Vulture Culture 101 Update

Okay, folks! A quick update for you.

So I know I had projected this book being out Summer 2018. Unfortunately, what I didn’t anticipate was getting some contract work with a local conservation organization. It’s really fun work; I get to do everything from habitat restoration to environmental education, but it has also eaten up a lot of my time. And I’m still having to keep my artwork up as it’s still a big part of my income.

What this means is that (as I had to do with the Tarot of Bones) I’m going to have to push the release date back. At this point, I want to have Vulture Culture 101 in your hands by the end of the year; my autumn should be quieter (fingers, toes and eyes crossed) which should allow me to finish up the last details. It’ll also allow my guest essayists to polish up their tutorials. Yes, the book will be a reality; it’s just going to be a little later than I had optimistically anticipated.

I appreciate your patience and your ongoing support!

Photos and Essays!

So one of the sections of Vulture Culture 101 will include some photos of commonly encountered hides and bones (particularly from North America). This is to help readers with identification of items they may have on hand, but aren’t quite sure what they are. Obviously it’ll be impossible to take photos of every single species out there, but I’d at least like to help readers know the difference between a raccoon skull and an opossum skull!

We’re making good progress on the guest essay tutorials; I’m currently in another round of edits, and I’m really pleased with the writers’ work. We still have a bit of polishing to do, but overall things are looking great 🙂

Quick Update

Hi, all! Just a quick update to let you know where we are with things! Right now my guest essayists are working busily on tutorials for Vulture Culture 101, on topics ranging from bone cleaning to tanning to wet specimen prep. I’ve already gotten to see a couple of rough drafts, and I am super excited for the first round of formal edits later this month! These are some super Vultures, and I’m pleased to include them in my book.

Will post more news as it happens 🙂

THANK YOU!

Hi, folks!

HUGE thanks to everyone who backed the Vulture Culture 101 IndieGoGo Campaign! We ended up raising $4,602, which is 153% of the original goal. We managed to reach the first stretch goal of skull stickers, and though we didn’t make the second goal of animal skull flash cards, I’m still planning to release those independently later this year.

What’s next? I have a few finishing touches to put on the manuscript, and I’ve already selected essayists for the tutorials on tanning, bone cleaning and the like. Provided everyone can get their essay in on time, I should be on track for my Summer 2018 release of the book. In the meantime, I’ll be working on the extra perks for my IGG backers, book cover design, and other details.

And again, thanks to everyone who backed, shared and otherwise supported this campaign!

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!

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.

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.

 

Vulture Culture Myths and Misconceptions

I’ve run into the idea before that in order to be a true Vulture you have to process your own specimens. That means picking up roadkill, salvaging the hide if it’s fresh enough, and finding a way to clean the rotting meat off the bones. While these are certainly part of Vulture Culture, they’re not required for you to be a part of this community. It’s made of taxidermists and bone cleaners, artists and collectors, and people who simply enjoy the aesthetic beauty of hides, bones and more.

In Vulture Culture 101 I’ll be addressing some of the myths about Vultures, like whether we kill animals for hides and bones (no!) and whether you can be a vegetarian Vulture (yes!) What are some of the myths and facts you’d like to see discussed in my book?

Update Time!

Hi, folks!

I’m still plugging along on the manuscript for Vulture Culture 101. I’m well over 40,000 words now, and I’ve managed to incorporate a lot of suggestions you all have given me on what you’d like to see in the book. I still have some sections to add in, and I’ll be incorporating some photos as well so I need to work on planning those shots.

There WILL be an IndieGoGo campaign early in 2018! This will give you the opportunity to pre-order the book for less than its retail price, as well as getting some neat Vulture Culture-related perks. And, of course, it will help me fund the printing of the book, as well as paying for other incidental costs.

One of those costs will be paying guest essayists. Once the campaign is done I will be putting out a call for writers to create tutorials (photos included) of some basic processes like tanning and bone cleaning. Since these are not central to my work–I’m an artist working with already preserved specimens–I want to include techniques employed by people who do tanning, bone cleaning, etc. on a regular basis so that readers can learn how, too! I’m still figuring out what I want included and what to put in the call for writers, but look for that in the first part of 2018 as well.

I’m hoping, if all goes well, to have the book out in the world sometime in Summer of 2018. Again, this is going to be a self-published project, so while it means that I get primary creative control, I also am doing most of the work. By backing the IndieGoGo campaign once it’s live, you’ll be helping me bring this important resource into full manifestation.

By the way, if you want to get in on WIP excerpts off the manuscript-in-progress, be my patron on Patreon! For just $1/month you get access to my Patron only feed with lots of exclusive content. And there are plenty of other Patronage levels, too, all of which get you on that feed along with other great perks. You can join the fun at http://www.patreon.com/lupagreenwolf 🙂