Monday, June 14, 2010

Faux fur

I have mentioned the extinct Tasmanian tiger - or thylacine - before and linked to film footage of it. But the news today is that Hobart artists David Hurst and Rebecca Kisling (2nd image) created an imitation thylacine hide - complete with head and tail - from a merino sheepskin. Hurst relishes the irony of bringing the Tasmanian tiger back (in a sense) through the use of one of its favorite meals - one of the stock animals it was hunted to extinction for killing. The replica pelts have been crafted in a limited edition and will sell for $6,000.* One of Hurst's 1st clients is Tasmania's Mole Creek Hotel. The artist likes the idea of the faux hides becoming tactile displays.

Hurst did his research before he embarked on the project, and has touched and smelled authentic thylacine skins like the tanned specimen of one of the last wild tigers shot in 1930 and curated at the National Museum of Australia (1st image). Hurst's creations are a fraction of the cost of what the real thing can fetch at auction. In 2002, a rug made from genuine pelts of eight tasmanian tiger pups sold for nearly $270,000.

*At current exchange rates, the Australian Dollar is currently worth .861 of the U.S. Dollar.

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