MAKE A STATEMENT
The trend is to go big or go home. “We have sold a huge Texas longhorn, rhinoceros, cow skulls, whale bones—all of these things are made out of resin,” Taylor says. “It is interesting because, if you use it in moderation, then they have a sense of importance.”
When incorporating taxidermy into a home, Taylor takes two approaches: either make it stand out, or group similar things together in a room to tell a story. For example, he might use wildlife paintings, mounted horns and a zebra rug on the floor.
Frank McLean owns Wild Country Taxidermy, which has locations in Joplin and Springfield, and although white-tailed deer still reign supreme, he’s noticed an increase in clients who hunt bears in Canada and preserve the animals. Although most customers have a guide who knows how to skin the animal, it never hurts to call before the trip to talk to a taxidermist.
THE REAL THING
People who showcase real taxidermy often have multiple pieces, Gray says. Some create a family wall with mounts inherited from previous generations. “It is usually a nice mount of something that has been passed down in the family from Dad or Grandpa,” Gray says.
Items can be clustered together somewhat like a family photo wall. Gray stocks mostly real taxidermy, but supply is limited and “it’s getting harder and harder to find.” For homeowners who want a smaller piece, “fox heads are fun to do in the bedroom because they are not so big,” Gray says.
In terms of mounting, wood plaques are not popular anymore. McLean points out that most of the pieces they do are mannequins, with hardly any mounted on wood.
WHERE TO HANG IT
Most people hang taxidermy in a grand entrance, or over a fireplace in a family room or living room setting, Taylor says. “It tends to be a focal point,” Gray echoes.
Home offices, cabins and man caves are other popular spots to showcase taxidermy. Avoid the bathroom because of moisture, which can damage your taxidermy, Gray says. Taylor would not suggest hanging any in the dining room.
Aside from taxidermy, animal-inspired accents are popular. Taylor has hung turtle shells covered in gold leaf on a wall. “It was another way to give an architectural interest to a wall instead of art. The gold leaf was an accent that was elegant,” he says.
Another wildlife element people work into their home decor is birds. “We have a flight of birds on our wall that is porcelain, and another flight hand-carved out of wood,” Taylor says.
Horns and antlers are big and can be used a variety of ways. Horns are crafted into chandeliers or tiered lighting or simply mounted and hung on the wall. Horns can be incorporated into a gallery wall, or even transformed into holiday displays.
“We have used faux horns and real horns as a table scape, put candles in between them and then put greens in between for the holidays,” Taylor says.
Horn arrangements are popular in the winter. “If you like that sort of thing you can make a big wreath at Christmas,” Gray says.