Stuffing your squirrel*, no cranberry please?

An interview with Wilder Duncan, classical artist, taxidermist and Brooklynite

A happy coincidence, having missed a special seminar at the Secret Science club a few years back: a client from Chicago asked me to introduce his nephew to the Great Fredini thinking there could be some symbiosis.  Before passing on the info, I thought it best to check out his credentials.  To my delight, Wilder happened to be a rather colorful person well deserving of documentation.

Wilder Duncan photographed in his parlor Brooklyn NY 2013 (David Neff)

Wilder honed his craft at Wesleyan University.  A mashup of classical art education, the lifelong love for animals, art, history and diorama.  His reanimation of roadkill began in Newton, Massachusetts.  Self-taught as a taxidermist he went on to be the make it look alive again guy at the Evolution Store.  When he’s not making or protecting art, he teaches workshops in preparation of zoological displays.

When he was 12, Wilder’s aunt found a dead Oriole, that would be the first bird he stuffed.  When I asked him what got him started, he said, ” People love animals so much they decide to stretch their skins over something else so they can look at them forever; this phenomenon fascinates me.”  He had already professed his love of animals ten minutes earlier.  What would he hope to do with his work one day?  Show it as a whacked out, crazy natural history collection.  Hellooo Museum of Natural History, anyone want a resume’? Sideshow!  Take me with you!  You can pay me (David)  peanuts to brush the beetles out of the dioramas.

Coincidentally, a few days later I ran into The Great Fredini as I was passing through Union Square.  Introduction done.  Museum of Natural History, meet Coney Island, I see great hairy reanimated possibilities.  Did someone say sideshow?

See more of Wilder’s work here

* note: Wilder would like it to be known that all animals used by him are acquired legally as well as ethically.  Please practice responsible taxidermy.  Live animals are to be respected, expired animals are to be admired.

 

Wilder Duncan photographed in his parlor Brooklyn NY 2013 (David Neff)

Wilder Duncan photographed in his parlor Brooklyn NY 2013 (David Neff)

 

Filed by Chelsea

Chelsea Miller makes hand wrought knives from reclaimed files and tools in her Bushwick Brooklyn workshop.

Chelsea Miller, I met her at a loft party five years back. We spent many eves biking Brooklyn & hacking the human grid with the gang at Pedal Power NYC. Last summer she began selling a line of knives she creates using repurposed files stockpiled in a top secret Vermont location. A couple times a year she hauls a suitcases of mill bastards, rasps, woodchucks and tapers down to her Buswick Brooklyn workshop and works her magic on them, turning them into hand wrought one of a kind original knives.
Chelsea Miller Knives (David Neff)
Chelsea Miller Knives, Bushwick Brooklyn
A few weeks ago I dropped in on Chelsea to see her new shop and a few of the knives before they rushed out the door. She began selling her blades at the Brooklyn Flea last summer. One day we visited her tent to see the collection and shoot the breeze. Maybe the flea wasn’t the spot to sell a knife that costs more than the table in the booth one over but great for marketing, picking up a nice page in Saveur.  Go Brooklyn magazine people!  She’s making knives faster than the cuts on her hands can heal. All are hand wrought by Chelsea one of a kind knives with riveted hardwood handles.  Check out her knives, get one with a matching cutting board. Do it while you can still say you got a Chelsea Miller Knife back when she made them all herself!  You can sometimes find Chelsea at the Brooklyn Flea, if you don’t recognize her from the photo, look for the girl selling knives wearing bandaids not nailpolish.

 

Chelsea Miller Knives is also found on Shopify