Friday, October 30, 2009

Rattlesnake Bonanza

Let me start this post with an apology to anyone with a snake phobia. I've seen some strong reactions and it's not my intention to disturb anyone. Feel free to leave without reading this post - I won't be offended!
Though I must confess to a certain amount of squeamishness around live snakes, I've always found the skins to be beautiful.
There is a wide range of color and patterning in the snake kingdom.
Among my favorites is the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake of North America, also called a coon-tail rattler for the raccoon-like striping just above the rattle.
This gorgeous creature has incredible camouflage for its environment and a distinctive warning system to alert anyone who may stray too close. Nature designed them exceedingly well.
I've worked with rattlesnake hides in the past - they make handsome hatbands, belts and wristbands - but it's been awhile.
That's primarily been an issue of supply; once upon a time I got hides from my father-in-law when he was alive and living in New Mexico. He got them from a local wrangler who hunted rattlers to milk for venom and then release, or sometimes to kill, skin & eat.
Though commercially tanned rattlesnake hides are available, I have resisted using them because of my aversion to using products from animals that are killed simply for the skin, as I am sure is the case with the bulk-produced hides.
A few weeks ago at a local craft show, however, I met a woman who lives part time in my area and part time in Arizona. Turns out she & her husband are rattlesnake wranglers.

Long story short, I once again have a source for conscientiously harvested Diamondback skins.
I picked out a handful and plan on spending some time soon turning them into cuffs and hatbands with rattles attached. Watch for them in my Etsy shop and on my website soon.
*Picture of my handcrafted wristband courtesy of Devon Akmon. Picture of the live snake taken from public domain site, credited to Michael Smith*


The Barking Unicorn said...

WTF is a "conscientiously harvested" rattlesnake skin?

aosLeather said...

Conscientious harvesting means that all parts of the animal were used once it was killed. As my post says (and as i have strongly stated in the past), I do not use hides from animal that were killed just for their skin.

The Barking Unicorn said...

"All parts of the animal were used" by whom?

You kill an animal and use it all up for just yourself, and that's "conscientious."

You kill an animal; use its skin; and the rest is used by cats, dogs, coyotes, ants, beetles, microbes... literally millions of Beings... and that is NOT "conscientious?"

Your mortal egocentricity is showing.

Life is never wasted. Life is energy, it cannot be created or destroyed. It can only be transformed, and it always is.

aosLeather said...

The teachings of generations of Native elders go a bit deeper than the shallow reading of mortal egocentricity you've tossed out.
The horror of open prairies full of denuded and rotting bison carcasses was not simply a response to lost meat, it was a response to the obvious fact that if you kill just for the "wrapping" you need not slow down your carnage by dealing with all of the animal's various parts, or gifts, as the elders would say. Such thoughtless and unappreciative killing is repugnant to many. I am one of those many.

Anonymous said...

I agree completely with aosLeather. I'm a Native American and live the traditional life. While I agree that nothing is wasted in nature, one must also realize that the life of an animal CAN be wasted if its mortal remains are not used responsibly.

I also snake hunt and use all of the animal, right down to the bones. I also offer tobacco to the animals' spirit for taking its earthly life---this is as it should be.

Barking Unicorn needs to do some serious reassessing. It's too bad that he/she has to resort to foul language in initials to get their point across.

Lone Wolf Dancing on Thunder