I'll never forget the first time I started to upholster a chair with hair-on cowhide. I had found a supplier who had a huge selection of Brazilian tanned cowhides. I really only needed one, but ended up with three hides for $600. One would have been $230, but he gave me a break on two more. I would save the two extras for future projects.
As I was about to take a pair of scissors and cut a $200 hide into quarters. I took a deep breath before I began cutting. A few hours later I had upholstered my first chair. In time I got pretty good at the process--not bad for being a self-taught upholsterer.
Over the years I experimented with other leathers, including elk and deer skins. I also became familiar with exotic leathers, such as buffalo, moose, ostrich, snake, sheep, goat, and even kangaroo, but never had a request for them.
I did encounter one decorator who asked for pony hide. I discovered she was under the impression it was what she thought she had seen in my photo album. When I told her I use cowhide. that seemed to suit her fine. Later I learned that pony hide actually is available, but how it is obtained really distressed me.
The race horse industry breeds certain mares to come into milk, so their milk can be used to nourish the foal of another more expensive mare. The hide of the nurse mare's foal's is used as “pony skin” in the fashion and textile industries, and the meat is considered a delicacy in some foreign markets.
I really love horses, so using them to produce milk or urine (in the case of PMU mares that are kept pregnant for 10+ years, their urine sold to pharmaceutical companies to make hormone replacement drugs) doesn't set well with me.
Cats on the other hand aren't quite as dear to my heart. That's why after a double take at the chair (above) I briefly considered using cat hide for seats or is it a cat hiding seat :-)
Just kidding, so please don't comment.
The lazy, good-for-nothing cat on the chair (above) was given to me by a friend to help control a rat problem I was having in my barn. The d____ed cat figured out how to use our dog's "doggie door," and he now comes and goes as he pleases (although he prefers to have a human door opened for him. When he feels like it, he hunts at night, carrying in his prey and dumping it in my bathtub. I can't decide if it's a trophy room, or it's just a convenient place to kill things because they can't escape. Smart cat.
So far I've had to cleanup from rats, mice, lizards, rabbits, possums, moths, birds, and more birds. He eats only the parts he likes. The d___ cat is eight years old, and because we live where there are great-horned owls and coyotes, I figure he's probably used up about eight of his nine lives. Maybe I'll get some peace one of these days soon :-)
Just kidding, so again, please don't comment.