I respect differing perspectives on fur, and the decision to purchase these natural materials is personal and to be taken seriously. I encourage anyone looking to purchase fur, to educate themselves on all parts of the industry. Like all good makers, I take pride in knowing the source of my materials - in this case furs and leather. I support sustainable and responsible trapping for the purposes of providing income and a cultural way of life to those practicing a subsistence lifestyle. As a biologist I know that trapping, when practiced responsibly, is not harmful to animal populations. As a maker, I only purchase natural furs from reputable sources who are regulated and require the use of humane methods. I choose to not use furs originating from mass-producing farm operations - I do not personally or ethically agree with the care, treatment, and housing of those animals. I never use materials from species which are invasive, at risk, or endangered - only those naturally found in abundance and harvested in the wilds of Canada.
My moose and elk hides are provided by family members, who harvest animals for food during our Saskatchewan licensed hunting season. The hides come to me 'raw', and by spending weeks scraping, soaking and tanning these hides which are often discarded as waste, it is my way of showing respect to these beautiful animals. Home tanning and smoking hides is a very labour-intensive process, but the outcome is a natural golden leather free of chemicals and dyes with a rich smoky smell. I do not use commercially tanned or processed moose or elk hides.
I have started sourcing new leather options, including deer and bison, that are locally harvested or tanned in Saskatchewan, and which utilize vegetable tanning - a traditional, all natural alternative to chemical tanning. This process is not widely used, but it creates leathers with a rich and pliable finish while achieving a natural and sustainable product.