Rachel Poliquin, Lemon Tarts & a Gopher in the Mail

October 1, 2011 by morgan

Pocket gopher donated by Rachel Poliquin

What to do when your hero comes to town? First things first: bake brisée lemon curd and meringue tarts. When it comes to my academic endeavors into taxidermy, Rachel Poliquin is listed multiple times in all my bibliographies. Poliquin’s curatorial and academic writings on the subject of taxidermy have made her the foremost contemporary expert on the subject and my hero. I have been in contact with Rachel since I first learned of her through her blog, Ravishing Beasts, investigation into all things taxidermy.  After several years of periodic emails I was excited, nervous and thrilled to have tea with Rachel in the CZC. Who needs David Bowie when you can be spending a stormy August afternoon with Rachel Poliquin?

I recently received a parcel in the mail. It was a small box packed with styrofoam peanuts and a charmingly peculiar pocket gopher, whose cheek poaches had been oddly stuffed outward and look like foam peanuts themselves. Rachel sent the taxidermied gofer to me. He is the perfect visual display of how taxidermy is an artifact rather then a specimen and the mount illustrates the human interpretation of the natural, this time not so naturally rendered with the cheek pouches incorrectly pulled out and filled. Imagine if you pulled out the pockets from your jeans and stuffed them with socks from the inside. I am now on the hunt for a bell jar to protect and display this treasure, 8” base and 8” high.  If you know where I can find one that ships to Canada, let me know!

How many people can say they had tea with their hero and received a gopher in the mail as a thank you present?

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