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October 8, 2023 - October 15, 2023

The Art and Science of Taxidermy - Mammals

The Art and Science of Taxidermy - Mammals

4425€ – 4855€
Workshop Dates:
October 8, 2023 - October 15, 2023
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About the Workshop

This intensive workshop will be a hands-on immersion into the art and science of taxidermy for conservation and public education. Students will create taxidermy Mammals with techniques used in museums, utilizing custom forms and advanced methods for accuracy of any specimen they may work on in the future.

Students will learn to skin animals, prepare skins, read reference materials, create custom forms/armatures, pose animals, assemble specimens, groom and finish the pieces for realism. We will also be teaching advanced techniques such as creating death-masks and molding & casting head forms in order to make both 3D reference and provide an incredibly accurate facial structure.

Our goal is that students leave with both finished work and the ability to practice the craft of taxidermy themselves.

The nature of Mammal taxidermy is far different from that of birds. Students will find this course to be more sculpting-centered with a large attention to muscle detail. This class is recommended for both beginners and those with taxidermy experience looking for a way to learn mammal taxidermy and the art of creating custom-made mammal mounts utilizing museum techniques.

In this class, we will be focusing on the taxidermy of two common North American mammals, the Grey Fox and the Striped Skunk. These were collected in the United States as part of abatement / pest control; their deaths are not exclusively for this course. While these specimens are native to the US, we have taken great care to make sure our materials are all commonly available in Europe and around the world. For instance, we will be learning the very custom technique of wrapping the bodies of the animals instead of ordering commercial forms which may not be available outside of the US, and are not nearly as accurate as creating a form for your specific specimen. This technique is used often for more exotic museum specimens due to the lack of commercial forms for them and the ability to create a more accurate form when custom-made.

We will begin with a discussion of each animal’s anatomy, how to obtain legal specimens and general techniques for working on mammals. Students will start with tanned specimens (due to the process of tanning which requires weeks) but will be given a tutorial and documents on skinning and tanning.

In class, students will learn the skills of: measuring and wrapping forms, posing the forms for behavior and anatomical accuracy, custom-carving heads, Earliner-creation, skin fitting, creating/setting paws, sewing, facial details, and grooming/finishing work. We will also perform a demonstration on how to mold & cast for the creation death masks in order to create incredibly accurate headforms. All supplies, tools and specimens will be provided for your class. By the end of the class, students will take home their own Grey Fox or Skunk on a base. After the course ends, every student will receive a list of documents, including a list of steps, supplies, tools, formula for tanning, and video resources all to assist in gaining the knowledge to start their own projects at home.

The ICArts team will also assist students with the logistics of getting their final pieces home safely.

About the Instructor

Included Amenities

Click on the links below for detailed information about our included amenities.
View Amenities Page »
  • Airport transfer from and to the Leonardo da Vinci Rome/Fiumicino Airport (FCO) aboard our private bus (on scheduled dates only). Bus departs the airport promptly at 12PM.
  • Airport welcome service and assistance with baggage
  • 24/7 bi-lingual support with manager on site at all times
  • All ground transport aboard private buses or our ICA van, unless otherwise specified. Licensed and insured professional driver and ICA guide accompany all excursions. Orientation at each destination is provided as is departure coordination (guide service is available upon request — unless specified — for an additional fee)
  • Complimentary bottle of local wine provided in rooms on arrival day and complimentary locally made soap
  • Village orientation and complimentary drinks provided on arrival day
  • Private access to our 5-storey tower at our Palazzo Persiane (on sign-up basis) for spectacular morning and evening views
  • Access to our art materials shop (during posted hours)
  • Thorough orientation lecture and maps provided the evening before departure
  • Return transport to the Rome/Fiumicino Airport (departs 5:30AM) with rest stop
  • Departure service/airport assistance at airport
  • Unless otherwise specified, single occupancy accommodation is provided in rooms with a view of the Tiber Valley that includes sink and vanity. Rooms are with shared bath on each level (3 rooms per bath) in our 14th century convent building, The Asilo. Apartments, rooms with private bath and AC, double rooms, group or villa accommodations are available for couples, business associates/ friends, or groups for an additional fee
  • Linens and towels provided
  • Weekly housekeeping service with change of towels and linens
  • Free washing machine access
  • Good Wi-Fi connection and access to our library and film collection
  • 3 chef-catered, gourmet meals per day (buffet breakfast, 3-course lunch, 4-course dinner) — with wine at lunch and dinner (table wine provided at lunch and dinner. An excellent wine list is offered at additional cost), while in Monte Castello
  • Group dining service is as follows, with breakfast and lunch served in our dining room, etc, with dinner (weather permitting) served on our private terrace overlooking the Tiber Valley
  • Lunch and dinner are plated as follows: pasta course, main course, vegetable, fruit/salad, dessert
  • When requested at registration, vegetarian, vegan, and special dietary options are provided
  • After dinner drinks on our terrace overlooking the Tiber valley
  • Dining service is as follows: Breakfast: 8:00 AM; Lunch: 1:00PM; Dinner: 8:00 PM. No meals are served on Fridays (excursion day) unless otherwise specified
  • On Saturday and Sunday, a full buffet brunch with fresh pastry and Prosecco is served at 11:00 AM
  • On Saturday, homemade, wood-fired pizza is served at 7:00 PM (except on departure days, when a special farewell dinner is served)
  • Sunday dinner with antipasti is served at 7:00 PM
  • Farewell dinner on the evening prior to departure
  • 24/7 access to our primary building and library is provided, including access to workspaces, studios, and ceramics facility
  • Special access to certain cultural and art collections is available upon request
  • FOR VISUAL ARTISTS: private, or semi-private secure and monitored studio space is provided (24/7 access)
  • FOR WRITERS: private workspace is provided (24/7 access)
  • FOR GROUPS: Group workspace is provided (24/7 access)
  • FOR CERAMIC ARTISTS: 24/7 access to our ceramics facility
  • Free access to lectures and events at the Teatro Concordia
  • An end of the session exhibition with reception that includes hors d'oeuvres and Prosecco in our gallery. Posters are prepared to promote the event with copies provided to all participants
  • 1 excursion per week is included (unless otherwise specified in the itinerary) aboard our private bus. Additional trips can of course be scheduled and given our central location. (Day trips are possible to as far north as Siena or Florence and as far south as Rome.)
  • Advanced reservations and ticket purchases for groups and individuals
  • Concierge services provided upon request at an hourly rate
  • Restaurant reservations (provided under Concierge services)
  • Car rental
  • Critique series with visiting visual artists
  • Artist materials workshops
  • Drawing and painting sessions from the figure
  • Cooking classes
  • Cheesemaking workshop
  • Pizza-making workshop
  • Kids cooking classes
  • Wine appreciation and Sommelier Courses
  • Wine and olive oil tastings
  • Vineyard tours
  • Truffle hunting
  • Ballroom dance classes
  • Weekend excursions to flea markets and natural sites
  • Shopping excursions to cashmere and leather outlets, to Deruta famous for fine painted traditional ceramics, and antique stores
  • Overnight excursions to the sea and day-trips to Rome beaches
  • Hot air balloon tours
  • Hot springs excursions
  • Lake Trasimeno tours
  • Umbria abandoned castle and fortress tour
  • Sustainable farming tour 
  • Babysitting services
  • Soccer, archery, and horseback riding camps for kids
  • Motorized mountain bike rentals
  • Electric car rental 
  • Golf-cart tours of Rome and Florence
  • Hiking/naturalist guides to national/regional parks - mountain hiking available
  • Fishing/Hunting Excursions

Payment Options

  • Payment in full (€500 non-refundable deposit is included. No refunds will be issued within 60 days prior to the start of the workshop. See refund policy for more details).
  • Non-refundable €500 deposit (Balance due must be paid a minimum of 30 days prior to workshop).
  • Balance payment (after €500 deposit).

Required Forms

All ICA participants; whether coming independently, with a group or through a college / university, must provide the following completed forms and information to at least 2 weeks prior to attending their program. 
Emergency Contact & Medical Information »Liability Waiver »
Proof of Insurance / Travel Insurance
Itinerary and Passport
For detailed information and to download the required forms, please visit our Guides and Forms page.


Day 1, Sunday, October 8

  • Arrive Rome/Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport (FCO)
  • 12:00 PM: Bus Departs FCO
  • Arrival at Monte Castello di Vibio
  • 2:30 PM: Lunch/Orientation/Rest/ Tour of village
  • Dinner

Day 2: Monday, October 9

  • 8:30 – 9:30 Breakfast
  • 9:30 – 1:00 Morning Session
  • 1:00 – 2:00 Lunch
  • 2:00 – 6:30 Afternoon Session
  • 6:30 – 8:00 Free time or independent work
  • 8:00 – 9:00 Dinner
  • 9:00 – 10:30 Optional time for presentations, films, lectures, etc.

Day 3: Tuesday, October 10

  • 8:30 – 9:30 Breakfast
  • 9:30 – 1:00 Morning Session
  • 1:00 – 2:00 Lunch
  • 2:00 – 6:30 Afternoon Session
  • 6:30 – 8:00 Free time or independent work
  • 8:00 – 9:00 Dinner
  • 9:00 – 10:30 Optional time for presentations, films, lectures, etc.

Day 4: Wednesday, October 11

  • 8:30 – 9:30 Breakfast
  • 9:30 – 1:00 Morning Session
  • 1:00 – 2:00 Lunch
  • 2:00 – 6:30 Afternoon Session
  • 6:30 – 8:00 Free time or independent work
  • 8:00 – 9:00 Dinner
  • 9:00 – 10:30 Optional time for presentations, films, lectures, etc.

Day 5: Thursday, October 12

  • 8:30 – 9:30 Breakfast
  • 9:30 – 1:00 Morning Session
  • 1:00 – 2:00 Lunch
  • 2:00 – 6:30 Afternoon Session
  • 6:30 – 8:00 Free time or independent work
  • 8:00 – 9:00 Dinner
  • 9:00 – 10:30 Optional time for presentations, films, lectures, etc.

Day 6: Friday, October 13

  • Excursion: Rome

Day 7: Saturday, October 14

  • Morning: free or independent work
  • 11:00 AM Brunch
  • Afternoon: free or independent work

Day 8: Sunday, October, 15

Departure day

  • 5:30 AM: Bus departs Monte Castello for Rome/Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport (FCO)
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