TIMBERVILLE — Taxidermy is not a profession for the faint of heart. But for Mark Poirot, it’s no different than any other type of art.
Owner of Mark’s Taxidermy in Timberville, Poirot has been bringing life back to a hunter’s prized possession since the 1990s and got his inspiration from dining at the Blue Stone Inn.
Much like his workshop appears in present day, the walls inside the Blue Stone Inn were decorated with mounted deer heads and, as a hunting and fishing lover, a new interest was sparked — taxidermy.
“Everything is a trophy,” he said. “Each one is a trophy, and each one I try to do the best mount I can.”
When Poirot got started with taxidermy, he spent all his earnings investing in education and buying pieces to enhance his trade.
The time spent on bettering his skills paid off and, in a few years time, Poirot was in state competitions and taking home a different kind of trophy that would take space in a glass cabinet instead of the wall.
On average, Poirot said, he is mounting a new piece every day, adding the past year has been “extremely busy.”
“I’ve worked every weekend except two since October,” he said.
Inside his dedicated work space, Poirot starts to listen to music before letting the magic happen.
There are multiple steps involved with each mount, starting with getting the taxidermy forms to match the animal’s anatomy structure to tanning the hides and finishing with mounting the hide on the form.
It takes roughly 10 to 12 hours for Poirot to complete one deer mount, but each step is done at different times.
For doing the line of work, Poirot said a taxidermist must be a jack-of-all-trades.
“You have to fix stuff on the fly,” he said. “Everything is its own project. Some go together good and some you have to fight.”
Poirot said he understands that some people may see taxidermy as something grotesque, but for him it’s no different than painting.
“The skin is fabric and the rest becomes material,” he said. “It's an artistic expression.”
Poirot said it is important that anyone interested in getting something done by a taxidermist take the time to choose the artist. Poirot recommended those interested take the time to look at a taxidermist's previous work before moving forward and allow them time to complete the project at their pace.