Vicki Schaaf is a former CENTURY 21 staff person who created this beautiful hand beaded buffalo head. I first saw a photo of the piece and was so impressed and excited that I had to call her to find out more about the process. It’s a stunning work of art and full of Native American symbols and symbolism!
Where did you get the buffalo skull? My son Buck has a taxidermy business in Hinckley, MN and was able to get it for me. When he mounts a buffalo head, the skull isn’t used and is left for waste.
Did you have to boil the skull to get it clean? No, Buck sent it out to be “bugged”. It’s a process where they use dermestid beatles that eat away all the meat. It took about a month.
Ewww! So you received the skull clean and dry? Yes! It didn’t have any horns when I got it, so I had to buy a set of horns for the project.
What was your process and how long did the whole project take you? It took about a year for me to complete. I had carpal tunnel surgery during that time, so I lost about 3 months of working time in that year. I used 30,380 beads! They’re sewn on heavy fabric interfacing.
Did you have a game plan for the design before you began? No, I just did a free form design as I went along. The patterns are all unique and my own designs. Once the beading was complete, I added fur around the horns.
Will you do another? I won’t say “never”, but let’s just say I don’t have any plans to do another right now!