Thursday, March 19, 2009

Leather Vs. Fur

So yesterday I was asked to submit a project for a book that contains leather projects and other skins, totally different from my own possible project.
I looked carefully at the contributed projects and noticed that some of them were fur: mink, etc.
I want to make sure the fur is re-purposed vintage before I get involved with the project: if it is fur harvested in the last 20 years I cannot take any part of it.

I couldn't understand my own powerful internal reaction to seeing the pieces with fur... it reminded me of my own tremendous guilt over using hides in general. I pacify my ache by reminding myself that the leather I use is a by-product of the beef industry: that as long as people are eating beef there will be leather that if unused would simply become a pile of rot.

I remind myself that it is vegetable-tanned, not chromium that weakens and kills the very people who create the leather. I remind myself that someday I will find a tannery that gets its cows from an organic farm where they have good grass-fed lives and had a quick and compassionate end. Northern California will be the perfect place to seek that information.

I don't know how to absolve myself from these feelings. I think it might be part of the reason I am making less leather and more silver.
I pray over every hide I use and vow to the deceased that what is left of it will be made into something lasting and beautiful. 

I don't know what else to do and I am so amazed at the strength of my 'ethical' response in light of the material I use.  All I could think of are those PETA pictures of cats in boxes, sick and overcrowded, waiting to die for their skin.

I feel so sad and restless about it all....


susie said...

I am sorry you are struggling. I have tried to be a vegetarian several times, and I greatly admire those who are able to live with such conviction. I believe your struggle shows a depth of empathy and compassion for others(whether it be people or furry others).

Anonymous said...

that made me feel so good to hear you pray over the hides and make a vow to them. you are so sweet.