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....