Friday, November 11, 2011

fur and moss




I dreamt of fur and moss. It was so beautiful that I just had to make the dream come true. And doing that led me to revisit an old dilemma.

My mother-in-law gave me this mink fur coat that's been hanging in a special, breathable garment bag in the basement for quite a long time now. I've worn it maybe once, it just doesn't feel right, although I realize it's from a time when it was acceptable. I've thought about deconstructing it and making something like pillows or a bag. It would be interesting to see how it was made, the lining was hand sewn, but then I'd see how many pelts were sewn together and it's probably too many to bear knowing.

When I tried it on, the dogs gave me a concerned look. I don't know if it was the fur, itself, or the fact that I was wearing it.

I've listened to NPR's The Ethicist with Randy Cohen on the subject. I need to think about it some more, but I tend to agree with his view that, in this day and age, wearing any kind of fur, old or new, coarsens our sensibilities as people. And I very much like the Humane Society's fur collection project that distributes fur to wildlife rehabilitators. Fur warms and comforts injured and orphaned animals -- cut into the right size for the animal, it can be a surrogate mother, a playmate, or a sleeve can even be a nesting place for a burrower. A collection drive is scheduled to begin on Black Friday, 11/25/11. Isn't that timely?

I'm wondering if you have any thoughts on this or have also inherited a fur coat and if you've repurposed it and how so?

And happy weekending, too. xo

18 comments:

deanna7trees said...

i have a beautiful black wool coat with a mink collar and front piece in mink. it was given to my mom by an old boyfriend long before she met my dad. funny that i, too, took it out of the closet yesterday and tried it on. i do want to take off the fur pieces and modify the sleeves some so that i can wear it. i would not wear it with the fur. it dates back to the early 1930s and has a Fisher Bros. New York label.

woman with wings said...

Deanna, that is amazing that you've been thinking about (and trying on) your inherited coat, too! I like the story behind it, especially that a boyfriend gave her an expensive coat. My dad bought my mom a coat, too, before they were married, he said she didn't have a warm one and to this day at 100 years old, he still talks about that. Different times. I don't know much about this one other than my MIL tried to pass it on to one of her three daughters and nobody wanted it so she offered it to me and I was thrilled at the time. I know it meant a lot to her and maybe that's enough. I hope you show your alterations, it sounds wonderful!

Nanette said...

I wouldn't wear fur...old or new...I can't imagine carrying those lost animals on me. I have seen some made into bears, but that creeps me out too. I don't have an old fur, but I can imagine the dilemma, but I do like very much the repurposing for injured or orphaned animals, it feels right somehow.

woman with wings said...

Nanette, thanks, that's a very real way of putting it -- "carrying those lost animals on me" -- I like the Humane Society's project, too. It's very likely that's what I'll do unless something else arises...

Trish said...

I am sure it is beautiful...but I would not be able to wear it. It wouldn't feel right. I really love the idea of old fur coats being used to comfort and warm injured and orphaned animals. That is beautiful.
Much love

woman with wings said...

Trish, you're right -- it is sooo beautiful and soft, that never goes away, I will take it all in as much as possible while it's spread across our dining room table, before it finds a new purpose...love back.

handstories said...

i imagine it would be hard to give up this piece of history, that moment of handing it over is always hard for me, even if it feels right, but the relief & warmth of doing such wonderful good that would come after...i just love the sound of this collection project. taking photos helps me to let go, if that's what you're going to do.

Suzanna said...

I love the combination of moss and fur...just the sound of the words. I've been learning to grow moss. I too have questions about fur...in my closet is a warm down coat, that I bought thinking it had faux fur around the hood, but then discovered it was dyed rabbit fur. Oh dear...all the questions arise.

liniecat said...

I wore a grey with russet stripes, rabbit threer quarter length ( on me) fur coat in the 60s, it had the old war time Utility lable inside it!
I paid £5 for it at the Birmingham 'rag market'....which was simply a market selling all sorts, not just rags.
I fell for the coat as soon as I saw it. It had the same huge collar shape,that the character Rachel wears in the Blade Runner movie.
I so loved that coat!
I cleaned it with Thawpit and oats, like the furriers used back then, because dry cleaning it would have cost twice the cost I paid for it..and that £5 was already expensive then! I also removed thevery 40's shoulder pads and stitched the lining back up inside.
I felt the bees knees ........lol...with my bell bottoms and tinkly bells........a weekend hippy and happy, happy, happy.
Now of course I wouldnt ever wear a fur, shows how enlightened I became and how my views altered over time.
I suppsoe folks who live in the arctic wear furs for a different reason so that I see as their choice.
But for fashion in our climate, and even warmth in our moderate climates, well I couldnt wear it myself.
We had several given us to sell for cat rescue funds over the years but we didnt feel we could sell them on.
Most we burnt, but had we known about they could be used for swaddling infant animals, wed have given them willingly for that kind of project.
And talking about bees Peggy........I bought my grandson the Bee Movie animation dvd and its such a great story, about how necessary to life the bees are! Have you watched it? Its fun and Jack loves it...bonus!

Deb G said...

I have a collar made from rabbit that belonged to one my great grandmothers...I like the idea of passing it on for rescued animals very much.

Marie said...

I love your moss and stick looking candle!
Regarding fur....I like the idea of giving it to rescued animals. : )
<3

Nancy said...

Peggy- I too could never wear it and like the idea of something that was once OK, but no longer is acceptable, becoming once again useful for rescued animals. It feels very full circle and right. I just helped a dear friend of the family move, by unpacking her clothing. She too had a fur (mink, I believe) that was once fashionable. She was not sure what to do with it and ended up hanging it up in the back of the closet. I will send her this post of yours.
On a mossy note, I once care for a toddler boy who loved all things soft. He would go along the fence and collect in his little hand all the moss that was growing there! He would have loved Jude's pocket! :)
Love the candle and mossy surround :)

woman with wings said...

Cindy, that's a great idea and I'll definitely take a few more. It feels pretty good to have a plan on where the coat is going...

woman with wings said...

Suzanna, there must be lots of us in this situation and even more ways to approach it. Don't be hard on yourself...

You're lucky to be able to grow moss!

woman with wings said...

Lyn, I loved reading about your coat -- you must've been one hot hippie chick! I've never had other fur coats, just some with fur collars. And gosh, I just loved those fur collars. But yes, we change. Or do we wake up?

I've heard of that movie, it's Seinfeld, right? Thanks, I will definitely check it out. If Jack liked it, then I know a couple of other kiddos that'll like it, too!

woman with wings said...

Deb, a fur collar would be a nice size for a little guy to cuddle into!

woman with wings said...

Thank you, Marie -- that candle is one from a Smith & Hawkins set that I'd never burned before, but this was a special occasion -- for all the creatures who made the coat.

woman with wings said...

Thank you, Nancy! And I'm sooo glad that you know someone who can use the information on the fur collection project. You said it perfectly -- full circle! -- I'm feeling pretty good about completing the cycle now.

What a magnificent experience to collect moss by the handfuls!