Ready to dip your toe into the world of taxidermy?
That’s the stuff.
Steel your nerves then, and make your way to Crouch End, where Suzette Field and her team of animal preserving experts – aka A Field Guide – are ready to induct you into the eccentric Victorian pastime of anthropomorphic taxidermy.
They’ll provide everything you need (tea, biscuits, dead animals) all of which have been carefully ethically sourced. They’re keen to stress that taxidermy, while it might give some the heebie jeebies and (at worst) has earned them some pretty threatening letters, is a form of giving these animals a second life and taking time to appreciate the intricacy of natural design. Before getting stuck in, for example, you’ll be encouraged to respectfully sketch a portrait of your animal’s face.
And then stuff it and give it a tiny hat.
There’s separate classes depending on what you’d like to stuff – from beginner-friendly mice, moles and guinea pigs to more complex roosters, rabbits and winged rats (not pigeons, but a kind of chimera you can create yourself). And, over the course of four to six hours, you’ll be initiated into the basic techniques of skinning, prepping, mounting and modelling an animal, which variously involves cotton wool, hairdryers and beady eyes. You can then choose to either keep your animal ‘au naturel’, or create a tableau using props and costumes, where animals can be displayed taking picnics, performing plays or, indeed, scaling the Eiffel Tower.
Oh, and the team also provide lunch.
But don’t worry, it’s vegetarian.
NOTE: A Field Guide Taxidermy Workshops take place regularly (usually Wednesdays and Saturdays) across London. Classes cost from £45 for butterflies to £180 for a rooster, and can be booked HERE.
Like finding unusual things to do? Check out our guide to Quirky Things To Do In London