Open days at the Morbitorium

Dave, demonstrating at a taxidermy class (Photo by Sanne Rietveld)

Dave, demonstrating at a taxidermy class (Photo by Sanne Rietveld)

If you're interested in the more bizarre things in life then the "Morbitorium" in Pontywaun may be the perfect place for you, and the owner, Dave Roberts, invites you to come along and take a visit.

For the last 4 years, Dave has been selling his unusual wares via websites and at horror/tattoo conventions but with a recent expansion into larger premises he is planning on holding regular open days, the first of which will be on Saturday, March 2nd 2019.

"The open days are a natural progression to the way that the Morbitorium has evolved since it started," says Dave.

"In 2014 I had a small table at a horror convention and opened my Etsy store, then over the next few years I attended bigger conventions, launched my own website and started hosting regular taxidermy classes."

"Whenever people visit my home they are always amazed by the things in my collection so it's nice to open the doors to anyone interested in having a look. I love meeting new people with similar interests so face-to-face interaction is very important to me. You'll be able to view my personal collection, see the things I make, take a look around the taxidermy workshop and ask whatever questions you may have."

An ornately carved horse skull, two-headed duckling, and some lobotomy tools

An ornately carved horse skull, two-headed duckling, and some lobotomy tools

"Expanding the Morbitorium into a dedicated property means that I have much more scope for hosting events like these and I'm hoping to make them a regular thing in the future. The dedicated workshop space is so useful as it means I can now hold classes without impacting on my family or the rest of the house."

The Morbitorium has held taxidermy workshops at various locations over the years but it is only since Dave moved to Pontywaun to set up a permanent base that they became a regular calendar fixture. They are popular events and have seen people travel considerable distances to attend.

"I've had students come from as far away as the Nottingham and Plymouth but most people are from South Wales or the west country. It's fascinating to meet the different types of people who attend and find out how they got interested in stuff like this. Over the years I've taught teenagers, pensioners, vegetarians and vegans, and whether you come on your own or as part of a group it's a lot of fun and people really enjoy themselves. The classes usually have a great mix of people who all get on well despite coming from very different backgrounds and interests."

"You get taken through the entire process, from the first cut to the final stitch, and you take your creation home with you afterwards. I keep the class sizes small so that everyone gets plenty of attention and help but unfortunately, this means they can fill up pretty quickly. I always try and put on more classes if demand requires it though."

If you don't fancy trying your hand at taxidermy then the oddity collection or shop may be of more interest and you might find the perfect gift or stocking filler for the 'weirdo' in your life. Most of which are handmade by the Morbitorium and can't be found elsewhere.

At the tamer end of the scale there are bookmarks, badges and jewellery inspired by horror movies and cult TV programmes but if your tastes run a little stranger you could pick up a genuine 1960’s Ouija board, an antique crucifix or a mummified heart. You can also browse the items that have been banned from Etsy - if you dare!

Be warned though, the Morbitorium may not appeal to everyone. Displays of taxidermy and wet specimens aren't to everyone's taste and Ouija boards may offend or scare some, but if you have a fascination with horror and the macabre it's sure to be an interesting place to stop by.

The Morbitorium does not have regular hours so please check their Facebook events page (https://www.facebook.com/MorbitoriumUK/events) or email them for details of when the next open day or taxidermy class is being held.

You can find more information at www.morbitorium.co.uk