Not a Dying Craft

One of the highlights of my day was a short visit to Sakowitz furs, a Houston institution. I frankly had no reason to go in there, other than the fact that a store full of fur coats makes me feel nostalgic. I didn’t want to try one on. I definitely don’t need one, having inherited several I hardly have a chance to wear. Instead I asked questions about the craft. With only one furrier remaining in my family, and her business being reduced to mere alterations – although she knows how to make a fur coat from scratch, and that is cool! – we were under the impression that modern fur coats are somehow industrially produced. Perhaps this is an urban myth meant to scare good old fashioned furriers and their extended families. The nice man in the shop assured me that all the many sleek exquisite coats in there had been hand made. I asked if they had been hand made by someone who first stretched the furs by nailing them onto boards. Such details are important to me. He assured me that yes, indeed, the furs had all been stretched on boards, massaged with a wet brush. This answer I found highly satisfying. It brought back many childhood memories of sitting in my grandfather’s workshop, the scent of mothballs tickling my nostrils. I left thinking that perhaps, after all, this is not a dying craft.

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