skin headdress


Finished up a white wolf headdress commission and had my partner model it for me. Danny was thrilled by how soft the pelt was, and wanted to keep it, buuut that wasn’t exactly in the cards (he already has his own wolf pelt headdress anyway!).

I also typically avoid doing blue eyes on wolves (because blue eyes are a dog-specific trait) but in this instance, the eyes were custom-made specifically for this project, and were more of a silver-blue than “husky blue”. 

Lastly, for those wondering: This wolf was provided to me by the customer to mount - I didn’t hunt it, and nor did my customer. The pelt was purchased secondhand, and was sent to me to be made into a headdress. 

Commissions for taxidermy work are currently closed, but will be open again once I’m established on my new property in the fall. 

in-somnis  asked:

Did you really make some stuff for Captain Fantastic or ...?

Heck yeah, I did. I provided quite a few of the furs, antlers, and bones utilized in the film’s set. But the biggest piece was my bobcat skin headdress, created for actress Shree Crooks, who played Zaja. Here are a few screen caps from the film showing off the bobcat. 

And here’s me wearing it before filming for the movie began: 

It was a fun project, and I’m happy to see my work “out there” on the silver screen. 

White people can wear headdresses too!

If you can’t discern that the title is to draw attention and are already angry, please continue reading before ranting.

Not all people who look “white” should be assumed to be “white”/Western European.

i.e. culture = ethnicity but ethnicity ≠ race

Before you make assumptions, please read… (and excuse my english)

I have white skin, fair hair, and blue eyes. You see me wearing a “hamsa hand" necklace. Would you say it was cultural appropriation?

Would you accuse me of stealing a culture and appropriating it as a meaningless, privileged fashion statement?

What if I told you that I’m 100% ethnic Albanian (please Google it because just like I am 100% Albanian, I am also 100% percent sure you have no idea what Albania is).

My people have been massacred, subjected to regimes, conquests, and little respect throughout history. I’m sick of people assuming that just because I am white that I have can have no valid culture and am not “ethnic”. Maybe in America people may view me as just white, but what they don’t understand is that in places that don’t have a mere 300 year history, ethnicity and culture can be determined by more than the colors white and black. Often times (tragically) people are persecuted and divided for far more minute and pointless details than race.

One too many times on my blog I have received flat out hate mail over pictures of me at events and at home wearing traditionally patterned dresses, shirts, and headdresses. People say they are a lame attempt at trying to seem like I have a culture. So many assumptions are made on skin color.

Newsflash, “white” people are not all one ethnicity. White people can celebrate a valid culture without it just being an attempt to distance themselves from the stereotypes of being a racist, privileged, cultureless white person.

Before you get even angrier…

YES I understand that people with murky “English-Scottish-German-One-Sixteenth-Cherokee” backgrounds say this, and when they appropriate black, Indian, First Nation cultures etc, it is completely wrong and stealing something that in no way belongs to them. I have no right to wear a bindi. But people also have become so defensive of cultures that they are quick to accuse white people (who can have diverse cultural backgrounds) of appropriating cultures.

We associate culture with ethnicity and ethnicity with race, when in fact ethnicity and race are very different things in many parts of the world. Just because I am white doesn’t make it outlandish that I might have a rich cultural background, and just because I am white doesn’t make my culture any less valid from those that are in the limelight so often.

They must all be equally celebrated and protected.

Shock… people with white skin can have appealing headdresses too? (Fabric and metal wrapped around your head is not rocket science).

^ Albanian bridal headdress

Long story short:

  1. White people can have valid cultures
  2. Don’t make assumptions about culture based on race
  3. A place called Albania exists

If you don’t take away any of the main point of this post, at least learn what Albania is: a country diverse in its people and history, a part of the Ottoman Empire for centuries with a major Islamic influence, hence a tradition of syri i keq aka the “evil eye”, which a hamsah emblem is supposed to defend against.

Now let the hate and misinterpretation begin.


Mod edit - Tumblr ate the spacing,so that had to be fixed. Excellent English, so no other changes!

Ekoi Zoomorphic Crest Mask
Origin: Eastern Nigeria
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 14.5" (36.8cm) high x 10" (25.4cm)wide x 26.375" (67.0cm) depth
Collection: African
Style: Ekoi
Medium: Wood, Skin, Horns

The Cross River region of southeastern Nigeria spreading into Cameroon abounds in cultures that, though diverse, are unified by certain shared traditions that give rise to the creation of similar objects. The most important of these objects are the crest masks covered with animal hide. Apparently of Ekoi (also called “Ejagham”) origin, these mask have been borrowed by many neighboring tribes, including the Igbo and Ibibio to the west, the Boki to the north, and the Keaka, Annang, and Widekum to the east. Skin-covered headdress were used for a number of purposes in certain secret societies. Among the Boki, three distinct societies have been recorded: the warriors’ society, the hunters’ society, and the women’s society. Masquerade performances generally took place at the initiation or funerals of members of the association that owned them , and also at periodic rites connected with agriculture.

The techniques used in the production of skin-covered masks are more complex than those of most other African mask. The subtractive process of carving is followed by an additive one involving not only the attachment of the skin to the wooden surface, but also inserts of metal or can to represent teeth and eyes. Although there are authenticated cases of human skin being used to cover such masks, the use of painstakingly de-haired and softened antelope skin is much more frequent. The bottom of the masks are typically attached to a wickerwork base designed to fit over the head of a normal-sized human. A textile costume, reaching down to the ankles, was fitted to the underside of the wickerwork base in order to cover the masquerader’s head and face and conceal his identity. Through such ceremonial dances, the tribe sought to communicate and mollify the natural forces that preside over human destinies.

This imposing crest mask attributed to the Ekoi tribe depicts the head of a zoomorphic creature with the elongated mouth of a crocodile and the horns of an antelope. In this case, the horns are indeed actual animal horns that have been secured to the back of the mask. The whole of the head (not including the protruding horns) has been covered in stretched animal hide, perhaps even the hide of the same antelope that provided the horns for this mask. Thin metal strips have been inserted into the top and bottom halves of partially ajar mouth to serve as teeth, further enhancing the intimidating nature of this mask. Such a mask would have been kept by a secret society, likely the hunters’ association. This mask was likely danced during ritual ceremonies relating to this association. Between performances, it was probably carefully wrapped in bark cloth or matting and stored in the rafters near a continually smoldering hearth.


Pack West Wolfdog Rescue is a go! We won’t be official until the IRS gets back to us with proper documents and whatnot (this will take about 2 - 6 months), but I’ve secured funding from a friend (and fellow festival magic-maker) to get the gears turning. 

It only took selling Zenobia, my personal African lioness skin headdress, and I am surprisingly okay with that. The arrangement actually couldn’t be better: She goes to an amazing new home with a person who I know will love and cherish her (and who will probably wear her to a few of the festivals I vend at next summer, so we can be reunited on special occasions!), my friend gets to obtain a taxidermy piece he feels a deep connection to, and the Pacific Northwest gets a new wolfdog rescue! 

I will post more details about the group’s mission statement soon. 


Very Rare Ancient Greek Countermarked Coin

This tetradrachm is from the ancient city of Sinope, Paphlagonia and was struck circa 330-300 BC. The obverse shows the head of the city-goddess Sinope facing right, wearing a turreted crown, at the back of her head is a countermark of a helmeted head of Athena facing right. The reverse has the inscription ΣINΩΠEΩN – A/M/H with Apollo seated on an omphalos, holding his lyre with his left hand and a plektron with his right; on the omphalos is the reverse of the countermark showing a head of the young Herakles facing  right, wearing a lion’s skin headdress.  The tetradrachms of Sinope were not issued in great numbers and are very rare indeed.

A coin that has been stamped or marked with a design after it was originally struck is termed ‘countermarked’. Countermarks were sometimes applied to certify a coinage for circulation in an area, to revalue an issue or to guarantee that the coin had been tested for proper silver content. The mark could also have been applied to show the coin had been accepted as a gift to the god.

Extremely Rare Coin Issued By One Of Alexander The Great’s Best Friends

Worth $164,683; one of only 4 known examples.

This gold stater was struck in Alexandria under Ptolemy I Soter while he was still satrap of Egypt, sometime between 313 and 311 BC.  On the obverse, the coin shows the diademed head of Alexander III (The Great) wearing an elephant’s scalp headdress, an aegis and the horn of Ammon over his ear. The reverse shows the  prow of galley adorned with one large and one small protective eye.

Ptolemy I Soter (c. 367-283 BC) was a Macedonian general under Alexander the Great, who became ruler of Egypt (323–283 BC) and founder of the Ptolemaic Kingdom and dynasty. In 305/4 BC he demanded the title of pharaoh. Before Alexander’s death in 323 BC, Ptolemy was one of Alexander’s most trusted generals, and was among the seven somatophylakes (bodyguards) attached to his person. He was a few years older than Alexander, and had been his intimate friend since childhood.

This is one of the greatest rarities of Ptolemaic coinage, and it celebrates the Ptolemy I’s use of Alexander’s figure as a badge of legitimacy. As is well known, Ptolemy arranged to capture Alexander’s body in 322 BC, when it was in Syria on the way to Macedonia. It was soon placed in a great tomb in Alexandria where it remained until at least the 3rd century AD (though there are reports of it having been seen in the 9th and 10th centuries). This coin bears the typically Ptolemaic portrait of Alexander (with the elephant’s skin headdress) and a prow, which probably commemorates some initial Ptolemaic victories in Cyprus. The portrait itself is remarkably evocative with the visage of a human who was also considered divine.


Nearly mint state tetradrachm of Alexander III the Great, minted in Pella, Macedon c. 323-315 BC

This coin shows the head of Herakles right, wearing lion’s skin headress. On the reverse  AΛEΞANΔPOY inscription with Zeus seated left, holding eagle and scepter; in left field, bee atop a rose.

The ruins of Pella are located in the current Pella regional unit of Central Macedonia in Greece. The city was founded in 399 BC by King Archelaus (413–399 BC) as the capital of his kingdom, replacing the older palace-city of Aigai. After this, it was the seat of the king Philip II and of Alexander III (the Great), his son. In 168 BC, it was sacked by the Romans, and its treasury transported to Rome. Later, the city was destroyed by an earthquake and eventually was rebuilt over its ruins. By 180 AD, Lucian could describe it in passing as “now insignificant, with very few inhabitants.”

Pella is first mentioned by Herodotus of Halicarnassus (VII, 123) in relation to Xerxes’ campaign and by Thucydides (II, 99,4 and 100,4) in relation to Macedonian expansion and the war against Sitalces, the king of the Thracians. According to Xenophon, in the beginning of the 4th century BC, it was the largest Macedonian city. It attracted Greek artists such the painter Zeuxis, the poet Timotheus of Miletus and the tragic author Euripides who finished his days there writing and producing Archelaus.

More about Pella…

More about the Tetradrachms of Alexander the Great…