mind Sharing my Knoweledge of the business with others, But I also Don't feel I need to be a Part Of Anything. I do Not Need to compete to measure my own ability. weather of not I can produse (In the Oppinion of someone else) a world class mount is of little concequence to Me. I use My Own Measureing stick to judge my ability. and that Is simply do I get paid for the work I do? If the time comes That I cannot make a living at taxidermy work I will Move On. Everyone Seems so Hyped Up on how great It is that anyone can aquire all the information they need to become a great Taxidermist. how great it is that the worlds best are willing to give out advice. and all this is due to orginazitions Like The NTA. well Guys I cant seem to understand How giving money to an Orginazition that is going to aid every Tom, Dick And Harry in my area compete aginst me for customers, would be to my benifit. Now Before someone Goes Slamming me, with My lack of quality being the reason for my Insecurity. let me say, I turn Away enough work every year to keep 2 other shops in Business. The Point I am Getting at Is there are some Of us who for whatever reason Just do Not want to take part in such things. Our reasons may be as verried as the stars in the sky. and I don't see why Those that exhault the Virtues Of The NTA. Seem So quick to want to ram it down the Throats Of those who Just Decline to Take Part. Lets Face It guys The Only People who Benifit from a Taxidermist On every corner are The taxidermy supply companies. That Competition only makes us better Taxidermist Stuff Is a Bunch of crap. who cares if you are the best, If you are the only game in town then you will always be buisy. If you are in the business to be world champian, Then I'll Buy ya all a Ribbon, and you can retire, and leave the work for those of us who just want to be Professional Taxidermists. You See everyone Has different Ideas Of how things should be, It dosen't make them Right , Or wrong, Only different. Not everyone that Disagrees With you is a As@#$e. weather You are an ASS or a stand up guy only depends which end of the leg you are on.

Response to ten bears

This response submitted by Dominic on 1/22/01. ( )

Sorry, Ten Bears. I meant to say," None of us would be where we are today without organized taxidermy except Ten Bears". I didn't mean to include you . I know there are some stand alone taxidermists out there and I also exclude them .I will not let that happen again.
Still friends?


This response submitted by full timer/20 years on 1/22/01. ( )

Well said Tenbears.i just dont like 90% of the people in it,and i know 50%of them in my state


This response submitted by DUFUS on 1/22/01. ( )


another member

This response submitted by full timer on 1/22/01. ( )

looks like dufus is proving the point.

its ok not to be one-thats a member not an.............

Dominic, The ones that count, know

This response submitted by George on 1/22/01. ( georoof@aol.com )

Ten Bears thinks he's the only Indian boy left I suppose, but this Cherokee has news for him. The NTA DID open the industry up, whether he'd admit it or not is irrelevent. Everyone knows I'm no ribbon chaser and, admittedly, don't have the dedication nor desire to spend that kind of time in competing. But I DO know that the competition guys are what makes this industry chime. If you doubt that, you're either blind or a fool. Remember when "Winter Warrior" won the award? How many of us modified forms to try for that look? First time we saw the flying pheasant mount with turned up feathers, how many of you got the hot irons out?

Ten Bears, you may have been fortunate and learned from ONE individual, but that rather limits your learning to that persons knowledge. The NTA,IGT, and state organizations are a gathering site much like this for comparative learning. Joe Meder, Bill Yox, Joe Coombs, Ben Mears, and others all mount their animals differently. In this setting we don't have to wait for hard knocks to teach us. We can see it now and select the method we prefer. The simple act of your taking advantage of this site proves that you're just as interested in learning new ways as passing on what you might know.

I don't CARE if you don't want to be a part or don't like a particular function (or even be a malcontent who admits he can't get along with 90% of the professionals he meets), but you'll never discount what they've done to this industry. You're just kidding yourself when you try to deny the impact they've had on all our lives and the quality of products that are readily available to us. If your mounts from 15 years ago look just like today's mounts, I might have to change my opinion. But if they DON'T, I know you learned it by seeing the skills of others and modifying your own. You get bruises from "hard knocks" not quality improvements. And if time is a virtue to you, you'd be a bigger fool to wait until you learn something the hard way instead of eliminating all wasted time.


This response submitted by Dominic on 1/22/01. ( )

Thanks,George. Your support means more to me than you know. I will explain the next time we meet face to face.It won't be that long, either.

getting along

This response submitted by full timmer on 1/22/01. ( )

sorry geo , your problem is that you cant read or you just like
to spin thing to make you or what you say, sound better
getting along is what we all try to do here.not liking: is how some
people think about you and i.
mabe this will help you

liking=faverable regards fondness

getting along=to be or remain on congenial terms

Let's not forget all those wonderful pcs of art from.....

This response submitted by BobB on 1/22/01. ( foxranch@hotmail.com )

all those other non-NTA shows that also inspire us all. The world has many talented artists competing, as does the IGT show. I would think that many of those exceptional pcs inspire us all NTA or not.

Im thinking...

This response submitted by Bill Yox on 1/22/01. ( )

...if a guy really believes that hes done all this himself, so be it. I, on the other hand, DO need suppliers(organized taxidermy), I DO need to be better then the rest(organized taxidermy) as Ill NEVER be the "only play in town". Its too late for that. Guys even learn from supply catologs. Bottom line, though. I dont try to talk someone into being a member of anything. If they want to, they will. If they feel they made it on thier own, Ill at least respect thier view...By the way, customers are educated by...yep, organized taxidermy...

Publications deserve more credit than they are given

This response submitted by Stephen on 1/23/01. ( stephen.rogers@home.com )

Perhaps I am more of a bibliophile than the next person, but I would give much more credit to the various publications that have become more prevalent and more affordable than in years past. Competitions have been going on in the United States for well over 100 years. The NTA did not invent competitions, and I think Joe Kish and Taxidermy Review Magazine should get a great deal of credit for opening taxidermy to its present state. It is doubtful that many on this forum even know who Joe Kish was, or even Bob Williamson who also greatly influenced the industry with the beginning of Breakthrough. If you trace back Taxidermy publications for the last three hundred years you will see two great blips of activity. The first was in the 1880's to the very early 1900's with the industrial revolution which allowed books to be published much more easily. The second began in the late 1970's till the mid 90's with the advent of Taxidermy Review, Taxidermy Today, American Taxidermist, and about 6 other obscure pubs. The third great Blip is upon us - That of the internet. Freedom of education is the kingpin to it all - and the dispensing of information by the written word. Books and Scientific literature can educate the common man (I am not inferring that George is the common man here - I fell into that trap once already). There is unfortunately one drawback to the internet form of education - and that is that everyone is equal and there is no peer review. A Scientific Peer Reviewed article is usually sent out to anonymous experts who judge the value and accuracy of a given article before the paper is published. For Taxidermy Trade Journals the Editor must make that judgement themselves - But on the internet, the reader makes the judgement of the accuracy and validity of claims on a particular method. I once made the statement that one must be precise, especially in giving out information, because if it is read here by the average taxidermist it is often taken as a proven method. Perhaps that is why the dry preserve vs. tanning argument is so prevalent. I would suggest that for detailed information you rely more on the WASCO books, Taxidermy Trade Journals, and the Few Professional Peer Reviewed Scientific Preparator/Taxidermy Textbooks that are available, as well as those which have been written in the last 300 years for techniques worked out long ago, and use your own judgement.

The Taxidermologist

We Always forget...

This response submitted by George on 1/23/01. ( )

... that one name in taxidermy probably did more to the industry than all those other famous masters combined. One individual brought taxidermy to the kitchen table and ignited the imaginations of thousands of young people. When hunting was enjoying it's greatest days, when money was limited, and most people lived in rural communities with RFD boxes instead of street addresses, and REA brought electric power into kerosene lamp lit rooms, and when party lines were a magical invention, one person made taxidermy more than just a big word costing big money. That man was J.W. Ellwood and it's truly a shame that we laugh at the mention of his name and methods. When I was 10 years old, he WAS taxidermy and he sure wasn't funny. He was a magician and I wanted to know everything about his magic. I'm still trying and J.W., where ever you are, there's more than one simple country boy who owes you an eternal debt of gratitude.

To NTA - Or Not NTA ... That Is The Question!

This response submitted by John Bellucci on 1/23/01. ( ArtistExpr@aol.com )

At first I was going to blast off a "non-thinking" response stating that the NTA never did anything to help me improve my work ... that would have been a little "off."

Truth is, at the NTA Convention in Albany, NY, WAY back in late summer of 1977 -- I think -- (it was the summer they caught Son of Sam) I first met Joe Kish. It was about 12 AM, and I was were sitting around the hotel lobby drawing a diagram of raccoon anatomy, when this "guy" comes up to me and tells asks me: "Where's the Latissimus Dorsi?" To which I replied, "I haven't drawn it in yet." After I finished the drawing, he looked at it, nodded his approval, and introduced himself as Joe Kish.

We talked for another couple of hours about the state of taxidermy, and his beliefs about how it can be improved, and how I could improve myself and my abilities. How it was of the utmost importance to study what Nature has given us, not the mounts of the next fellow, and how to learn to "read" a skin, making the mannikin fit the skin and not the other way around. "Don't become just another 'skin-fitter'," was his advice to me. That short meeting, set me on the path I was to follow in my career in this field for the next couple of decades! His magazine, "Taxidermy Review" became my Bible ... being the Breakthrough of it's time!

It was in that very small way that I can give the NTA any credit at all, for having any affect on me ... indirect as it was. The rest of what I learned, I made a point to learn on my own. My ability to study the creatures that would one day come across my workbench, is what I can give credit to. I have never thought that looking at, or studying the mounts of others was anywhere near the right thing to do. All you do there, is copy the same errors -- whatever they may be -- in your own work. It is the same thing in any artistic endeavor. Imitation may be the most sincere form of flattery, but it won't do anything to advance one's individual abilities!

It's not the NTA that causes artists to produce the better quality supplies that increase the quality of the work being produced. That is the resolve of the individual artist, the sculptor, the taxidermist, and the supplier, as well as the attitude of WANTING to produce the best work possible. True ... they can all gather at the NTA convention to display their latest wares ... but that's not the only place they go!

Let's not forget ... while the NTA did create the first conventions, i.e., "gatherings," they did not create the -- the competition. That was created by Joe Kish. He was the individual who conceived the notion of taxidermy competitions. They first came to be known as the Taxidermy Review ... as was his magazine. Let's not forget that when Joe and others tried to shake up the status-quo, they were blacklisted from the organization. Things like that are what kept me from resuming my association with the NTA for many years.

Later, when I thought things were better, I rejoined, only to find a mindset that I just could not abide, and again severed my ties with the group. And guess what? I still do not find a "need" to belong! I don't think my absence from the NTA has made my work any less in quality than those who do feel a need to belong to something, yet don't seem to have the dedication to the art.

No ... over the years I made it a point to study, and study hard, the animals that were the backbone of the taxidermy trade. Hell, I was creating habitat bases back in the 1970s ... WAY before it became THE thing to do. I was incorporating snow bases, pools of water, and the like, back in a time when it was not the acceptable thing to do. Back then, it was the practice to slap a mount together, and if it was a life-size raccoon for example, it would be secured to a half log or hunk of cork bark! I was never satisfied with that, and personally strove to better the image of taxidermy in the work I did. Back then the "powers" in the NTA could give a rats tail about going further than that. It was up to the individual to make changes in their own work, and to make those changes known to his or her customer base.

Today, the NTA is a larger entity, that is true. But it is still the individual who is going to make the strides forward in improving the quality of taxidermy as a way of presenting another form of wildlife art. And with the likes of the IGT, and The World Taxidermy Wildlife Championships, there are other venues for this improvement to be seen by others ... both within the field and from without.

Whether one belongs to the NTA, IGT, or whatever, it is the choice of the individual. And whether one belongs to a group or not, IS NOT reflective of their abilities and their right to practice! It is as if it is being stated that the individual doesn't matter! That ... truly angers me! Individuals DO matter ... for without individuals ... there can be no groups. I do not belong to any group or organization ... does that make my work inferior? I think not! And there are others who, I'm sure, would agree with me.

Thank you all for listening.

Best regards to all,
John Bellucci

Well Said John !

This response submitted by BobB on 1/23/01. ( foxranch@hotmail.com )

Great piece John, and Stephen I certainly was wrong in leaving out the trade magazines as the great source, of information, as you pointed out.

I know many of you see me as the anti-NTA guy, no matter how many times I say I have nothing against them. My state is about to deal with the NTA issue shortly, as our show is next month.

I seek information here, as we have a tough vote upcoming, and I wont like to address both sides. Our group has twice requested an NTA rep attend our meeting to present their side.

So far, about the only response has been to have their life members within our group, represent them.

As we approach our 25th anniversary as a state organization, we may be faced with the real possibility of distancing ourselves from the vary group that claims they want to unite us.

Apparently this may happen, based mainly on the information we receive here (whether it is accurate or not). That's a shame.

So many people have mentioned to me, after reading all the posts related to the NTA, that the NTA doesn't seem to even defend their own
position on their 100% mandate.

Ok, so maybe they shouldn't answer every post, but why not send out a press release both here and with the major trade mags, explaining their position. I'm sure many states and ind. would appreciate the chance to review this, before voting on joining or not.

If it has already been in the outlook, terrific, but realized 4 out of 100 of us receive the outlook, so the majority of us are in the dark.

Please tell us;

How the 100% mandate came about.

Who voted to proceed with it (ie - board, members, director, ?)?

What will be the result to a state not becoming 100%?

What will be the result to NTA members living in a non 100% state?

What will be the result to life members, with non 100% states?

How does the NTA plan to grow and serve it's membership?

What is the breakdown of an ind. members yearly dues ?
(ie - $12 for outlook subcription, $? for adminstration salaries)

Return to Category Menu