Updated: Aug 3, 2022
2020 George Alexander Foundation Fellow, Natalie Delany-John has truly shown the power of a Fellowship experience despite having international travel remain at a halt. She has taken this opportunity to expand her knowledge, generate meaningful connections and grow her business.
Natalie owns Rest in Pieces, which teaches dying arts such as taxidermy, skeletal articulation, insect preservation and corrosion casting. In addition to this, her Fellowship inspired her to develop ‘dying to know’, an online live demonstration series that was developed to reach a broader national and international audience at a low price.
“The mentoring in the Fellowship meetings has assisted me in biting the bullet to launch the 'Dying to know' live series and also the Facebook group which provides additional platforms to disseminate information and skills learned,” Natalie said.
After the closure of the taxidermy display at the Melbourne Museum, Natalie aspires to open an independent museum in 2022. The museum will showcase the preservation of native Australian species, provide education on our native fauna and the damage caused by introduced species.
“We want this to be an interactive space for learning and creating without the formalities and red tape of traditional museums. The Fellowship will allow me access to professionals in the museum space internationally to learn the skills needed to bring this project to fruition,” she said. When Natalie met Aaron Smith, who is a heritage locksmith and previous Fellow, she was immediately interested in the opportunity in becoming an ISSI Fellow.
“As someone who has never received funding due to our profession falling through the cracks, I couldn't believe that the George Alexander Fellowship existed and that I might be able to be the recipient of such tremendous financial and mentoring support,” she said.
“My Fellowship will grant me the opportunity to spend upwards of six weeks in the United States training under several World Champion Taxidermists. The training will be focused on skills that relate directly to the preservation of Australia’s unique wildlife.”
“It has also meant that I have had more time to listen to what my Fellowship peers are doing and receive mentoring from the ISS institute”.
Natalie expressed her gratitude for her Fellowship opportunity and the support the ISS Institute have given her, and that despite the standstill of international travel, it has meant that she has had additional time to consider the needs of her business.
The George Alexander Foundation offers 6x Fellowships talented individuals between the ages of 18 - 35 years of age every year. A GAF Fellowship supports rare, heritage trades, conservation, preservation, innovation and education. If you're working in a specialised trade and would like to receive further experience, please drop us a line to see if we can assist you today.