The workshop instructor, Katie Innamorato, 24, handed out scalpels and latex gloves, which, she said, most people prefer to wear.

Innamorato wore a ski hat over her long, wavy hair and a fox tail clipped to her waist band. She said she wanted to be a vet when she was growing up but her interest in art -- as well as dead animals -- led her to taxidermy.

"I used to pick up road kill when I was a kid," she said.

Innamorato, along with Divya Anantharaman, who is teaching the mole workshop at Bazaar, is a taxidermist-in-residence at the Morbid Anatomy Museum. Innamorato floated through the classroom, guiding students as they pushed in the scalpels just below the base of the guinea pigs' skulls. They sliced along the spine, then peeled the skin from the creatures' muscles and viscera, which, several people pointed out, looked rather like raw chicken.

Jody Sanford, 51, collected the discarded organs and muscles to leave in the woods near her farm in Freeland for other animals to eat.

The guinea pigs used for the class were "feeders" -- animals bred to be fed to snakes or other pets. Rogue taxidermists generally do not kill creatures for taxidermy, preferring to use road kill or animals that have died naturally. Animals that have been killed for food, either human or pet, however, occupy a "gray area," Marbury, president of the rogue taxidermy association, said.

Such animals are often used for workshops, since they are likely to be uniform, in good condition and free of disease.

Eleni Diamantopoulos gave her guinea pig a name: Eloise.

A graphic designer for "House of Cards," Diamantopoulos and her wife, artist Nikki Diamantopoulos, said they've gotten hooked on taxidermy since Bazaar opened last year. They have several pieces in their Hampden home and gave taxidermied ducklings to guests at their wedding last summer.

Despite her appreciation for taxidermy, Eleni Diamantopoulos said the actual act of cutting into the dead body of a guinea pig made her queasy. The room smelled of rubbing alcohol -- which is used to dry and preserve the skins -- and a faint animal smell a little like cat food.

The work was tedious. After removing the muscles and organs, the students spent more than an hour scraping bits of tissue off the skin, a process called "fleshing."

The participants then soaked the skins, dried them, stuffed them and sewed them back up. The faces required delicate work, as did preserving the creatures' fragile ears.

As the students sewed quail wings to the guinea pigs' backs, Innamorato explained that the list of animals on which you can perform taxidermy is rather short. Many birds are considered protected species, and can't be used for taxidermy, even when they are found dead.

Leeann Hoerr, a 31-year-old office manager from Bel Air, said she thought her 7-year-old daughter would love the winged guinea pig.

"It's your own design," she said.  "Your own doll in animal form."

Go rogue

Bazaar is at 3534 Chestnut Ave. in Hampden, and is open from noon-7 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. For more information and questions about classes, call 410-844-3015, email or go to