Mickey Alice Kwapis

taxidermy & craft

Credit: Alicia Brianne Photo, 2016

Credit: Alicia Brianne Photo, 2016

It's weird to write these things in the third person, so let's give first-person narration a shot. I'm a Midwestern taxidermist and craftsperson. Born and raised in Michigan, I took an interest in nature and biology from an early age. My obsession with animals coupled with a desire to hold onto tangible memories led to an unexpected intersection, discovered one night with a dead squirrel, a bottle of wine, and an old biology textbook. I have been working in the taxidermy industry since March of 2012 and I'm recognized internationally for my pop-up taxidermy workshops for beginners.

I practice sustainable taxidermy methods, am a member of the National Taxidermists Association, and have worked, volunteered, and taught at museums and universities all over the world. This year I won a third-place ribbon for my peacock (his name is Kevin) at the NTA National Championships. I have also served as a consultant to novelist Lauren Beukes for the award-winning book Broken Monsters. You can read a bunch of articles and watch a bunch of short documentaries about my work here. My lectures are primarily targeted towards those with an interest in biology, science, and natural history and focus on the role taxidermy plays in understanding the past, present, and future of our ecosystem. I reside in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago with three cats, a dog, two rats, and another human. Aside from taxidermy, I enjoy caring for living animals, practicing metalsmithing and jewelry fabrication, experimenting with baking, and am constantly on a search for the best gin cocktails the city has to offer. So far the Corpse Reviver II at the California Clipper takes the cake.

Want to know more? Read my FAQ. Interested in seeing photos of the taxidermy process? Follow along on Instagram.

Notable affiliations, past and present:

  • Action Potential Lab - Toronto, Ontario (guest educator)
  • American Natural Resources - Griffith, Indiana (guest taxidermist)
  • Audubon Zoo - New Orleans, Louisiana (guest educator)
  • Field Museum - Chicago, Illinois (volunteer trainee)
  • Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center - Seattle, Washington (guest educator)
  • Harvard Museum of Natural History - Cambridge, Massachusetts (guest educator)
  • Houston Museum of Natural Science - Houston, Texas (guest educator)
  • Museum of Contemporary Art - Cleveland, Ohio (guest educator)
  • Ojai Valley Taxidermy - Ojai, California (guest taxidermist and sometimes-social-media-lady)
  • Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum - Chicago, Illinois (volunteer trainee)
  • Portland State University - Portland, Oregon (guest educator)
  • University of Washington - Seattle, Washington (guest educator)