Taxidermy Lightens Up

Taxidermy, the Victorian art and tradition of stuffing animals, is becoming fashionable again. Only this time round with young artists who see it as an ethical design choice. If the animal is already dead, why not preserve it in a new and cutting edge way.

Alex Randall has made chandeliers from pigeons in flight and lights with squirrels climbing the wall. She uses dead animals that have been shot as vermin and left to die which she sources from British farmers. As she says "What I love is the character already installed in objects. They hold a memory of their own."

She considers her work to be reclaimed, not recycled, because she doesn't alter the beauty of the object. If it has been around for 100 years, she says, why change it. Thus the bellows lamps (pictured), that are made out of heavy leather bellows, dated 1851 and were rescued from a barn in East Devon. For Randall "they hearken back to the time of British Industrialization when the country was forging an exciting new future as a world leader in commerce and technology."

The pigeon chandelier of pigeons in flight, is made out of 20 pigeons, suspended in a cluster. She thinks that they are beautiful creatures; it's a fatal attraction: "they are regarded as flying rats to most but to me they are little angels."

Another light is made out of a mature male mallard duck. You can tell its a male because the feathers are curling at the tip of his tail. Randall says that she is "bringing some justice back into his life or afterlife." Available in several different species. Jericho Hands

Tags: Artists | Conservation | Preservation | Recycling

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