No Parking on Pike
One of the most prized possessions in my personal (small but mighty) taxidermy collection is a duckling dressed as a cowboy which I have affectionately dubbed Duc Holliday. Duc is from the Etsy shop No Parking on Pike, which has a variety of kitsch ducklings to suit every taste. If you’re less yeehaw and more punk, there are ducklings with mohawks in nearly every color. If you’re into photography, there’s a miniature hipster duck photographer with a knit hat. If you need some magic in your life, a magician duckling will do the trick. If dressed-up ducklings aren’t your thing (what kind of person are you?), they have more traditional creepy fare like hanging bats and bugs in bell jars.
But personally, I’m sticking to the ducklings. The detailed costumes are the work of Linda Hutchinson. Although she’s not directly involved in the actual taxidermy process, she’s well-versed in outfitting dead creatures in aesthetically pleasing outfits which is a perspective I thought deserved to be included in this zine.
What's your process for designing the costumes for the taxidermy creations?
First I have to get inspired! Once I've got my heart set on a character, often I'll go through several different versions before I land on one that satisfies me. It seems silly, but I'm very fussy about my duckling costumes. Quality control is very important, but so is the ability to reproduce quickly. I'm a one woman show and make everything myself, package and ship everything, I do it all, so I really have to consider production time in each design. I usually have a mini assembly line on my dining table - where I make several of one costume piece at a time, store them, and then as they are ordered, I put all the pieces together. My family hasn't eaten at the dining table in ages. I desperately need a workshop!
Do you have a favorite costume that you've done?
When Ruth Bader Ginsburg died I wanted to make a duckling in her honor. I just made one and never sold them, but she's my favorite duckling and actually the only one I have on display in my personal collection.
Which costume was the most difficult to put together?
I've struggled getting Princess Leia perfect, so I've kind of given up. Those little round cinnamon buns are a nightmare! But I may revisit that one.
How do you come up with ideas for costumes?
I love pop culture, so I love trying to create a duckling version of popular characters. I used to make a John Snow duckling when Game of Thrones was popular. I make an adorable vampire around Halloween, and Harry Potter is always popular.
I know your dressed up ducklings are quite popular. But I was wondering which style sells the best?
My punk ducklings have always been my best seller. I offer a bunch of different mohawk colors and I think people love to pick out their favorite hair color. Cowboys are a close runner-up.
Why did you decide to start your shop?
My husband and I had a little vintage shop for 12 years here in Seattle. I like making stuff - it eases my anxieties, so I started putting my creations in our shop and they sold quite well. More and more the shop started becoming half vintage and half handmade stuff. When COVID hit hard, my husband was going through cancer treatment and so we closed the shop. I was suddenly the sole bread-winner with a shuttered business while the whole city shut down so I kinda had to think fast & evolve to an online business model. I started putting some of the hand-made things I'd sold in my shop on Etsy and advertised and it took off better than expected and ultimately even better than our tiny vintage shop ever did.
Do you have a taxidermy collection of your own? What pieces are in it?
My husband and I are collectors of all kinds of weird things including many taxidermy pieces including a couple of goats, a dik dik, an owl, a bear head, a bobcat, a hyena, a pomeranian, and many other little critters. My favorite piece is a little taxidermy alien head mount.
What's one of the best experiences you've had with a customer?
Although I'm an introvert, I loved the wonderful connections to people I made when I had the brick & mortar and miss it greatly. I do love getting feedback in the reviews people post on Etsy - they are wonderful and so appreciated!
Do you have any new costumes/looks for the taxidermy animals that you're excited to debut?
I'm working on a Wednesday Duckling right now. I just finished watching the new series and loved it so much - I need a Wednesday!
What's the most difficult part of costuming a taxidermy animal?
I suppose looking at those sweet little faces and being sad that they didn't get to live their whole lives.
What's the most rewarding part?
I guess knowing that they are repurposed and loved. I find myself talking to them while I dress them - they're just so stinkin' cute and they each have their own personality.