Wednesday, 9 May 2012


So I have to confess to nurturing a taxidermy fetish. I readily admit that there is an element of the macabre to all this. Yet to me taxidermy transcends just plain old 'dead' by recognising beauty in the natural world. While it is a memento mori it is also a reminder of life and isn't the relationship between life and death always complex and intertwined? I try and justify it by the fact that nearly all of my bits and pieces have been found second, third, fourth hand or more at the Aladdin's Cave that is Gowans Auctions and have been rescued from being somebody else's cast offs to my treasure.

Without a doubt, the jewel in my taxidermy crown is a rather dishevelled zebra skin:

You can see by the holes and the patches where the hair has rubbed off that it has been dead for a long time and that I obviously wasn't responsible for killing it. It was an utter bargain selling under the hammer for a mere $320. My children used to pat it and while playing with animal figurines at creche used to tell people that they had a zebra at home.....'Of course you do'! They did.

The only other animal (or part of an animal) that we have is a deer:

And a painting of a deer by local Hobart artist Helen Wright:

My first foray into taxidermy was collecting butterflies which, as you can see I set about with some dedication:

The iridescent turquoise specimen came from the ultimate taxidermy mecca  that is Deyrolle in the Rue du Bac, on the Left Bank in Paris. An almost encyclopaedic range of taxidermied animals are all on display and for sale - polar bears, lions, bunny rabbits, chickens, you name it from the animal kingdom and then there are drawers full of butterflies and insects and cabinets full of shells. I only had room in the suitcase for one butterfly.

Have you seen Woody Allen's 'Midnight in Paris'? One of the fabulous after midnight jaunts back in time was to a party set amongst the taxidermy at Deyrolle.

I've been spending a bit of time thinking about painting our front door.....and my first voice was pink. You won't be surprised to hear that my husband wasn't so keen on that particular shade. So I've also been toying with blues and greens. Today, while bogged down doing our tax (yes, I know it's a bit late) I investigated feng shui  colours for front doors. After I took the compass reading to determine that our door faces North West I discovered that the colours which will support and nourish the chi entering our home are silver, gold, white, yellow and........magenta. Bingo. Just to clarify I checked Magenta on Wikipedia and I quote that it is 'a bright purple pinkish colour'. Now my husband went to a boy's school around town which sports a bright pink stripe on the blazer to which they are indoctrinated to believe is NOT pink but Magenta. And magenta has even more special, manly, connotations as it alludes to the colour of blood spilt at the 1859 Battle of Magenta in Italy. So guess what, I've got the thumbs up to go magenta on the door. And I'm seeing something like this:

Source: Doorgasm
What do you think?


  1. Your house is gorgeous. Is that a carletonware trio?

    1. Merck! No it's a mélange of Royal's Doulton and Albert. One of the teacups was left to me by my grandmother who collected avidly. Years down the track it transpires that she had an incredible ability to see into the future as mine is a pattern called "Provence" - I hadn't really gotten started with my love affair with France back then. Rx

  2. I know this is funnier to an American, but I moved from Seattle to Tulsa, Oklahoma at the beginning of last year and in an atempt to make friends started chatting with the woman on the treadmill next to me. She had just moved and lamented that she missed having a craft room. Great, I thought, I like to sew, do papercrafts, and have even thrown the odd pot or two. We have something in common. When I asked her what her favorite craft was, she said "taxidermy". And she also painted gourds. That was all. Rats!
    Love your door color choice and the fact that you collect taxidermy, rather than actually engage in producing it. Your blog is fun, and not at all a cooking one, which is what Hobart made me think of. (The big food mixers.)

  3. No , even as a Hobartian I can see the humor in that story! So what is a Hobart other than a small country town very close to Antarctica with a rather large mountain in the middle of it ? Rx

  4. Hobart is the company that makes Kitchenaid mixers. And in industrial setting, there are appliances the size of small cars that are exactly like the Kitchenaid mixers, but with the Hobart name on them. Most bakeries have Hobart mixers that are between the home Kitchenaid size and the Volkswagon size. Now I must look up that Antarctican town.


I LOVE hearing your thoughts! Rx