First Stretch Goal Met!

…aaaand we just hit the first stretch goal, so I’ll be getting those stickers made! THANK YOU! Everyone who has already made a pledge that includes physical items, like the book itself, will get a sticker added to their package at no extra cost. If you know someone who hasn’t pledged yet, or you got the ebook or other non-physical perk, you can make a second pledge to either get just the sticker, or the sticker and paperback book 🙂

Now let’s shoot for the $6,000 mark, where I release the animal skull identification flashcards!

IndieGoGo Campaign EXTENDED!

Hiya, folks!

So as it turns out, I am able to extend the Vulture Culture 101 IndieGoGo campaign once, up to an additional 15 days, so I chose to do just that! We are SO CLOSE to the first stretch goal at $4,000, the Vulture Culture skull sticker, and I want to see if we can unlock that second one at $6,000, the skull identification flashcards. Plus I had several people contact me and say “I wish this was going to last just a little longer, since I’m waiting for my paycheck/tax return/etc.!”

So now the campaign will end at 11:59pm on Saturday, April 7, 2018! If you haven’t had a chance to back the campaign at http://igg.me/at/vultureculture101, or you know someone who was worried they’d miss out, now’s the time to get that second chance. And many, many thanks to everyone who’s carried it this far <3

Call For Writers for Vulture Culture 101!

Hey, everyone! So in case you haven’t heard, I am writing a book about Vulture Culture, the “fandom” that’s sprung up around the appreciation of hides, bones and other dead things in recent years. The working title is Vulture Culture 101: A Book For People Who Like Dead Things, and I will be self-publishing it via CreateSpace; the projected date of publication is Summer 2018. Currently, the first draft of the book is done, and I am working on edits and revisions. There’s also an IndieGoGo campaign through March 23 at http://igg.me/at/vultureculture101 which has already met its initial goal and is working toward stretch goals.

While I have spent over twenty years making hide and bone art, I do not have extensive experience with tanning hides or cleaning bones or otherwise prepared raw specimens. However, no book on Vulture Culture would be complete without tutorials on some basic processes, which is why I’m seeking writers to contribute essays!

Each essayist will be compensated with $100 and 10 paperback copies of Vulture Culture 101 once it has been published. Thank you again to my IndieGoGo contributors for helping to make this happen!

I am seeking one essay each on the following topics:

  • Skinning a freshly dead or frozen and thawed animal and preparing the hide for tanning
  • Tanning a hair-on hide, starting with a raw hide (rabbit would be best as it’s a nice small hide that’s easy and inexpensive to acquire); while you may choose one method of tanning, such as alum, please briefly mention other tanning methods like egg tanning
  • Brain-tanning leather, starting with a hair-on hide (deer is most popular but I’m open to other easy to acquire suggestions like goat)
  • Cleaning bones through maceration, starting with a whole skinned carcass, though with a brief mention of dermestid beetles and nature cleaning as alternatives, and proceeding through degreasing and whitening
  • Wet specimens in jars, to include long-term care, how to change out old fluids, etc.
  • Very basic mouse or rat taxidermy, including how to prepare the hide, positioning, etc.
  • The basics of skeleton articulation; there’s not space to go through an entire skeletal articulation, but at least give people an idea of the tools and methods involved, and basic steps from skeleton acquisition to final display
  • Invertebrate specimen preparation (not just as wet specimens)

Essays should have the following qualities:

  • Between 1500 and 2000 words (you may be able to go over that a bit if you need the space)
  • Written in easy to read English and suitable for a general audience
  • Thoroughly explain the topic in a step-by-step manner; steps should be numbered
  • Be accompanied by at least 4-6 print-quality photos showing different steps of the process (if you have to show different animals at different stages of the process, such as for longer processes like maceration, that’s fine, so long as all pertinent stages are covered clearly)
  • Should not be previously published, either in print or online. If you’ve written similar essays that’s fine, just write a unique one for this project

I will have already covered topics like where to get hides and bones, and legalities concerning them, so you don’t need to go over them again. Stick to the how-tos of your topic. I will be doing some basic editing and proofreading, but you should be sending me final drafts by the due date.

Please apply by contacting me at lupa.greenwolf(at)gmail(dot)com; you will be asked to provide the following information:

  • Your name, general location, email address and phone number
  • A brief description of your experience in working with hides and/or bones and/or other dead things
  • Which topic you would like to write about and what makes you qualified to write about it (you can apply for more than one topic; however, only one topic will be assigned to one writer unless there is a serious lack of suitable writers)
  • At least three samples of your writing, published or not; Vulture Culture topics and how-to articles are extra-awesome, but send the best of whatever you have. Please also send a few sample photos showing your photography skills. You can send them as links and/or attachments.
  • If you are under the age of 18, proof of permission by a parent or legal guardian

The deadline to apply is March 28, 2018. Selections will be made by April 7, 2018 at which point acceptance letters and contracts will be sent out. Completed final essays have a FIRM due date of June 7, 2018, so please make sure before you apply that you can dedicate the time to finishing your essay on time. You can also send me drafts in progress before that point if you’d like feedback.

Thank you!

Why Vulture Culture 101 Isn’t Only For Beginners!

Despite the “101″ part of Vulture Culture 101: A Book For People Who Like Dead Things, there’s material in here that’s good for both beginner Vultures and those who have been around a while. Some of the things that may appeal to those who already have the basics down:

–A look at the various historical groups and movements that have fed into modern-day Vulture Culture

–A chance to consider your own ethical stance about dead things and why you’ve adopted it (and whether you need to adjust it!)

–Advice on the perennial problem of dealing with people who have negative reactions to Vulture Culture

–Ideas on how to make Vulture Culture more integrated with natural history, acceptance of death, rewilding, and other related concepts and movements

And even those of us who have been around for decades still get people asking us “So why do you have all these dead animals around?” Wouldn’t it be nice to have a good book you can point them to–and if you trust them with your library, perhaps loan them a copy?

By the way, we’re just shy of $1000 of the $3000 I’m asking for–and we’re only on Day 2! Head on over to http://igg.me/at/vultureculture101 to back this book today 🙂

The Vulture Culture 101 IndieGoGo Campaign is LIVE!

The Vulture Culture 101 IndieGoGo Campaign is officially live at http://igg.me/at/vultureculture101!

Want to help Vulture Culture 101: A Book For People Who Like Dead Things a reality, AND get your copy of the book at the lowest price ever? Want to get neat perks like my other books and art made from hides and bones? Want to help a self-employed author and artist create a valuable resource both for members of the Vulture Culture, and people who are just curious about what it’s all about?

Back the Vulture Culture 101 campaign today at http://igg.me/at/vultureculture101! We’re already well on our way, and early bird specials are going fast. Even if you can’t back the campaign right this moment, please send the campaign to anyone you feel may be interested, and thank you for your support 🙂

Coming Soon: The Vulture Culture 101 IndieGoGo Campaign!

I am excited to announce that the official IndieGoGo campaign for my next book, Vulture Culture 101: A Book For People Who Like Dead Things, will launch on February 6, 2018! More than a book on taxidermy or bone identification, Vulture Culture 101 is a guidebook to the subculture surrounding the preparation, collection and appreciation of hides, bones and other specimens. It’s suitable for both beginners and experienced Vultures and may even appeal to those who are just curious about us and our collections.

The full IndieGoGo campaign won’t be launched til the 6th, but you can get a taste of what will be included at the prelaunch page here. And you can sign up for an email reminder to be sent to you when the campaign officially starts!

As with my wildly successful IndieGoGo campaigns for The Tarot of Bones, this campaign will help me to fund attendant costs for the book, such as paying guest writers for how-to essays on topics like hide tanning and bone cleaning, as well as the cost of printing physical books and having them shipped to me. Anything left over after that will help me cover my bills and other expenses as I finish up the last bit of writing, editing, layout and other work that remains before projected publication in Summer 2018.

I will, of course, make an announcement when the campaign itself goes live, but for now check out the prelaunch page for a taste of what’s to come! And, as always, thank you for your ongoing support.

Vulture Culture 101 Status Update

In case you haven’t headed over to the official Vulture Culture 101 site in a while, here’s a look at the Table of Contents that I’m currently working with:

Introduction

Chapter 1: Roots and Revival: Historical and Modern-Day Vultures
Chapter 2: The Successful Scavenger: Where Do I Get My Goods?
Chapter 3: Identifying Hides, Bones and More
Chapter 4: Here’s Where It Gets Messy: Processing Raw Specimens
Chapter 5: Put Your Best (Rabbit’s) Foot Forward: Displaying and Caring For Your Collection
Chapter 6: Vultures and Our Neighbors
Chapter 7: Rewilding the Beast: Vulture Culture as a Return to Nature
Conclusion

Appendix I: Further Resources
Appendix II: Recommended Environmental Nonprofits

At this point my portion of the manuscript is most of the way done; I’ve been able to flesh it out a LOT with topic suggestions you all have made over the past few months. And as I’ve mentioned earlier in the year I will be doing a call for writers in spring of 2018 to write tutorials on basic things like bone cleaning, tanning, etc. to be included in the book. Money raised from the IndieGoGo campaign that I intend to launch early next year will go to paying said writers for their work. And I want to have the book out and available for general purchase next summer.

Want to keep up on news and updates? You can sign up for email updates (I send out a few a month, not a flood) by going to http://www.vultureculture101.com, scrolling down the left sidebar and putting your email address in the relevant box.

Really Good Article on Nature Lovers Who Hunt

The BBC website recently ran this article on an Alaskan woman who is a hunter and also a nature lover. It’s often assumed that if you are capable of killing an animal, even for food, that you obviously don’t love nature. And yes, there are hunters (and other people) who only see nature as being good for what it can give us, not good in its own right.

But there are those who hunt and fish who do appreciate the animals they catch for food, and who have respect for them. Indigenous people worldwide have had this complex relationship with nature for thousands of years; it is only in the increasingly industrialized world where we have become more separate from nature, and therefore we forget that there is more than one way to love it.

So it is with Vultures, who love nature and also collect the remains of deceased animals as part of an expression of that love. Cultures worldwide have cared for the remains of their human relatives who have passed on; many Vultures feel the same about the hides and bones in their homes.

Ideas For Vulture Culture 101 Crowdfunding Perks

Hi, folks!

I’m laying plans for the IndieGoGo campaign for Vulture Culture 101: A Book For People Who Like Dead Things. My plan is to kick it off early in 2018, possibly mid-January? I’ll keep you posted on that.

Aaaaaaaaaanyway, I was thinking about what sort of perks to offer, in addition to the book itself, of course. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

–A limited special edition of the book with full color images and perhaps some extra photos not in the regular black and white edition

–Perk packages with some of my other books and/or the Tarot of Bones; for example, a “Dead Things” package with Vulture Culture 101, The Tarot of Bones, and Skin Spirits: The Spiritual and Magical Use of Animal Parts

–Handmade hide and bone artwork. I offered deerskin pouches for the Tarot of Bones, and I could come up with options for this campaign as well

–A sticker of the wolf skull design that I’ll be using for the cover

Anything else you might like to see as a perk?

Vulture Culture Laws

You may have seen the Animal Parts Laws pages on my primary website, a collection of links to US federal, state, and international laws concerning the sale/trade and possession of various animal remains. In Vulture Culture 101, I’ll dedicate an entire chapter to legalities and ethics. This includes a detailed summary of some of the more prominent laws, like the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Obviously I can’t discuss every single law, since there are a LOT of them. But it covers a lot of bases, and it introduces the concept that we Vultures need to be responsible for knowing the laws that affect us, as well as anyone we may do trade with.

I am not a legal professional and this isn’t offered as legal advice, just a resource for you to better educate yourself. When in doubt, contact your state’s fish and game or natural resources departments.