Taxidermy is my job and I really enjoy doing it, especially when I show a client my finished product and I get to see the look of amazement on their face. However, taxidermy is not my only passion in life – I am a huge cricket fan. My dad took me to a game when I was seven and I have been hooked ever since. As you can see from this piece, I have even incorporated cricket into my work.
The Story Behind the Idea
I was walking my two dogs in the countryside one day when they suddenly went ballistic and ran off into the woods. My dogs absolutely love chasing squirrels, but I wasn’t too concerned because they had never managed to catch a single one (and I had lost count of how many times they had tried).
However, to my dismay, both my dogs returned to me five minutes later with two dead squirrels. Now, most other people probably would have scolded their dogs (which I did), take the dead animals off them, and throw them into the bushes for the birds and the rats to do with them what they please.
But, as you know, I am a taxidermist, so I thought that it would be a huge waste of two cute creatures if I just did exactly that. Therefore, I put them in a bag and took them home with me. When I got home, I put them in the freezer until I could figure out what to do with them.
A couple of days later, I was watching England playing cricket against the West Indies on the television when a squirrel ran onto the pitch and interrupted play. It even ran right up to the batsman just as the bowler was about to bowl his delivery. I started chuckling to myself as I sat there imaging squirrels playing cricket, which is when I remembered that I had two dead squirrels in the freezer.
I had never stuffed animals playing a sport before, so I thought I would give it a shot to see how it worked out. At the very least, whatever the outcome, it would be a good conversation starter whenever any guests are visiting.
I set to work the following day, and a week later the work was finished. As you can see, for an added bit of humor (or maybe it is just funny to me) I used a chestnut as the ball.
What Have People Said about This Work?
I created this piece just to be a conversation starter, and that is exactly what it has become. Whenever someone comes into my house for the first time, the first thing that they ask about is the squirrels playing cricket. The majority of people, after I have told them the story about how the work came into being, find it funny and think it was a great idea, but there are some who find it quite weird, and I do understand where they are coming from. Some people have liked it so much that they have even tried to buy it off me (for decent sums of money as well), but I have come to like it so much that I don’t think I will ever sell it.
I never created the work expecting to get positive reviews from everyone that saw it, so I don’t mind at all. In fact, I love to hear all types of feedback about my work. What are your own personal views about this piece of work? I would be very interested to find out!