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First attempt

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by chromepursuit, Oct 7, 2014.

  1. hambone

    hambone Well-Known Member

    I think one more post and Perca will explode.
  2. M.T.

    M.T. Active Member

    So, as usual, I'm right and you're wrong! Plain and simple.

  3. 1fish2fish

    1fish2fish Well-Known Member

    : the skill, activity, or job of preparing, stuffing, and mounting the skins of dead animals so that they look like they did when they were alive

    1. Preparing skin of dead animal
    2. Stuffing skin of dead animal
    3. Mounting skin of dead animal

    Does Pete not do all of these things to create his replica? Its just that his overall mounting process includes the step of molding and casting for the exact purpose of making his animals "look like they did when they were alive".

    I submit, Pete does taxidermy.

    And again, "The Akeley Awards, named after the taxidermist, sculptor, explorer and inventor Carl E. Akeley (1864-1926), will be awarded to the three entries (first, second, third) which best represent that taxidermy is indeed a valid form of wildlife art. The Akeley Awards will be chosen at large from the taxidermy entries in all divisions and categories."

    Best, Scott
  4. dougp

    dougp Active Member

    Gold Member

    Posts: 856

    Re: First attempt

    « Reply #2 on: October 09, 2014, 07:58:31 AM »
    Just curious what you classify someone who does repro work only? Just a fish artist maybe?

    This is the original question I was responding to. Somehow we got waaaay into the grass and lost the original substance.

    we would agree, I believe, on about everything in your last post!
  5. Brian W

    Brian W Active Member

    I think you call it sticking your nose in but my comment to you when you were arguing with Marty was "you should just agree to disagree". Not derogatory, not antagonistic, just a comment on a forum where exchange of ideas and thoughts are welcome. We had a good run here but I'm moving on..........maybe I'll see you at a show some year and we can compare notes..... ;)
  6. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    ok I'm going to bite some here and say that yes repro's are more considered art and not taxidermy but and here's the but, if a person is casting the fish by themselves then it is taxidermy. Why? simple put, that person has to manipulate the fish to look alive again. aka movement of skin (taxidermy). You can't cast a dead fish with out some kind of skin movement. Ok yes asinine but true.

    Now were saying it's true taxidermy if we use the real head and fins. Ok then why are we building the head and fins to make it look real? Well now we are using epoxies, bondo, glue, fabric to rebuild the shrunken areas to make it look real again. Now does that make the original parts fake? Yep in my opinion for we are doing the same if we cast our own parts.

    So to me all in all it's taxidermy if you cast your own fish and artistic work if you just buy them even if you alter it, it's still plastic and not skin.

    This is my definition if your a fish taxidermist or an artist and as for me I am both!
  7. Steven Klee

    Steven Klee Steven Klee Studios

    When molding a fish, are we minipulating skin as if it is actually being "mounted"? Seems to me we are manipulating the carcass not the skin.

    I do agree Frank, you ARE both.
  8. dougp

    dougp Active Member

    When molding a fish, are we minipulating skin as if it is actually being "mounted"? Seems to me we are manipulating the carcass not the skin.

    I agree with Steve here....we are moving the carcass to achieve a natural pose. The skin happenns to be attached to the carcass and must move with it. We cannot manipulate the skin, by itself, in that process.
  9. AnglingArtisan

    AnglingArtisan Well-Known Member

    Did someone say "Move Skin"?
    ok,ok I'm done now :D :D :D

    Attached Files:

  10. dougp

    dougp Active Member

    Rich....funny you should bring up Buffalo Bill.

    When I was in "debates" about C&R and skin mounts on some of the Muskie discussion boards one of my "fans" put that label on me. Very Cute! ;D ::) ;)

    A lot of those guys didn't share my views on C&R and delayed mortality in particular....not to mention skin mounting a muskie......YIKES!! :eek: :eek:
  11. AnglingArtisan

    AnglingArtisan Well-Known Member


    Attached Files:

  12. Harum

    Harum Active Member

    Well Steve, I guess I'll start with a mini disclaimer and say I was not singling you out with my blanket statement. However, if I ever want a quality debate I'll be sure to do just that. ;)

    The Tarpon reproduction that won in 1995 scored a 95, by two judges, placing it in the pool of other quality taxidermy work to be considered for the Akeley award. From that pool, Judged by an exceptional taxidermist and an iconic wood carver, The Tarpon came out on top. Why this is the only reproduction (to date) to win this award is hard to say but your assessment of difficulty is most definitely part of it.
    I will admit that the piece may have been a bit easier to be chosen for this award based on the fact that it was what we are now apparently calling a hybridization. I will explain my feeling on why this would make the choice easier when I answer your rather difficult question. The Tarpon had castings of fins, gills and head. The taxidermist then sculpted the body and affixed the skin. Before the skin dried the overall piece was molded to capture the hydrated appearance of the scales. This also avoided the shrunken, dented or deformed issues that come out when molding a dead fish. Not something your average taxidermist can do but then again this was the Carl E Akeley award.
    Now each judge will see things in their own way but if they are to follow the criteria of the Akeley award (as I’ve said before) they will be looking for exceptional taxidermy skill coupled with a solid artistic perspective. The balance is going to weigh heavier on the taxidermy side. Now, it may not be as impacting as you have in mind, but the artistic aspects of the piece will elevate it to the top even if another piece may be ever so slightly better on the craftsmanship end of things. In fact without it your piece will probably not be considered for the upper awards.

    Now, I suppose I'll try and answer your question. Although it will be more of an observation or opinion than a true answer.
    I can’t speak for the individuals that created separate categories, based on techniques, as I was never been involved. I have, however, seen a pattern in competition and have my own opinions based on my observations.
    In competition the organizers want to provide a level playing field. One would have to assume that what is considered a level playing field is an ever changing thing as more people gain knowledge of the improved methods. The changes and separations are driven, in part, by the complaints from competitors of unfair advantages within processes, that they most likely have little or no knowledge on and in some cases access to. A good case in point would be Freeze drying. I’m going to guess that you have had a look at the criteria for separate categories in competition. If so you would have seen the exclusion of freeze dried parts in certain categories. Well, most taxidermist don’t own a freeze drier as they are quite expensive. So freeze drying get excluded from certain categories, maybe give it its own category. Level playing field, right. Now here are the reproductions. It stands to reason that it was a shock to see cast fins and heads show up in past competition. I assume there were quite a few that cried foul. Then bring on the full reproduction. I’m sure you can see how that probably went over. I have little doubt that a few competitors, with little or no knowledge how to do this new process, complained about fairness. I’m sure some felt the reproduction must be a much easier way to achieve the look. It must have its own category. Spread the knowledge of how to create a reproduction (it will happen) and you just might see change. A good thing in my opinion.

    Anyhow, to end this apparent novel… My thoughts on the subject of definition would be to set these techniques in subcategories that all fall under the definition of taxidermy. For example, skin mount taxidermist, reproduction taxidermist (just so long as they do it all themselves, Frank) and how about hybridization taxidermist :)
    Either that or we could always add an ism on the end of reproduction and call it an art movement ;)


    Hey John, your work has been looking greate.
    Bender, LOL ;)
  13. Steven Klee

    Steven Klee Steven Klee Studios

    Thank you Pete, I thought this might be the method used but didn't push it, for 2 reasons. First, for fear of another 20 page debate, and second out of respect for the artist and piece in and of itself.

    People can, and will, interperet it how they see it, but in my opinion, I think it's safe to say this: Even though "ALL" are eligable in todays "interperetive" taxidermy, actual taxying of the skin must be accomplished somewhere in the process to be considered "taxidermy". Both, by it's original definition, and by the Akeley award.

    Best, Steve
  14. UFD

    UFD New Member

    LOL, the Tarpon was mine. No one at the time (and for years afterward) who was in the taxidermy industry knew which method I used and I registered the piece as a reproduction without outlining my method of getting from a dead fish to a finished piece, so to imply the actual method was known precisely and swayed the performance (95 in Master's Division Reproduction Category, Best In World Reproduction, and First Place Carl Akeley Award) of the finished piece in the show has zero validity to any speculation along those lines.

    On the major point of contention in this post, I ask all of you to consider this: Ruth Sawyer Billard authored a book detailing the fish preservation methods of the Chief Preparator of Yale's Peabody Museum of Natural History for 43 years, Ralph C. Morrill. Mr. Morrill was also listed as an added author, so we can assume the content, titling, and opinions reflect his own. The book is titled "Museum Quality Fish Taxidermy". The preservation methods involve the posing, molding, casting, and painting of fish. The methods covered do not include utilizing the skin in the finished mount.

    I wonder why Mr. Morrill used the word "taxidermy" to express his fish reproduction methods? Must be that umbrella concept, eh?
  15. Harum

    Harum Active Member

    OH SNAP!
  16. dougp

    dougp Active Member

    Dave.....a belated congrats on the tarpon.

    As far as Ralph Morrill and his publication, I would submit that he [or Ruth Billiard] hadn't read the definition of "taxidermy" as laid out by Merriam Webster. ;D ;D ;)

    The Field Museum of Natural History in Chgo referred to the replicas being done there by their taxidermists as "fish models" as illustrated in the pics from the Leon Pray replica thread.

    I'm goin with the "home boys" on this one.... ;) LOL!!
  17. Steven Klee

    Steven Klee Steven Klee Studios

    I agree, LOL.

    It would "SEEM" this is one of those "GOTCHA MOMENTS". Thanks for finally weighing in Dave.

    After all my research and coming up with a big fat zero, I made the unfortunate statement:....... "to my knowledge" no one had ever won the Akeley award for a reproduction solely. Imagine my surprise when Dave provided us with, well let's just say an "unrecognized name" but at least it was a "valid" year, making it easier to research who the actual artist was. So, as I stated before, " OUT OF RESPECT FOR THE ARTIST AND HIS PIECE". (uh, that sounded bad) ::) It's no surprise to me atleast, it was Dave Campbell's.

    As far as "IMPLYING" the actual method was known, and I like how the word "precisely" was added here, and swaying the performance, or implied decision for the Akeley award....I would point out a couple of things:

    quote: Pete Harum_ " I will admit that the piece may have been a bit easier to be chosen for this award based on the fact that it was what we are now calling a hybridization". I agreed with Pete, and in part, said what I said in hopes that the bigger fish, you, would bite and weigh in on the subject. It seemed to have worked, as you are now here.

    Secondly I think it should be considered: If someone like me with a sub level state certification, "reproduction master", can evaluate between a reproduction that has been molded from a dead carcass and one using the mount and mold method, it would be folly to assume a judge at such a high level of competition would not at least evaluate it and take into account that it "could" be the method used, therefore not absolutely being able to "exclude" it for the award. So to imply the the actual method was NOT, at the very least, acknowledged, and did not sway the decision is "equally" unvalid to any speculation along those lines...

    So where does that leave us ? Exactly where Mr. Morrill and Leon Prey were. "DIVIDED", in one's own opinion of what we interperite as "taxidermy", but "UNITED" in our passion. Maybe we should agree to disagree. THERE IS ROOM FOR BOTH.

    And by the way, the " gotcha game " gets old too.

    Best, Steve
  18. dougp

    dougp Active Member

    I've got a headache........... ;) ;D
  19. Harum

    Harum Active Member

    You quote me but fail to see what exactly that quote addresses, in hopes that it would prove your point. The mount caught the attention of the judges and was easier to consider for this award based on its complexity of skill not the fact that it swayed from the confines of the narrow minded limitation of a definition.
    Oh, and I guess I’m bait and a little fish now. Should make for an interesting conversation if I do see you at the next World show. I do hope you are considering competing in the Masters category.

    Doug, they have a pill for that ;)
  20. Steven Klee

    Steven Klee Steven Klee Studios

    1. The complexity of skill was never in question, or direspected. If you go back and re-read my statement, maybe you'll catch the "in part" part of the statement.
    2. The rules "are" limited by their definitions. At least they are supposed to be. How narrow minded is that?
    3. Sorry, I meant no disrespect, even though you evidently took it that way. The bigger fish remark was in recognition that Dave was actually the one this conversation was about. He is after all the only one to win it.
    4. As far as narrow mindedness goes, I'm sorry you feel that way. I would never consider someone elses view narrow minded just because it differs from my own. Nor would I turn someone's friendship away for that same reason.