Ali Bravo grew up in Squaw Valley (minus one year abroad in Ireland). Then it was off to UCLA to get a degree in English Literature (Shakespeare is a favorite). She came back to Tahoe for several years before deciding to cultivate a lifelong love of sewing and pursued costume design in San Francisco. After two years of absorbing as much as possible, she was ready for her next adventure, dipping her toes into welding for a bit before heeding the call of something she had been considering for some time: comical taxidermy. Two classes later, under the tutelage of Geoff Vassallo at Paxton Gate in San Francisco, she is hooked.
Bravo’s creations have accompanied her on her yearly pilgrimage to Burning Man, and she highly recommends driving with a taxidermic creature in the front seat of your car while going through drive-thru businesses if you need a good laugh. Her friends and family are on the constant lookout for lightly damaged roadkill for her next subjects.
Process: Any mostly intact animal can be prepared if frozen before rigor mortis has set in. Once thawed, you must perform “yoga” to loosen the limbs and ensure the final pose can be achieved. Depending on what that is, an incision is made where it will be easiest to hide. After carefully skinning the animal, sturdy wire is used to mimic the internal skeletal structure. Supplemented by a pre-made form, pillow stuffing, foam, or a combination of all three, the new innards are inserted. During this process, a powder to prevent decomposition is applied. Bravo’s sewing skills put her ahead of the game when it comes time to close the initial incision. Tape and other aids are used to hold the final pose while the specimen dries for several weeks, and then accessories and clothing are added — the goofier and weirder, the better.

 

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  • Moonshine Ink Staff

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