Philadelphia’s premiere rogue taxidermist, Beth Beverly believes that taxidermy can be covetable fashion as well as art -- and she has the feathered, furred and boned accessories to prove it. “While other people come upon roadkill and see a dead animal, I see a hat.” Her extravagant hats have made Beverly a favorite at the millinery competitions held at equestrian events, and she has won awards at the Devon Ladies Day Hat Competition, Brandywine Polo Club and Radnor Hunt Club. Her work has been featured in such prominent publications as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Daily News. Her work has been exhibited in several art galleries, including La Luz de Jesus in Los Angeles, Art in the Age and Michael Vincent Gallery. In 2011, Beverly's regal taxidermy dog won "Best in Show" at the annual Carnivorous Nights show held by MART (Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermists).
Working with offbeat materials is nothing new for Beverly, who majored in jewelry design at the Tyler School of Art and has been making three-dimensional crafts since childhood. “As early as I can remember, I tried to incorporate natural fibers, like found shells or snake skins or even my own baby teeth, into things that I could make and also wear,” she says. "Everything either had to be glued to a barrette or turned into earrings or sewed onto a shirt."
Her first forays into taxidermy involved dead birds she found on the sidewalk, and initially the results weren't pretty. She kept at it, though, and in 2000 she made her first successful transformation of an animal: a butcher-counter pheasant that gave its wings, tail and other parts to three different hats. She never looked back, and her loyal clientele includes brides-to-be who come to her for special-occasion headwear. Roadkill remains Beverly’s preferred source material, and she long ago banished any self-consciousness about harvesting dead animals in public places. Still, she does her best to be discreet. “I don’t want to upset any little children or anything, so I try to make sure no one’s around.”
A stylish young woman who loves being photographed wearing her work, Beverly defies common stereotypes of taxidermists. She does traditional as well as rogue taxidermy and honed her technical skills at Bill Allen's Pocono Institute of Taxidermy. "I like to keep my hands in both pots,” she explains.