Dreams, death, symbolism & taxidermy.
Ive always been a dreamer. Every day i wake up and tell my dreams, to my loved ones, or i record it in a journal. Just as someone would wake up and have a daily routine of reading the paper or drinking coffee, i pay a lot of attention to what ive dreamt the night before, or even the hour before. I find that the more a person pays attention to dreams and the symbols seen in dreams, the closer one gets to the subconcious mind. Everything in life is just a big distraction, and you choose what to focus on. Focusing on nature and dreams, and emotions is all very important to me personally because i feel like i am truly connectioning with my inner self, digging a little deeper into my own mind, and this is where all the untapt beautiful creativity lies, just underneath the surface. Dreaming is so important to me and all aspects of my creativity.
I started practising taxidermy the moment i started noticing roadkill everywhere on the roads of Lancashire in the UK. This was around the time that i was studying my fine art degree 5 years ago. I have always been fascinated by death and by dead beings. I always had the same feeling when i saw a dead animal on the side of the road, ever since being a young girl. The feeling was curiosity, and mostly, wanting to either give the animal a proper burial, or use the leftover fur or feathers in my art work somehow, honouring the animal's beauty.
I remember forcing my neighbours to have a funeral for a dead bird we found on our street when i was 8 years old. We wrote RIP on a piece of toilet paper with felt tip pen and wrapped it around the bird with some string and buried it underneath the council funded flower beds. Later that week i dreamt of the bird emerging from the soil.
13 years later in 2011 When i first started taxidermy i got a little bit too big for my boots and decided to taxidermy a fox , (with no previous experience). The fox was found lying on the side of a road dead on the edge of town. He was stunning, and looked to be just having a nap. i carefully put him into a white sack that was originally meant for recycling, and carried him over my shoulder all the way home to my grans where i was living at the time.
I skinned him on the garden table and did a burial with the skinless body at the bottom of the garden underneath the willow tree. My curious grandma attended the funeral also. I made a dream catcher and hung it above where i had buried Mr fox and meditated on the fox spirit for a while, and what a fox means to me symbolically.
After that i decided to mount the remaining fox skin into an upright standing fox named mr todd in a waist coat holding a cane. The final mount was horrendous, he looked just like something off a crap taxidermy website. I was quite upset that it did not turn out as i would have liked , i was very inspired by anthropomorphic taxidermy at the time. I did not clean out his feet properly and they got infested with maggots and i had to leave him in the shed. Never the less everyone i knew loved him and they loved my good efforts. (i had only previously taxidermied mice and other small creatures) I was filled with guilt that wasted the fox's skin. But at the time i did try my best!
A few days later i had a very vivid dream, that Mr Todd had come back to life, and he was dancing, doing a fox trot, above his grave and i danced with him. He wasnt angry with me, he was blissful and his spirit had passed long ago. This dream may have been due to watching watership down too many times as a child, but it also may have been a spiritual and symbolic occurance. Messages come to us through dreams and in our waking life we can choose to let our dreams help us.
Dreams have long been thought of as a source of guidance and answers to questions of the mind.
I think Mr Todd came to me in a dream to guide me. The key traits of a fox spirit guide are
cunning/ strategy /quick-thinking/ adaptability /cleverness/ wisdom/prankster
the whole ordeal made me realise on a deeper level that death is not the end, and the end of Mr todd's life was NOT the crap taxidermy piece. His body was gift from the universe, something that would otherwise rot away. I began to like Mr todd the taxidermy fox in all his charm. He was a reminder not to take life too seriously. And sometimes art does not always go to plan alas there are always happy accidents.