Friday, 9 August 2013

Hey trendsetters

trend·set·ter  /ˈtren(d)ˌsetər/ 
     A person who leads the way in fashion or ideas. 

I am what I am, and regardless of what might be the "in thing" at any particular time, I am who I am.

In 1999 I made a dozen dining chairs for our little house on the prairie. Hewn from heavy slabs of Corymbia maculata, commonly known as the Spotted Gum - the chairs are a big two-handed lift, more of a slide really. But they're very well constructed; mortice and tenon joints throughout and a two-part epoxy resin has held the tight-fitting joints in this oily timber together for an short age. Craftsmanship in timber. 

Seat coverings were a tough call for a minute, until my wife had the audacity to call "skins." Goats and scrubbers, fallow and wildebeest, red, chital and kudu made for an interesting menagerie of hunted game that we could sit on. 

Trendy? I don't think so.

Around the house, a lifetime of hunting trophies spewed out of the gun room so that horn, antler and tusk seemed to pop out of every corner, hang off every shelf. Guests to our home were often bewildered, sometimes horrified, occasionally impressed and regularly in raptures about the curiosity of it all. 

"Who gives a shit?" you might ask. Well trendsetters, in my neck of the woods, this hunter cum taxidermist cum fashionista has been at the forefront of the use of wildlife in modern interior design for longer than monument, house & garden, real living and at home. Appropriate use. Sustainable use.  

We're finally building our dream home after a torturous and not inexpensive journey through the most inept bureaucratic process I have ever had the displeasure of being involved with. I'm calling it boomtoppen (that's Afrikaans; the boss has failed to comment at this stage). 

The missus has taken to interior design like a fish to water and there are small piles of trendy magazines in most corners of our little cottage. Clippings on the sideboard and the hall table. Little alerts from Houzz and updates from her Pinterest account.

There's glitzy and polished and chic and vintage and industrial and modern; cutting through all of that, is the consistent use of wild game products or items alluding to wild game; it's tasteful, frequent and obvious. 

Skulls and antlers, faux game head trophies and real ones, studded, crocheted and painted deer mannikins with cast antlers. Carved bones and skulls. Flat skins, rug shells and cushions and poofs. Zebra is particularly trendy. But a whole load of mostly anonymous species grace our retail wonderland, there for the taking by a shopping public that wouldn't know a whitetail from a wildebeest, an antler from a horn. 

As a veteran of a few safaris and countless hunts at home, its hard to see what all the fuss is about. This is who I am. None of these trophy were bought from stores for decoration. It's a lifetime of hunting, skills honed, time invested. The ongoing search for the right trophy, an animal to fill the freezer and the sausage skins. This isn't part of some google search (though google is awesome!). This is about meat and memories and meals. And for my family, its all around us. I am what I am. 

And apparently, I'm so trendy. 

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