I was sitting on my favorite stool in my studio, Looking at the mounts on the wall. Trying to figure what I wanted to take to the upcoming show. This is to be my first. although I do not expect to set the industry on its ear. I don't particularly want to look like a fool. I like that one. But it has a badly torn ear, the customer did not want fixed. this one is awesome but there is just something about it that I don't care for. Can't put my finger on it. as I sat pondering my choices. I was aroused from my deep concentration by the soft touch of warm hands on my shoulders. The gentle massage nearly sent me off to sleep. "what's wrong honey?" my wife softly asked. "nothing! I am just trying to figure what I want to take to the show." "well, if I were you I would take Luke's deer. I like Luke and Stephey." "It's not that simple Dear" "why not? Its a good mount, and you said you did not care about getting a ribbon. you said you really just wanted to go to see what they expect. I think it is as good as any. Take it. Have fun." I think that was the best thing I could have herd. I found myself second guessing myself. trying to figure what a judge may be looking for. I had nearly lose sight of why I had decided to attend. "Gee its nice to have someone to keep my head on strait. Any suggestions on a bird?"
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Nose,mouth,lips,eyes,tear duct,ears,ear butts,musculature,anatomy,shrinkage,drumming cleanliness,seems,skin location on form,solid attachment(anlers),grooming,odor,repairs,correct use of fillers,blending of colors, correct colors for season of species,finish coat used convincingly,paint in hair,and thats just to name a few. And trust me, judges see em a little different than the old reliable partner. Don't be intimidated though. Use it as a learning experiance and you'll have a great time. Good Luck! Jeff F.
Learn and have fun don't take the critique and you should ensure you get with the judge as a bashing but as a way to improve your mounts. I go for association with my fellow taxidermist and to support the organization. You will rub elbows with others in the field and the information you will get is PRICELESS.
I would have to think that Elmer meant don't take the critique "personally" and you should ensure you get with the judge "not" as a bashing but as a way to improve your mounts. And if you happen to enter amature, don't be afraid to grab the masters/pro judge and get another quick critique. It's the only way a person gets better. And as Elmer said. The info. is priceless. Don't be afraid to ask a question that you assume the more experianced might know. Have fun. Jeff F.
The critique is nothing personal, dont worry about what is going to be said about your mount, I still get nervous with birds and deer. But I dont lay awake at night at the hotel wondering what is going on with the judging.
You can get to caught up in the competition end and worry about it. Dont, you are going to learn from your mistakes, also learn from others mistakes.
What how can you learn from others mistakes? YOu dont care what mistakes they made, now do you?
That answer is yes, you may find a way to fix some of your mistakes by listening to the judge critique the other mounts! I do!
Just recently another taxidermist said "I saw JOhn C taking pictures of all the top fish at a show. He is going to use them as his own when showing customers some of his work."
Yep, I have to admit I sure did and will do it again, I was photographing strong points and weak points of those mounts. I was doing my research to see what I needed to do to improve my work.
Guess what I took pictures at the last NTA too. Those are posted on the taxichat, I did so for others to see some of the neat mounts.
The point is take your camera and and take photos, these will remind you what to do and what not to do. Then compare them to photos of live animals.
You will be amazed at what you start seeing.
Watch the people before the competition room opens, you wil see them pacing and pacing, they get so excited and the anxiety level runs high!
Seat back have a beer or soda/pop talk shop and swap hunting stories
You will be suprised at what you will learn in the hallway.
The competition will be great fun, enjoy learn and make friends!
It's funny you should mention the sleeplessness. I didn't sleep good for 3 nights before the judging. They don't make enough beer in St.Louis Mo. to calm the nerves I had going!(LOL) I too take pictures at the shows. It's great to share "our world" with others who might never make a show. They're always amazed! Peace- Jeff F.
John You hit the nail on the head. I began thinking of attending a show, because I wanted to see if I could make my work easier, and maybe better. Just for my own satisfaction. And to get out to talk with other taxidermists, to kind of move into the 21 century. The point I was making. Was what started out to be simply a new adventure. had in a few weeks begun to make me think of what my peers would see in my work. I was loosing sight of why I really wanted to attend a show. However it was nice to have someone close to me remind me of that. I doubt I will change much in the look of most of my work. I know some of the things I do are not "anatomically Correct" and can point out everything myself. I do what has built my customer satisfaction. But there are a lot of styles, and looks I have never seen. and thought this would be an opportunity to find new techniques. Make new friends, and be involved in something I like to do. I am doing no special mounts for the show, Just taking customer mounts off the wall. I am actualy excited about going.
I don't know you, where you are from, or what your mounts are like-but I GUARANTEE If you'll just relax and take some of your favorite mounts(take into consideration your partners' opinion too!)and make it mandatory that your partner goes too,that ya'll will have a blast! All of us have had qualms about "competition". We've attended Piedmont Community College for the annual Taxidermy Mini-Course at Roxboro,North Carolina for the past 12 years. When I was finally able to talk my hubby into taking a few mounts to enter into "the competition",I thought he was going to worry himself crazy over what to take.After we talked about it,we decided to that we would use the judges' comments as a learning tool-if we even got close enough to a judge to get any comments.We didn't expect to rate a ribbon-just some pointers on our works.I don't remember how many entries there were in the amateure division-there seemed to be a whole gymnasium packed full though.We picked out our most memorable mounts and called our customers to see if we could "borrow" their mounts for the competition-in exchange for a touch-up on their mounts & habitats / displays; they would also get 'bragging rights' if theirs placed,but we would retain the ribbons to display alongside a picture of their trophy in our shop.We didn't have anyone turn us down. He entered 9 mounts and I entered 6 displays/habitats. They judge them separately. Remember,I'm talking about strictly COMMERCIAL mounts& habitats.For 9 mounts,he brought home 6 ribbons.My habitats took ribbons in 2nd and 3rd place categories.I LOVE IT! But the thing that made it all worth while, was the look on his face when he caught sight of that first ribbon on HIS mount.He was so happy-he looked like he could just burst. After talking with the judges and picking up some pointers,he started looking for the mini-course instructors to see what their opinion of our work was.Talk about having fun! We really enjoy the classes we take there, but I think it's all about the people attending it.It's such a joy to spend real quality time with others that are as interested in the field as you are.We've even attended classes after the set class schedule,just because the class was full and the instructors wanted to make sure everyone could get the course material that they were interested in. GO FOR IT! we did!-Susan