Demand grows for fur products

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DEMAND for Sarah Clearwater’s fur and leather products has increased so much, she has set up a showroom at her factory at West Plains.

The grand opening of the Rustic Furs n Leather showroom on Sunday, August 27, will be held at 67 Steel Rd.

The public were welcome to attend, she said.

As well as having the opportunity to visit the showroom, Sarah will be on hand to explain the manufacturing process from procuring locally sourced skins to the tannery and colouring process, and then the complex handcrafted manufacturing process which she completes on-site on the variety of machines, some of which have a history of their own.

“People will be able to come and see a working factory, and ask questions.”

Sarah is familiar to many in Southland with her colourful displays of possum, rabbit, calf, lamb and deer skin products at many craft shows, from Bluff and Invercargill to Queenstown and Wanaka.

She would also have a stall at this year’s Christchurch A&P Show, she said.

Her products have proved so popular, she supplies three retail shops in the North Island and a range of outlets throughout Otago, Southland and Fiordland.

“It’s gotten busier and busier as people have gotten to know my name and products.”

Sarah has been manufacturing for nine years and handcrafts a vibrant and colourful range of clothing garments and accessories, as well as homeware goods, such as cushions, throws and duvets.

The skins, which are sourced locally, are cured at a nearby tannery. Some are dyed during the tanning process, giving them an array of colours from a rich deep plum to light, bright colours, then cut, sewn, and processed on up to six machines at Sarah’s home-based factory to get the required result.

Possum-merino knitwear has also been added to complement her range of garments which include ear muffs, hats, cross-over scarves, wrist warmers, hand muffs, booties and moccasins, as well as luxurious furs.

She has also added upcycling to her range of skills, and carries out upholstery work on commission.

Recently she upcycled a vintage hallway telephone table and chair from the 1950s, upholstering the chair with a cowhide, and is on the lookout for other key pieces. She has also added cushions to the tops of beer crates and made them into classic seating and storage pieces.

Sarah said she was opening the showroom to make it easier for people to source her products. After the official opening, it would be open two days a week on Wednesdays and Thursdays, 9am-3pm, or by appointment by phoning 027 444 2176.

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