Aimée Baldwin's Vegan Taxidermy

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In the thread on my post yesterday about Courtney Cerruti's "Animal Anomalies" paper sculptures, an anonymous commenter turned me on to the astounding "Vegan Taxidermy" of Berkeley-based sculptor Aimée Baldwin. She constructs these beauties from "hand-cut crepe paper feathers over individually-shaped foam and paper-mâché body, with wire legs, sculpted claws and beaks, and taxidermy glass eyes (the only pre-fabricated part of the birds)." From Baldwin's artist statement:
 Images Owls Raptors Burrowingowl-288X432 My concern for habitat conservation, environmental issues, and the effects of consumer culture on our relationship with the planet and with each other, has motivated me to distance my work from mass production of disposable merchandise. Instead I am focusing on individually sculpting unique pieces of art work which emphasize delicate highly-skilled craftsmanship and whose variety reflects the natural variation within the species it honors.

One of my goals is that my work encourage people to reflect upon our relationship with both nature and human made objects at the same time. Taxidermy represents a particularly strange commoditization of nature, with a complicated and varied history.

Vegan Taxidermy


  1. Though obviously not as nice as real living birds, these definitely took some effort and engage the eye as actual “stuffed” birds – with much detail

    I’m a little confused as to why Baldwin calls her art “Vegan Taxidermy” – I suppose it’s simply a creative name, but the word “vegan” conjures up thoughts of eating vegetables and grains instead of meat. I’d like to know why she picked the name

    1. Well, she probably doesn’t have to fear people assuming that she stuffs vegans…

      Anyway, yes, it’s not taxidermy, but sculptures.

      I always thought that taxidermy was about preserving the actual body of an animal for scientific and educational purposes and that „creative“ taxidermy like fencing frogs or jackeloppes, well, Kitsch.

    2. Vegan also implies an item that contains no animal-based ingredient (for example, vegan shoes, vegan cosmetics).

      1. So “Lacto/ovo-vegetarian shoes” would be pleather shoes containing eggs and milk, then?

        I know it’s a common usage of the term vegan these days, but it kinda irks me that the garment industries have hijacked a big slice of what was once useful culinary terminology. They should make up their own words instead.

        Miss Baldwin, on the other hand, is an artist and is therefore supposed to get creative with the definitions.

  2. Yeah, but if she had called it “vegan sculpture,” it would have been a case of unhelpful accuracy.

  3. Surely Vegan Taxidermy would mean the stuffing of vegetables, not sculpting animals from paper, foam and wire

  4. +1 for a humane interpretation of taxidermy.

    If we’re going to discard the idea because her animals are more sculpture than animal, did you know underneath the pelts of taxidermy animals is a metal, wire, and/or fiberglass sculpture in the shape of the animal. All they do is treat the pelt and use it to cover up the form underneath. Glue in some glass eyes and, voila, redneck art!

  5. I don’t feel that she was trying to make a statement by the name “Vegan Taxidermy” but if an animal is already dead, what is the harm in preserving it?

    As a vegan Id rather take a dead animal and preserve it than cut down trees and create the resources to make a paper mache one.

  6. Briar: I see two harms. First, many animals are killed solely to be stuffed. Second, stuffing a body often signals that the victim is morally inferior. A thing to be owned, displayed, used as a tool for others. Would you mind being stuffed after your death? Would it be morally acceptable to stuff the corpse of a severely mentally disabled human who when alive had no capacity to say yes/no to the idea of being stuffed?

  7. Vegan = no animal products.

    Taxidermy = making something dead look like it’s alive.

    Art = using materials to convey something immaterial.

    Pun = reaching beyond the initial meaning of words to reveal a secondary meaning.

    This work = beautiful.

  8. Nope, EeyoreX, the term Vegan wasn’t invented by anyone in the culinary arts. The term was invented in 1944 so that people could live “…free of animal products for the benefit of people, animals and the planet.”

    Veganism is an ethical stance — against the use of animals. It isn’t about diet, per-se. Eating animals is just one of the most conspicuous forms of consumption, but shoes, taxidermy, hunting, (even zoos) all fall under the scrutiny of ethical veganism because they harm animals without necessity.

  9. Vegan = of or pertaining to the star Alpha Lyrae (also known as 3Lyrae, BD38° 3238, HD 172167, SAO 067174, and HIC 91262, but most commonly called Vega.

  10. I’m so glad that Aimee has received this mention. We own several of her pieces and they are truly beautiful works of art.

    On top of that, she is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.

  11. Having seen the work first-hand, Vegan Taxidermy is incredibly accurate. From about 5 feet away, they look completely real and alive. I’ve never seen regular taxidermy come close the the lifelike nature of her work.

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