Taxidermy for beginners with Rose Robson

Modelling, casting and other techniques

Ref: SWE11678

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1 place available

About this course

Learn traditional taxidermy techniques and how to arrange a bird's skin to create a life-like pose. You are taught how to skin, preserve and reconstruct using wood wool and thread using minimal chemicals.

Course Description

Derived from the Greek words: Taxis – order, arrangement, preparation; and derma – skin; taxidermy is the arrangement of skin, the practice of skinning and preserving the skins of animals.

Throughout this course you will be taught traditional taxidermy techniques from your tutor. From the first incision to the final stitch you will learn how to skin and de-flesh a bird using the appropriate tools and techniques required. You will be shown cleaning and preservation methods using only borax, a cleaning substitute.

Studying the anatomy of the bird, you will learn how to reconstruct your own form made out of wood wool and thread. Taxidermy requires an understanding of the behaviours and anatomical adaptations of the animal, you will be shown how to fictionalise and animate the bird by creating poses inspired by natural history books and images of birds.

All birds used have been shot by gamekeepers for their meat or they are considered pests. You will be working with the bird skins that are considered a waste product. Your tutor works seasonally, this dictates what you will be working on during the course.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • On this course the College will supply all materials to be shared amongst the group including; bird skins, scalpels, tweezers, scissors, pliers, galvanised wire, wood wool, cotton, thread, potato flour, borax, non-firing clay and glass eyes.
Wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. Safety boots, if specified.


Rose Robson

Featured in The Independent, AnOther Magazine and SHOWstudio Rose's unconventional taxidermy has gained significant notice since graduating in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins in 2012. Drawing inspiration from natural history, Rose creates swarm like sculptures from a range of different bird skins. Reshaping and distilling them beyond a literal depiction toward a much more expressive end. Rose lives in London and is currently exhibiting at Kasher Potamkin in New York.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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