Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Leather, is it acceptable to still use it?


I wanted to touch on a subject that a lot of people can be quite sensitive about, and that is the use of leather or fur, and of course the animal it came from.

I am not getting into the debate as regards the vegetarians viewpoint, or any other, as that is not what this particular blog is about. Nor do I want  to debate the harvesting of some of the more unusual or exotic skins and pelts, which is an extremely controversial topic that could not possibly be covered in a simple blog.
I would just point out that we are all free to make our own choices, and each of us should respect each other enough to allow us to have these differing opinions on the use of leather.

So, onto my quick blog for today.

I'm referring to the average hide of cow, sheep or pig; as for the majority of my work, this is pretty much all I use. I use (mostly) veg-tanned leather, in a variety of weights, with a bit of suede here and there occasionally.

No matter which way you cut it, leather is a viable/sellable/valuable byproduct of the meat and dairy industry. Cattle are not raised for their skin, they are raised to provide meat for the food industry, and also for dairy use. Now I am no expert but as far as I am aware, the meat sells for far more than the value of the hide, again confirming that hides are a useful byproduct.

No industry ever threw away usable, valuable parts of a product, just because they themselves don't use it. So after the animal has been slaughtered, the hides are then sold to tanneries who transform them into hides for the leather industry. So really, are we doing anything differently than has already been done for thousands of years?
There is no denying leather has been used since caveman times to meet an abundance of uses; he wore it for protection from the elements and for its warmth, possibly even as an early basic form of armour to offer some protection from animal, or other human attacks. It was used as foot protection, for sleeping, perhaps even some form of tents.
They probably used most parts of the animal for something or other, man's ingenuity knows no bounds, and I assume early man was no different. Necessity is the mother of invention, and our ancestors would have used whatever they could to offer some degree of comfort, warmth and protection.

Anyway that's my take on using leather. I am sure that some of you will disagree, and that's fine too; as we all make our own minds up about what we feel is acceptable and what isn't.
I for one see no merit in throwing away parts of something that was killed for other reasons, and can be transformed in what sometimes amounts to wearable artwork.

Take care,