Leather. It truly is something special. It is different than any other material on earth, as it literally used to be alive. The interesting thing about it, to me, is that it is still alive, even after it is tanned and finished. When you take traditional vegetable tanned cowhide that has been tanned with tree bark and put it out in the sun, it literally tans like skin, darkening to a deep caramel brown. Even modern tanning practices using chromium salts create a finished product that truly "breaks in" in a way that no man made substitute can match. My obsession with leather is now deeply into it's 8th year, and all I can say is that I am still in awe. The connection I feel to my leather products is something truly special, and differs from a connection to, say, a watch, or a pair of pants. The watch will last, generally unchanged, forever. It may stop working right, but it will still be a chunk of metal, protected from the world around it. Leather literally tells a story. You can look at a leather bag that has been around the world and truly see the bags life unfold. Maybe it is the spirit of the animal that used to inhabit the skin that makes us see something deeper, or maybe it is just that we relate in a way that truly affects us. There is a partnership there, or a friendship that people have with leather items that js different.
I know this is a little deep, and maybe it is silly. One thing is certain in life, and that is that we love stuff. Especially stuff that we have an indescribable attachment too. Leather may be the truest form of that attachment. A leather wallet is more than just a wallet, it is a friend going on a journey, aging with you, showing the path of your story through a stain here, and a scratch there. We must show respect of the animals we consume. We must continue to value them and find their spirits in the skins that we tan and use everyday. Now this type of talk may be appear to be a minor scandal to the vegetarian or vegan who finds that any harming of animals is wrong absolutely. I can understand this view, as I myself am a true lover of all creatures. If that is your view, go forth and let it be your work to stop animal suffering. The majority has spoken in this case, and people like to eat meat, and it looks like it will not be changing anytime soon. Shouldn't we use the whole animal if we are to slaughter it for food? Isn't it truly showing honor to the animal to use it's skin in a way that shows respect, and connection? I find this to be an important thing to consider when looking at the ethical implications of leather. The animals spirit lives on in every piece I make, and I take time to honor that animal once in a while.
This is the meaning I find in what I do, and I hope you will agree that leather is truly a special resource that should always be treated with respect.
Thanks for reading what turned out to be a more thoughtful post than I planned on. I hope it makes you think.