What we provide:
- Beginners taxidermy courses.
- Intermediate and advanced courses covering bird, mammal and game head.
- We can also cover bespoke specific areas such as tanning.
- Visitor, experience, observation and enquiry days.
- We do not provide fish taxidermy courses.
A course is a single unit of teaching. ‘Training’ is an ongoing process – you cannot be “trained” in three days.
Taxidermy, by its nature, involves close up handling, studying, skinning and processing of animal and/or bird corpses. We only use fresh carcasses however, in the initial stages, there may be bodily fluids, internal organs and odour. If you are in any way upset, offended or disturbed by this, then you may want to consider carefully whether a taxidermy course is for you.
Poor quality courses
The huge revival in taxidermy has seen a big demand for courses and teaching, there are now many people offering courses, some of which are very basic and will leave the student knowing nothing about what quality taxidermy really is and how it is done. You can read more about this in a separate article I have written at this link to my articles page:
Poor standards of tuition in taxidermy article
Beginners courses. Background and context:
It is a fact that to learn to be a competent taxidermist and produce work of consistently high quality across a wide range of bird, animal and fish species, using a variety of techniques, requires a thorough understanding and appreciation of muscular and skeletal anatomy. Along with the study live animals to gain an understanding of how they are in life. It takes many years of hard work and commitment, coupled with natural artistic flare. Therefore, to expect to learn taxidermy, in its entirety, on a course of just a few days is obviously very unrealistic. Put simply, it is not possible.
The courses we provide are aimed specifically at guiding the beginner to an appreciation of the art and to acquire a solid foundation of knowledge and technique on which to build and develop. Whilst at the same time dispelling any illusions or preconceptions that a “fast buck” can be made after minimal so called ‘training’.
From my own early experiences, I know how frustrating taxidermy can be at the early stages. I wasted, quite literally, years and countless valuable specimens in my vain attempts to understand what I was trying to do and where I was going wrong. Therefore, to be guided “hands on” through the whole process of setting up a bird or small mammal, using correct technique, by an experienced professional taxidermist would have saved me years of frustration, wasted money and precious carcasses, which are often very difficult to obtain.
For well over twenty years now, I have been providing a limited number of short courses on taxidermy. These are tailored to cater for most levels of experience, from the complete novice with little or no practical experience, to the advanced level for those wishing to refine their techniques and learn new ones to gain wider experience and knowledge of the art.
I run the courses on a minimum three days and up to five days. Longer courses are possible but these need to be structured and planned in advance. There may be up to four persons per course. (A similar experience level is to be preferred when people attend together.) Each course is individually tailored to the requirements of those attending. Courses are split into three levels: Beginner, intermediate and advanced.
Beginners’ taxidermy course details
Who goes on a beginners’ course?
The beginners’ course is aimed at those with an interest but little or no previous experience of practical taxidermy. For this course we normally work on a simple bird mount using a commonly available species such as a Magpie, Jay or Crow. The student will be taken through the whole process and will be “hands on” from fresh specimen to completed mount. There will be no corners cut and the student will learn all that is necessary to be able to produce a finished mount.
Length of the course:
Our beginners’ taxidermy courses are typically over three days, mounting a single bird over the three days from start to finish, covering the whole process and having it fully explained, you can dictate the pace, ask questions, take notes, some photos etc. during the course. The minimum I recommend is three days as a two day does not allow for as much “hands on time” for the student and can be rushed. If required, days can be added up to a total of five. This allows for more in depth coverage of all aspects plus coverage of other relevant areas such as groundwork (habitat setting) and paint finishing.
What will I learn?
- You will be taken through every step of the method to mount a bird:
- Reference: you will be shown how to look for and interpret “REFERENCE”. Understanding, locating, studying and interpreting reference, is vitally important to understanding how to produce quality taxidermy
- Observation and reference of the bird prior to commencing work on it
- Skinning/ cleaning the skin of fat and grease
- Washing and drying of the skin
- How to make an accurate manikin or form to replace the removed body
- Wiring the skin and mounting it on the form correctly
- Stitching the skin to close the incision
- Arranging the skin and plumage correctly to attain the correct posture and attitude in order that the bird is properly balanced and anatomically correct
- Feather dressing
- Pinning and carding to hold the feathers in position for drying
- Finishing and painting as necessary
COURSE PRICING AND TERMS
Course costs may be subject to change. Always email me for current prices and availability.
- Deposit of £200.00 on booking, the full balance must be paid in full 10 days prior to commencing of the course.
- All course fees must be cleared at least 10 full working days prior to the course. We do not take card payments.
- Everything required to complete the mount is provided (beginners only). If you have a particular specimen that you would like to work on then you can bring it with you. (Provided it is legally obtained and can be proved to be so. Call me first to discuss this.)
- Intermediate and Advanced Courses are costed individually because they are tailored to suit the exact requirements and experience level of the client and dependant on materials and specimens used or required to complete the course. For more information please email us with your details: CONTACT. (link)
- Cancellation or leaving the course prior to completion.
- In the event that the student cancels. The deposit is returnable up to three full weeks (21days) prior to the agreed commencement date of the course.
- Cancellation after two full weeks (14 days) prior to the agreed commencement date of the course the deposit is forfeit (none returnable)
- In the event that the student leaves the course before its completion for any reason, the full balance of the course will remain due.
- If I, (PHILIP LEGGETT), cancel the course for any reason two full weeks (14 days) prior to the agreed commencement date of the course, then I will return your deposit. If I cancel the course in full or in part after the commencement of the course, I will return payment to the value of the unused days, or arrange for you to return at an agreed future date to complete the course.
Advanced Taxidermy courses
The advanced Taxidermy course is for those who have perhaps been practicing taxidermy for some time, may be working professionally and have worked on a range of specimen types and may wish to concentrate on a particular area like game heads, full mammals, finishing or cases and habitat work. Here the emphasis is very much on areas such as anatomy, muscle tone, pose, and expression. Finishing techniques are also looked at in depth. Before commencing an advanced level course it is very important to plan well beforehand the precise areas the client may wish to concentrate on to ensure that we do not go over familiar ground and consequently waste time and money. These courses are strictly one to one and in complete confidence.
Working overalls or practical clothing which you are prepared to get a bit dirty. Comfortable shoes, trainers or similar. Long hair should be tied back/up for health and safety reasons.
Courses normally start at 8:30 a.m – 5:00 p.m with one hour for lunch (provided). Overnight accommodation from B+B to large hotel is available locally dependent on requirements.
We don’t have many rules here however, due to the nature of modern technology and our right to protect our intellectual property, it is a condition of visiting that no cameras, image capture, transmission and/or audio/visual recording equipment of any kind, covert or otherwise are allowed on to our premises without our express and specific agreement. Access is granted only on this basis.
Visitor, Experience, observation and enquiry days.
We receive many enquiries over the course of a year, from people who would like to visit us or “pop in” to experience a day in our taxidermy studio, or just ask questions about various aspects our work. This can include students, journalists and members of the public; basically anyone with an interest in some aspect of taxidermy, but may not have time to attend a paid formal three day course.
Regretfully, we cannot give our time for free any longer, as put very simply, this is our job and time talking is time not working and earning. In light of this we offer various options for anyone wishing to learn more, but not necessarily attend a formal course.
We provide a small range of paid options to fulfil these requirements as follows:
One hour visit to ask general (none technical) questions £40.00. Two hours £ 80.00
We also provide a taxidermy experience day @ £250.00 to give the observer the opportunity to experience a day in a professional taxidermy studio.
THIS IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR A COURSE. There is no teaching. You will see us work on what we are currently doing at whatever stage it is at.
The client will attend the studio for one day (8 hours, 9-5 lunch provided 1 hour) and, usually, observe a bird or mammal mount being worked upon but it could be any aspect of our work at any stage, unless agreed on in advance. The observer will be able to watch the process and have the opportunity to ask non technical questions. There will be no hands on work for the observer or any technical teaching. The mount will be worked upon at our normal work rate and though we always aim to complete in the day, the nature of our work means that we may not fully complete a mount in one day.
These days are not intended for taxidermists with experience of doing taxidermy at any level, or those who wish to ask detailed technical questions on methods, materials and techniques. They are aimed at general interest or those who are developing an interest and wish to know a little more. They are also not intended as an interview opportunity journalistically.
For those who seek to obtain information and knowledge on technical aspects of advanced taxidermy techniques I provide advanced
teaching days, specifically for that purpose which are tailored to the requirements of the client. No photography or audio recording equipment of any description is allowed in our studio.