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
Sofiya Bouabdullah is an Embalmer and Mortuary Manager at Australia’s only secular not for profit funeral home. The funeral home has a vision of diminishing paupers funerals and bringing dignity and respect back to the deceased regardless of their background and financial capabilities, leaving families free to grieve.
With the anatomical knowledge, science background and strong stomach gained in the mortuary, Sofiya went on to join the Australasian College for Surgeons, bringing her new skill-set to their Skills Lab as a Lab Technician. There she facilitates courses and simulates surgeries using animal organs, cadavers and advanced medical equipment for Surgeons and Medical students.
Being an advocate for the dead and having a strong passion for the industry has made Sofiya aware of how much our society is disconnected from death and dying, particularly in comparison to other cultures who embrace it and physically house it in their homes.
There is a big need for conversation and education around the matter, so who better to join forces with other than RIP. We are excited to be launching a new talk on demonstration on ‘Death and Embalming’ in 2019.
Gerard Geer merges creativity with chemistry and anatomy in his artistic practice. His fascination with biological processes and all things anatomical is integral to his work.
In constructing his works he utilises a combination of naturalistic articulation of animal specimens and amalgamations of interspecific forms, to create fantastical hybrid creatures and intricate landscapes.
A keen autodidact, he is self-taught in all of the techniques he uses in creating his artworks.
On the rare occasions he is not working in his studio creating new pieces, he can be found teaching both beginner and intermediate Skeletal Articulation with the Rest in Pieces team.
Lucia began working with taxidermy after studying Fine Art at Monash University and combining all her favourite things into one. She has a love of collecting antiques and natural elements, and so creates art domes with insects, bones and relics as well as bespoke, macabre anthropomorphic taxidermy in cultural and historical costumes.
Her taxidermy skills are self-taught and are built upon her fine art skills while the costume element evolved from her own experience life modelling for photographers and artists and her love of fashion and history.
Her pieces are displayed around the world at museums and she keeps busy creating commissions for collectors the world over.
Lucia is currently in the process of developing the new RIP Intermediate Taxidermy Workshop on Fox Shoulder Mounts.
Although Jaime's background is in forensic psychology, she has found her true calling in the death-related arts. Fascinated by the intersection between science and art, Jaime came to RIP as a student and never left. She is now employed as a teaching assistant and handles some of the behind-the-scenes specimen preparation for classes.