Stags with Swag 7

Missoula Artist-Author gives trophies new life

Kristen Berube, author of Confessions of a Camo Queen: Living with an Outdoorsman, has colorfully embraced her role as a hunting widow, as hilariously noted throughout her collection of essays—camouflage lingerie, camping romance, and the inevitable primal home decor. As the true blue Camo Queen that she is, it was only natural that painting and bejeweling her husband’s steady stream of trophies became a new habitual activity. Soon, Kristen said, it became a matter of other people seeing her creations when they would visit her home or through social media. Drawn to the intricacies and beauty of her work, they wanted their stags and skulls artfully dressed, too.

Her one-of-a-kind pieces are the product of a careful artistic process, always beginning with the blank slate of a unique canvas. First, Kristen determines what her customer is really wanting to get out of the skull, whether it be the perfect focal point hung above the mantel or a gift going to a close friend. Her styles conform to those wishes of her clientele and range from that of shabby chic appeal to a classic bronzed appearance. Falling in love with each piece despite the differences in style, Kristen always has a bittersweet parting with her creations.

In good Montanan fashion, Kristen dapples—and excels—in several aspects of her career and personal life, paying full attention to her truest passions and sharing them. She is a mother to three small children, an artist, an author, and a frequent contributor to several publications, all while keeping a dental practice.

“I really cherish the time that I have to work on the skulls because it is my quiet time and something that I find very relaxing and fun,” said Kristen.