Animal origin fur is an emotive subject, for there has undoubtedly been wanton cruelty in the past. Yet the fact is that nothing replaces its insulating properties for the same weight, and furthermore needs must – fur remains the only clothing and insulation option for many of the nomadic and indigenous peoples of cold climates. We are though far more aware and concerned for the welfare of the animal, and today’s fur and skins are ethically sourced and can be cleverly dyed to look like other more exotic animals.

* Faux fur made from synthetic fibres is realistic to look at, but as  there are none of the beneficial inherent properties, I prefer to use wool or a thick, deep piled and sumptuous velvet instead for those who do object to real fur, on whatever grounds.

* Rabbit fur, a food by-product, has come into its own. The skins can be joined to make much larger pieces; it comes in a variety of natural colourings, it can be can dyed in fashion colours, or to look like any other animal coat; it can be cut, carved, stitched,or embroidered, and made into any piece of furnishing.

* We often use it for bed covers – it’s warm , light,soft, snuggly, doesn’t crease or show dirt and is easily cleaned. How good is that! And it lasts forever.

* A fur draped over the arms and seat of an outside chair outside on a crisp winter’s day can keep you nicely warm, at least long enough to enjoy a warm drink in the fresh air.

* Goatskins and sheepskins are lovely and warm to the feet on cold or wooden floors; goatskins can work in bathrooms so long as they are not somewhere they’ll get too wet–i.e. fine around a bath, not so good near an open shower. I’ve also used goat hair to trim cushions, chairs, tablecloths and lampshades.

* The full properties of fur are not always understood. A sheepskin rug is the best material possible for babies to sleep on. It naturally regulates moisture and temperature, and is much safer for a small baby than any of the man made options.

See lambskin, sheepskin, goat

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