Some people spend their Sundays in church, others like to unwind with a good book, but in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, a small group of artists are rolling up their sleeves, grabbing scalpels and cutting open a mischief of mice to learn the craft of taxidermy.
Leading the course is Katie Innamoroto, 27, a woman whose curiosity and passion for wildlife led her to the study of preservation, natural history and inadvertently, a side job as a teacher. Innamoroto’s perfectionist nature and ethical practices have gained her tens of thousands of followers on social media and are shaping the emergence of a new wave of female taxidermists.
Outside of craftsmanship, Innamoroto also spends her time reading about legislation regarding the legality of collecting roadkill and carefully sources her animals by working with donations from her community, as well as former pet owners.
“Nothing is ever killed for it,” she says. “People give me their pets because they don’t want to burn or bury them.”
Innamoroto dove into the culture of preservation the day she witnessed a truck turn a baby fox into roadkill.
“I really wanted to preserve it so I tried skinning it,” she recalls. “I wasn’t sure if I was doing it right. After that, I found a guy who taught me the basics, that’s kind of when I was like — yeah, [this is] what I want to do.”
Since that day, she has been invested in perfecting her craft by teaching courses, attending conventions and submitting her work in competitions with hope that she will be able to open her own brick and mortar shop.