Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Vintage Fur - Yay or Nay? My Ethical Dilemma.

Hello Lovelies! Okay so this may be my most divisive post yet and is inspired by a vintage fur coat that I bought in the local antique/junk ]market /car bootie where I also score my vintage sewing machines.

Sartorially my coat does nothing for me but when these photos were taken it was about -4 degrees Celcius outside and I was totally toasty.

The coat itself is a lovely Musquash fur in pristine condition and is actually a little too big for me. Since vintage things rarely come large enough and I was in need of a new winter coat for this year, I snapped it up swayed by its loveliness. However, now that I have got it home I am having feeling a bit of inner turmoil. As a vintage loving clothes-a-holic it was only a matter of time before I succumbed to the siren song of a "good" fur coat. No fashionable lady of yesteryear, with a yearning for glitz and glamour, would have been without her fur - a real status symbol at the time - and the vintage/second-hand shops are awash with them. However, I am a committed animal lover and find the idea of wearing modern farmed fur abhorrent. So where does vintage fur lie in this ethical debate?

First a little history.......

Who wore it best? Source

Musquash fur is derived from the Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) which are found all over North America and Canada. Musquash fur was very popular as a cheaper alternative to mink and could be found sheared and/or dyed to more resemble other pelts. The darker the colour of the musquash the pricier the fur.

At the time that this coat was made in the 1930's it is likely that the pelts used would have been sourced at a fur sale such as those of the Hudson Bay Company who sold vast quantities of skins from an unbelievable variety of animals such a squirrels, raccoons, mink, beaver and fox. These skins would have been obtained from animals trapped in the wild and brought to trading posts all over Canada, where they would be collected and shipped to places like London and Paris.

For fox' sake! Couldn't find the source but this is a HBC trading post, apparently.

 Unfortunately, the impact of the fur trade reached beyond wildlife and had a huge, and could be argued highly negative, effect on the indigenous aboriginal peoples of Canada who abandoned traditional ways of life in favour of trapping fur in exchange for bartered goods. Due to the large costs of shipping and handling the wild-trapped skins the latter part of the1930's saw the advent of farmed fur, especially for high-vaue pelts like mink. The fur trade died out somewhat with the popularity of the animal rights movement in the 60's - 90's but has never really gone away. In the last few years it could be considered to be having a bit of a renaissance with many designers showing fur again.

Where the Wild Things Are

So where does this leave me? I love animals and always support animal charities. In my time I have taken in countless stray cats,  abused rabbits and all manner of little lost furries and given them a lovely life. However, I am not vegetarian, although I used to be for many years  and we eat mostly veggie/vegan in our house. I would never dream of purchasing modern fur. However, I am in two minds about the vintage variety. I know that this is still a(n) (dead) animal product, even if it is about 90 years old, and that muskrats died for this coat but I am very much against things going into landfill and like to reuse/recycle as much as possible. Many millions of animals die every year for the production of food. Why are the (leather) by-products of the meat trade more popularly acceptable, or are they? Is the wearing of vintage fur ever justifiable? Does it have the same impact as wearing a modern fur? Could reuse, reduce, recycle ever apply to fur? Do you find fur culturally acceptable and think that this is just first-world angst?

I may be hanging my head in shame

So what are you thoughts people? Am I a completely morally reprehensible homicidal animal slaughterer with my ethical compass set to serial killer or do you think that wearing vintage fur is acceptable as it is a kind of recycling? Do you even care? I am feeling terribly guilty and torn about my purchase. I do own a couple of 60's vintage sheepskin hats. Is this any worse?

Please feel free to comment but play nice people. I know that this is an emotive subject but we should respect everyone's views.


Wednesday, 4 January 2017

A Stroll Round The Burrell Collection

One of the great things about living in Glasgow is the staggering amount of free art galleries and museums that are open to the public. One of the nicest and, in my mind completely eclectic, is the Burrell Collection which I had the pleasure of visiting last year (but was yet to blog about). Since the building that houses the collection is now shut for refurbishment until 2020 I thought that I would share some of my photos from my trip. There were some absolute gems of antique textiles there as well as some great stained glass, paintings and sculptures.

William Burrell, a Glaswegian shipping magnate, was a renowned art collector who in 1944 bequeathed a collection of about 8,000 objects to the City of Glasgow. However, it wasn't until 1983 that a purpose built museum was opened on the Pollock Estate in the Southside of the city to house these objects. The building, as it currently stands, only displays about 20% of the collection so is being upgraded and expanded. The collection itself covers every period and medium, from gorgeous tapestries to statues from Ancient Egypt.

Tapestries and Textiles - Forgive the terrible photos. These wee housed under very low light.

I was tempted there by an exhibition of medieval stained glass, which was additional to the normal glass on show. I love the rich colours and the details.

Lovely Lady with Moustache and Sheep

Reminds me of Lord Flashheart for you Blackadder fans out there

Getting Medieval on your A**

And some lovely sculptures.

Anyway, I hope that you enjoyed a little snippet of the collection and apologies for the quality of some of the photos. My cameraphone was ill-equipped to deal with the low lighting required for the more delicate exhibits. I always feel like a wander in a gallery or museum invigorates my creative mojo. 

If you are in Glasgow and fancy some art, a selection of the Collection is on display at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum along with the plans for the building refurbishment. They have the Alphonse Mucha exhibition on there at the moment so it is a very good excuse to pop along. I am off there this weekend!

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

(2016) You Taste Like Tear Stains and Could-Have-Beens

Hello Lovelies!  I am just posting up to wish you all the best for 2017!

I am sorry for being M.I.A for a bit. Life here has been a bit hectic, for good and bad reasons and blogging has become a casualty of that. 2016 really was a funny old year, though to quote Jarvis Cocker "Well, I can't see anyone else smiling in here".  I will be very glad to start with a blank page.

I have been reading your posts and commenting in my free moments, which have been few and far between, but have been thinking about how everyone has been getting on a lot.

I really have done very little in the way of sewing, knitting or anything much since my last posts from August (AUGUST!!!!).  We had quite a fruitful harvest in the garden but I left most of it for what I thought were the birds. Oh dear, b@$tard slugs!

There have been a few vintage buys and a couple of gifts like these fabulous curtains that I have coveted from afar for the last decade.

They were up in my brother's Victorian house when he moved in and belonged to the last very elderly lady occupant who had been born in the house. I have no clue about their age. They are such a gorgeous colour and so heavy I am wondering if my modern walls will take the weight of the curtain pole with them on. The photos don't do them justice. I can't wait to get the living room repainted and them up.

Literally the Town Centre. Was very cute

I looked at an old house in Kirriemuir which is commuting distance from my day job. It was lovely but needed a bit more structural work than I was prepared to do and had no garden.  Didn't think that this would bother me until I saw the place. I do like an outside space.

Was worth the trip though as Kirriemuir is a lovely (wee) place and there was a fab statue of Bon Scott, the late great singer of AC/DC who was born there and lived in the town until he was six. Apparently they have a small rock festival there every year called BonnFest.

Kirriemuir is also the birthplace of J.M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan and there is a small statue commemorating this in the town square.Apparently, the town is also famous for its witches. I don't know if I would have believed that until I saw this shop window below. Sprogzilla was totally unimpressed, she thought that the place was like the setting for "Hot Fuzz". Can't imagine why?  So moving plans are on hold for the moment as we will see what this month brings.

I also went to see The Damned for their 40th Anniversary tour at the start of December. They were brilliant but it was mostly full of men of a certain age. Makes me smile to think that Punk is now that old. Obligatory grainy phone pic below. Blaming being at one side of the stage for only getting shots of Dave Vanian.

So apart from that there has been nothing but work.
No resolutions here or promises as it cuts me up too much when I can't get things done.
 Just work hard,  create things that make me happy, laugh loads and (most importantly) spend as much time as possible with the people that I love.

Hope that 2017 brings you all joy and (hopefully) this will be the start of a busy blogging year!

K xx