Workshops

The performance of public dissection has a long and torrid history, full of censorship, condemnation, and quite a lot of inspiration.

Education is a critical part of the work we do. We offer a number of workshops and public dissection opportunities. Below is a list of prepared presentations, but that’s not all we do. Please contact us if you have an idea or specific request.

All lectures, presentations, and dissections are heavily reliant on audience participation. These are not the same sorts of lectures you may have experienced before. I believe in a model that requires direct input and investment from the participants in order to foster an environment focused on making connections and discovery. I choose to switch my role from presenter to moderator depending on the discussions at hand, which means that participants have a heavy influence on the direction of each lecture. Debates arise, and sometimes even a few arguments erupt. This is not to say that the structure is unorganized, chaotic and without concrete information, however there is always time built in to each presentation for a few “rabbit holes.” By the end, you will not go home with a notebook full of names, dates, and terms from the topics; but hopefully the names and contact details of those with whom you would like to continue a conversation over coffee (or a cat).

Anatomy for the Artist (3 hours)

In the spirit of the universities during the age of enlightenment, students will have direct control over the dissection process. Built as a studio class, I will encourage artists to request positioning and dissection for the purpose of drawing or sculpting. Several specimens, some full, others predissected or partial, will be made available allowing a number of arrangements and possibilities for each student. Osteological (including some human) and preserved (fixed) specimens will be available for inspection, reference, and comparison. Lecture is very minimal and mostly restricted to questions and answers allowing a maximum amount of time for individuals to work.

$20.00 a student

minimum of 10 students, 20 maximum

Institution and group flat rates available

Open Studio

From time to time, an interesting thing comes along that I feel would be a good specimen to share with others. For these specimens I open up the studio doors to anyone who cares to come to watch the process. These events are always free. Please be sure to add yourself to the Meddling with Nature Facebook page for updates. Some of these are planned far in advance; others are nearly immediate depending on what I may have found on the way home from the grocery store.

Intro to Making New Friends (3.5 hours)

This introductory presentation covers the basics of taxidermy. This is a stand-alone introduction course, but is also Session 1 of the Taxidermy Tutorial Series (see below)

Over the course of 3 hours students will learn the process of taxidermy from an icy frozen corpse to a finished mount. This presentation uses visual examples and handouts to explain the process. Due to time limitation, the hands on aspect of this program is somewhat limited. I will answer questions regarding the process and present photographs of each step for several different species of animal. This program also briefly covers the proper process for prepping skeletons and skulls using several different methods from boiling in your kitchen to letting nature take its course with little helpers. Overview of tools of the trade will also be discussed. Information on the legal issues around taxidermy will also be addressed.

$60.00 a student

minimum of 10 students required,
maximum of 20

Institution and group flat rates available

The Naturalist Arts for Filmmakers (3 hours)

Filmmakers always have the requirement to make magic happen with little notice and limited funds. Meddling with Nature has had the pleasure of working under these extreme conditions with filmmakers as high profile as Robert Rodriguez, Sundance award winning short film crews and small budget independent films. We have even been called on for prop crisis management for European beer commercials and music videos when the onsite prop masters got a little out of their league. I have worked hard to perfect requirements of business expectation and fast turnaround while providing creative problem solving within very strict budgets.

In this presentation, I discuss how both professional commercial filmmakers and independent creators and film students can prepare themselves for the set design that requires a dead white dove bleeding from neck, a German shepherd vomiting 1 gallon of blood, or even a 20 thousand year old deer. How do people in the film industry effectively procure props quickly and competently? I will describe various avenues for the creation of work and also explain how the taxidermy world works to ensure that designers will be able to understand what they are asking of artists in the field, and what is a reasonable charge for work performed.

Animal props, fake organs, and any manner of gore are a constant in film, I have often found that one of the most time consuming elements of working in film is simply the learning curve of what is and what is not possible given a particular budget. There are also a lot of state and national laws that can get production crews in serious trouble even with the most honest of intentions. I will discuss various laws and tolerances in regards to getting that stamp of approval from American Humane Association for commercial and independent works. With that in mind, we will take a look at the actual taxidermy process to increase participant competency when working in the set design and prop arts.

As part of this presentation, each participant will work with a specimen as well as see pieces of taxidermy in process. This not only enhances the understanding of work flow, but increases abilities to replicate biological material. Need to know the right recopies for on-site faux blood and organ production? Recipes, molding techniques, and applicable references for realism will be described and demonstrated in this seminar.

Please contact for institution rates and honorariums

Please contact us for details.

Full Taxidermy Workshop (Ten 3 hour sessions)

Over the course of 10 weeks, we will cover the topic of taxidermy start to finish; from step by step guides on mammals, reptiles, and birds, to specimen preservation and concepts of plastination. Fee includes student supplies and specimens, though students are encouraged to forage the roads for interesting subjects! Supplies for the mounting specimens are not provided, but assistance in procurement will be made. No price is ever set in stone, have a proposal? Let’s hear it!

$600.00 a student

minimum of 5 students, maximum of 15

Institution and group flat rates available

 

All lectures, presentations, and dissections are heavily reliant on audience participation. These are not the same sorts of lectures you may have experienced before. I believe in a model that requires direct input and investment of the participants in order to foster an environment focused on making connections and discovery. I choose to switch my role from presenter to moderator depending on the discussions at hand, which means that participants have a heavy influence on the direction of each lecture. Debates arise, and sometimes even a few arguments erupt. This is not to say that the structure is unorganized, chaotic and without concrete information, however there is always time built in to each presentation for a few “rabbit holes.” By the end, you will not go home with a notebook full of names, dates, and terms from the topics; but hopefully the names and contact details of those who you would like to continue a conversation with over coffee (or a cat).