Natalie started Australia’s first ever taxidermy workshops in 2014. She quickly recognised a need for greater access to the dying arts – ‘dying’ both in terms of skill sets no longer being taught in this country as well as a safe space to engage in dialogue on topics surrounding death.
Through the expansion and popularity of her curriculum it has become clear that the bookishness of modern science and the elitism of academia can often serve to isolate people or prevent access to this rich and rewarding knowledge-base.
Natalie’s unique education model has seen her and her team tour nationally and internationally. Together they have taught people from all walks of life from members of the general public with a curious mind right through to museum staff, teaching faculty, lecturers and academic students.
Gavin has been working in the university sector in Anatomical Sciences across both Human Medicine and, more recently, Veterinary Sciences. During his 15 plus years of working in the industry he has gained extensive experience in plastination techniques, museum preparation techniques as well as anatomical embalming and dissection. Gavin’s experience spans working on things large and small, from rats, cats and dogs through to humans and all the way up to horses.
Gavin is currently the Manager of Technical Operations in the Sydney School of Veterinary Science, Faculty of Science at the University of Sydney where he manages a team of 9 staff as well as managing the plastination lab and providing specialised anatomical technical support within the School.
Gavin is the President of the Australasian Institute of Anatomical Sciences www.aias.net.au and has become the most recent member of the RIP Team as the facilitator of the new Corrosion Casting workshop
Josh began his culinary journey as a Cheesemaker in 1999 under the tutelage of his uncle Richard Thomas, regarded as the pioneer of specialty cheese in Australia. This sparked his passion for all things fermentation. From sourdough to charcuterie, he ravenously devoured every piece of information he could on the subject. He now focusses on utilising traditional methods to create hospitable environments for beneficial bacteria to thrive.
Initially Josh came to work with the Rest In Pieces team in 2016 as a caterer for workshops and it quickly became evident that there was a synergy between fermentation and taxidermy, respectfully transforming the death of an animal into an art that lives on.
Since returning to the rolling hills of Rivendell, East Gippsland, in 2017 he has been creating memories instead of just food. His business La Matanza specialises in culinary experiences that celebrate the connection to the harvest and to the sacrifice. Recent collaborations have yielded such experiences as an homage to the forgotten parts of cattle in ‘Thine Divine Bovine’ and saving stale bread to produce the first Sourdough Saison with Blizzard Brewery.
Naturally, we have some rather elaborate things planned for our first collaboration with Josh and La Matanza in 2020, titled ‘Meet your Meat’. Definitely not to be missed!
After completing a Graduate Diploma in Fine Arts in Hobart, Melanie was so set on learning taxidermy she nearly flew to the US to find a teacher. Instead, at last minute, she found Rest in Pieces and flew to Melbourne instead. With that first class, her love of the dying arts blossomed along with her passion for preserving the beauty of all lifeforms in perpetuity.
Shortly thereafter Melanie moved to Melbourne and continued taking Rest in Pieces classes, building on her skill set by volunteering. She is now a permanent fixture at Rest in Pieces, joining the team as class assistant and photographer. In 2019, she travelled to Indonesia with Natalie to learn about the Torajan death culture and rituals from which, a project will be developed in 2020.
Kate discovered Rest in Pieces after attending the Rat Taxidermy workshop as a student. She was instantly drawn into the RIP community, embracing its culture of education and open dialogue around the dying arts.
Kate joined the RIP volunteer community to further expand her learning and interest in animal anatomy and the art of preservation. After volunteering her time and assisting at a variety of workshops, Kate joined the team in 2019 to assist in the dispatch of curiosities from our online cabinet, ensuring our customers receive their precious specimens safely and timely.