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HELP!! I might be in over my head!

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by troy, Aug 12, 2011.

  1. troy

    troy Member

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    I have a dilemma I hope you guys can give me some suggestions with. (A little info) A teacher from the next school district called me and said her class had to write a small essay on what they wanted to be when they grew up. One kid wanted to become a taxidermist. (Go figure :D) She asked me if they could stop by my shop, along with his parents, and have me tell him a little bit about what all is involved with being a taxidermist. The kick is the little guy is in the 3rd grade!!! OUCH! I'm not real big on kids, especially such small ones!! I'm at a loss as what to say or do and keep it interesting and not too involved for this young lad. I thought I might quickly go over whats involved, not too in depth, and show him some materials like forms, eyes, earliners, some tanned skins, bird heads, fish blanks etc. I'd like to give him something to do or take home with him. Right now I figured we could make a quick rock like the tutorial by Jknuth did with the silicone. Or maybe play with the airbrush? Does anyone know where to down load some practice papers from to teach airbrushing?(I could use them myself! ;)) I thought maybe Rick Carter would be able to tell me about that. I don't know!!! Does anyone have any other suggestions, please? What do they do with the kids at the shows? I know Michael P did something at the PA show but, like I said, kids and me are kinda eh, so I really didn't pay any attention to what that was. I'm wondering how I get into these things but the teacher who called me, her son played on the same water-polo team with my daughter when they were in school. Plus, how COULD I say no anyway?? I just don't want to bore the kid to death (or scare him) and I'd like for him to leave having a fun and interesting time. Remember, I'm gonna have to entertain the teacher and the parents too. Oh boy!! :eek: :eek: I'm scared, nervous, and excited all at the same time!! They are coming Wednesday afternoon so any advice, suggestions or help will be greatly appreciated!! I hope to leave all of them with a new view of what taxidermy really entails and have them intrigued and educated by it. Tall order I know, but I'm willing to give it my best!!
     
  2. Cathy

    Cathy N.E.A.T President

    Wow, your school system starts early and the teachers are dedicated! I'm a paraprofessional at the grade school down the road and I'm not sure what the teacher asked you to do, but I think you're over thinking it and it will make you nuts. The kid is like 8. Show him around, show him a couple of forms, a couple of finished mounts and go over a few basic steps to get from A to B. Did she ask you to do any hands-on stuff? Then don't. Let him hold a few things,(form, glass eyes, ear liners, etc) and let all 4 of them ask questions. Something to take home is nice, but your call, just like the airbrush. That would be about the only thing I would let a strange child do in a taxidermy shop. JMO, of course. Good luck and let us know what you decide!
    Cathy
     

  3. Randy Miller

    Randy Miller Active Member

    Do a quick half cast bluegill. Have the plastercasting ready, as well as the skin all ready to go. Just fill it and when it stiffens enough, screw it to the mounting stick and quickly set the fins. 20-30 mins tops. Tell jokes.
     
  4. Show him all the different animals you have. A 3rd grader will be amazed seeing a coyote or a really colourful duck. :)
    Maybe if you have a small bait fish repro laying around you can let him paint it, to keep him busy, and entertained. Hell, have the parents paint some too. :D :D
     
  5. Dreamwing

    Dreamwing New Member

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    Too bad deer season is not in-you could have him cape out a head! LOL. Seriously you could have him help you arrange habitat for a mount you have already done, or give him a reference picture if a duck bill and have him paint an artificial head with a brush that he could take home. He may be a bit young for the air brush but he might be ok with it.
     
  6. Frog

    Frog New Member

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    I've had lots of small kids come to my shop, thier attention span will be short. I normally show them skulls, hides & materials used for mounting. the adults will ask most of the questions. Good Luck.
     
  7. GBRUCH

    GBRUCH "I am nothing without christ".....John 15:5

    Troy I agree with Frog----very short attn span with the kids Keep it more touchy feely and less like a speach. My nephews/nieces always were fascinated by the art. tounges and were fascinated by all the different creatures I pulled out of the freezer. That gave them a chance to see the kind of animals taxidermists mount.

    You will do fine ---- I am certain.


    Imagine teaching the youngins how to work with a service dog-------whew, now that can be a gasket blower.
     
  8. gab

    gab Active Member

    i do this all the time.I go to the schools evry year and talk to kids from k-5 and we host teenagers on career day.3rd grader level:
    just walk him through the steps:raw cape,salted cape,tanned cape,hydrated cape .pretend to fit cape on form w/horns.show glass eyes.show an unfinished head and a finished head.don't talk to him like he's a kid.be sure to address him not his parents.answer questions.
     
  9. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    I did a Career Day at my kids second grade class years ago. Believe me, what you do for a living will be plenty interesting for any kid. The only other parent that came close to the interest level taxidermy offered was the Coca Cola Distributor and that was because he brought free samples - lol! Since it's one on one it's a bit different, but just go over the basic procedures for one animal or fish - try to keep the blood and stuff out of it. The kid(s) will want to ask a ton of questions. Having a form and a few materials ready to help describe the process is a good start. You can touch upon all phases of taxidermy, but as mentioned keep it brief. Maybe a 5-10 minute overview of what you do and then open for questions. End with a tour of your shop and again, try to keep the bloody stuff to a minimum - don't hide the fact what you do, but present it so that you're honoring the animal. Have a brief outline in front of you so you make sure you touch upon everything but don't read - be yourself!

    P.S. $5 bucks says they'll either want to touch or ask if the eyes are real - lol!
     
  10. troy

    troy Member

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    Hey, thanks to you all for the advice. It's coming up in two days and I must admit I'm a little anxious. I just want to leave them with a good impression and show them that taxidermy is just not "stuffing" something. Whew!! I have a new appreciation for guys like Gary Bruch, Tim Jordan, and the others who go and give seminars in front of a bunch of people!! At least they know what they are doing.LOL!! :D I think I will use a little bit of what everybody says and let him (them) ask a bunch of questions. I figured I'd steer away from the bloody stuff somewhat, but I want to be sure to say that IS a big part. Like gutting an animal after you shoot it. Hey, that's part of it! But focus more on the composition and recreation of the beauty of all the animals I work on. An honoring and respecting kinda thing. (Reference, reference, reference, right? ;D) Still, I gotta remember he's just a little kid, and not over think it, like catgear said. Probably when they show up all my preparation and outline will fly out the window and I'll just freaking wing it!!! :eek: Thanks again to everybody and I'll let you know how it goes on Wednesday!!
     
  11. troy

    troy Member

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    Wow!!!! The kid just left! I was worried about nothing. It was tough to get a word in edge wise. I had a little presentation all ready and even let the kid set a deer eye and sculpt the eye muscles but man-o-man. He just machine-gunned me with one question after another. I couldn't even get the answer out before he asked another. One good one was, (I have big reference posters from Lifes Journey there with deer eyes and noses on them) "How do you know if it is a boy or a girl from the eyes or noses?" I was like.....Ahhhhh (crickets) you don't. He was big on..What's this, what's that, where did it come from? "What's that?" "A black bear form." How do you know it's a black bear?" "I skinned it." "MY Granddad has bears around his house, do you think they are black bears?" "Yes." "Do they sleep there?" "I don't know." "Can you tell if they are a boy or a girl by their nose or eyes?" "I can't." Man it was an adventure!! Kids are so tirering!! He was like a rubber ball all over the shop. I think the Mom, teacher and the student teacher, ( who reminded me of the teacher in the Van Halen video....Grrrrrr!) learned more than the kid. I wanted to just do like 20-30 minutes of stuff but they were here for an hour. I think it went well, they all left smiling and they had to drag the kid out. I wouldn't have minded talking some more, especially to the student teacher!!! Did I mention she was HOT!!! :eek: :eek: She kept calling me Mr. Troy. HA! For some reason I liked hearing her say my name, though. ;) :D Anyway, they all said they had a good time and taxidermy really wasn't like they thought it was. So I guess I did OK. I even got a free hat from The National Children's Study. Not a bad day!!
     
  12. backcountrychad

    backcountrychad Active Member

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    See we taxidermist are chick magnets. I think she wants you Troy!!! LOL!!
     
  13. Cathy

    Cathy N.E.A.T President

    Glad it went well!
     
  14. troy

    troy Member

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    I'm not so sure about all that, Chad. LOL!! But, alas, I've been taken off the market, by a good woman, long ago. Still, just because you ride around in an old Mercedes doesn't mean you can't appreciate the shapely curves and sleek lines of a nice new Corvette!! ;) And I'm sure my wife feels the same way cuz she cruises an old ride that's built for comfort not for speed! :eek: :D But as far as the kid goes, I rather enjoyed it and I think they all did too, so mission accomplished.
     
  15. Brian W

    Brian W Active Member

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    Lmao.....I thought you were single when you mentioned the student teacher as HOT (with exclamations) but then you mentioned the "good woman"......what do they say, what happens in a taxidermy shop, stays in a taxidermy shop.... ;D....my wife would have my head (and rightfully so) if I used those car analogies.......lol.

    Anyway, you did well to help out and that's what its all about..........Good job.
     
  16. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Should've asked her if you could check her oil - lol!
     
  17. Jaymic

    Jaymic New Member

    Were the highbeams on?
     
  18. Brian W

    Brian W Active Member

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    Now...I'm laughing again because of what Marty started.......and I can think of few too......BUT.......not going there....LOL
     
  19. Frog

    Frog New Member

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    Glad it was a good experience for you all. Recently had a kid come to my shop to look around with his parents, about 3 visits. His mother called & invited me to his 8th birthday party, said that he put my name 1st on his list & had been telling his teachers all about the things that I'd done. He loves the show Mounted in Alaska. I took him a cast elk antler with a elk head carved into it & a big elk shed that I had. He showed me his mounted in Alaska room when I got to the party. I enjoyed going to the party & we planned a hog & deer hunt this fall.
     
  20. Ittybit

    Ittybit Member

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    Gee Frog if I have a mounted in Alaska party and invite you will I get an elk antler too? Would be worth having one.