Feel like you have a taxidermy deficit? You’re in luck…
A high-end taxidermy shop may sound like the strangest thing to pop up along W. 18th St., but upon entering Oracle Fine Curiosities in the Bauer Building, it all makes sense. Creamy white skulls are propped on shelves. A small seating area centers on a table lined with lush red furs and a quirky collection of books and plants. Butterflies outstretch their wings in frames lined up along the wall.
“Look,” co-owner Jane Almirall says, as she turns over the frame to show the back of a butterfly. “We wanted to get frames with glass on both sides, because the undersides of some butterfly wings are so stunning.” This one is so stunning, in fact, that it almost appears fake. Almirall picks up another; it has glimmers of silver on the wing.
Almirall and Carrie Parker, co-owner, who have both been collecting taxidermy for years, collaborated on the creation of Oracle.
“It is an aesthetic we both really like,” Parker says. “The shop continues to grow in different directions, in terms of what it means to different people, but everything we bring in has to appeal to our vision.”
The presentation of Oracle’s wares is visually lovely and, ethically, Almirall and Parker also aim to keep their standards high. They have a close relationship with their taxidermist, who knows how each of the animals perished, which is generally due to natural circumstances in the life of a wild animal.
“We really view taxidermy as a nice memorial to the animal. We are both animal lovers, so it is important for us that the animals are respected and honored,” Parker says.
“Taxidermy is also a great education tool, because when are you going to be this close to a lynx or a fox? You can really examine the animal.”
Luckily for the public, Oracle is hoping to open up their shop for events such as tarot card readings, tutorials on how to display butterflies and other events, all of which will prove to be as inspiring as they are mystical.