Mysterious is an artful rustic-chic style taxidermy alternative of a whitetail deer buck. He features an understated neutral palette with subtle intricate details that unfold with closer observation. Just as it’s name implies, Mysterious is never obvious or simplistic.
Inspired by a brown and gray agate slice encircled with gold metallic, grey Czech, and brown seed beads flow down and around its center, their movement splitting around the lovely agate centerpiece. Dark brown and smoky black are added to brown and gray patchwork areas, some more delicate than others adding depth and contrast defined by lines of gold. Natural blue labradorite with a chatoyant grey-blue flash outline the outer eyes and sides while natural jute encases his antlers. Two bronze diamond faceted beads at the back and fore enhance the central line of the design. Faceted barrel beads of natural Botswana Agate, running up and down the center are as important to the design as the central Agate slice itself. His sleek design and neutral colors are a perfect example of a rustic-chic taxidermy alternative.
Metaphysically these stones are thought to help with attentiveness to detail, consistency, perseverance, and stimulating exploration of the unknown. The colors, lines, curves and details of Mysterious provoke different images and thoughts for everyone. Are the metaphysical attributes of Agate real? This is a mystery for you to decide.
Continue reading below to see the making of Mysterious.
This whitetail buck required quite a bit of cleaning. He had obviously sat out in nature for some time before being taken in. Both nasal bones were fortunately still with him (barely) although they inevitably fell off during this process. The even light coloration of his antlers both impressed and mystified me. I haven’t seen that often, especially in a buck in his condition.
I initially considered leaving his upper nasal bones off, as I did with Ancient Warrior but that didn’t seem to suit this piece. During this part of the process I lovingly nick-named him “Topsy Tervy”. His skull was so light and antlers so heavy that he constantly tipped over without support. I fell in love with the shape of his antlers. But those antlers gave me quite a few “love taps” on the head! Along the way of the clay process he became more and more stable, especially after reintroducing the nasal bones.
I chose a very pale gray for this piece in order to keep with his neutral color scheme. I liked that the color was very close to the that of the natural skull tone. Staying with that theme, the jute used around his antler bases was also kept natural.
Bead Selection and Beading
Oops! I was so excited about this bead work layout and how well it came together that I forgot to take any pictures of the process! I was already to this stage when I finally remembered. But I do think it is a good example of the process underway.
At first, working with this skull and these beads I had thoughts of a dry riverbed or a rivers edge. But the central flowing line seemed like a path or was it a map? The night I finished beading him I showed my husband. He held him, turning him this way and then that to take everything in. Finally he said, “He looks so…mysterious.” I got goose bumps and my mouth fell open! Of course! Mysterious he is.
Blue Moon Shadow is a regal Whitetail beaded skull art mount. Sparkling tiny crystals and a dark blue metallic finish coat the hand-cut rough-face druzy agate centerpiece. Czech diamond-shaped bronze beads encompass the centerpiece’s rustic trim.
From there this Whitetail beaded skull art design transitions into a diamond shape that consists of bronze faceted, navy seed beads, blue Swaroski crystals, and Swaroski dark lapis pearls. In essence, Blue Moon Shadow mimics the dynamic night sky. As the pattern morphs from the center, its colors remain consistent, but with larger dark blue rainbow, sapphire rainbow, gold, and black smoke seed beads. Finally, hand-painted royal blue jute dress the base of his antlers.
With his deep hues, sparkles, and graceful form, Blue Moon Shadow conjures up many feelings, thoughts, and inspirations. What does the Blue Moon Shadow speak to you?
Continue reading below to see the making of Mysterious.
The Making of Blue Moon Shadow, a Whitetail Beaded Skull
This lovely skull came to me with his left nasal bone missing. I soaked and scrubbed as normal and then had to face this obstacle. Should I break off the right bone or take on the challenge of recreating the left? And then there was the odd coloration lines on his antlers. I’m guessing this skull was boiled rather than the more natural beetle process of cleaning though I can not say that for certain. Either way, both the nasal bone and antlers would be faced in other parts of the process.
I just could not bring myself to remove the right nasal bone and so took on the challenge of recreating the left. Being the first time I’d attempted such a reconstruction I was pleased with the outcome.
For some reason I felt very passionate about this skull. It was not the antlers that struck me but the skull itself. I had not even started to bead him and he was already my favorite so far in my skull art journey.
Painting the Antlers
Normally, if I’m going to paint the antlers I do it as part of the painting process. Sometimes I even wait until the beads are complete to have a better idea what shade works well with the design coloration. But I couldn’t get past the discoloration lines and decided to paint the antlers even before I’d chosen beads for him. A little out of order but I was never sorry about the decision.
I had originally intended to use the gray agate slice on this skull and this blue druzy agate on another. However neither would sit right on the skulls. So I tried switching them and…Voila!
Now that I knew he wished to be blue, I set out laying out the initial design. It became obvious early on that rather than having a larger area laid out, this design idea was one I just had to go for and allow to evolve.
To enhance this particular Whitetail beaded skull design, I painted him the same deep blue of the druzy agate centerpiece.
After cutting the jute for his antler bases I felt like the natural color would detract from the design. So I painted it deep blue as well.
I hadn’t even finished beading the center design when I knew his name. Blue Moon Shadow. He’s like a gentle night in the woods with the moon peaking between the tree limbs and stars twinkling in the dark sky. He surrounds you with blue-black shadows and pinprick sparkles. I love it when someone sees him in person and comments with amazement how some of the tiny beads sparkle and look like stars. Confirmation that the design conveys the right message and his name is very fitting.
Ancient Warrior is a whitetail deer beaded skull art piece. He features five teardrop red tiger eye stones. Gold rocaille, Czech bronze, diamond faceted, and copper seed beads all border these stones and form a central cross. Leather insets and an array of brown and black seed beads complete a rustic-chic design. Organic round wood beads adorn his antler bases. All of these components move together in striking unison to portray a primal fighting spirit.
Humans evolved from gatherer/hunter to defender/warrior while other species, like the deer, have stayed ever true as the “pure” warrior. He was born to defend his territory, breeding rights, and stand his ground against his own species and predators, two legged or four.
Ancient Warrior is not for sale as he remains part of the artists private beaded skull art and taxidermy collection.
Although this piece is not for sale, if you have your own skull, European, or shield mount, whatever the species, Leesa can craft it into a one-of-a-kind artwork centerpiece for you. Contact her at Leesa@UntamedElegance.net or 616.422.2342.