Due to livestock farming and industrial slaughter methods the prices for animal products decreased extremely in the recent past. While just some decades ago farm animals where highly valued and mostly all of their resources were further processed, in present times only the tastiest and easiest to prepare parts of an animal are actually used. Today less then half of an animal is really further processed in Germany. All the rest goes to animal rendering plants and thus more or less directly to the garbage can. Since we never get in contact with the slaughter process of our food, we started to be disgusted by the by-products of animals.
But are slaughter by-products really nothing more than waste? Is our rejective attitude towards these materials justified and legitimate? Or shouldn’t we, if we really need to kill an animal, at least appreciate all of its resources instead?
Based on these questions I initiated the INNER VALUES project. I tried to find answers to the question of whether or not we can overcome stereotypical aesthetics; whether we can appreciate supposedly repellent materials. Is it possible to change our habitual perception?
The results of this journey are two seating furnitures out of tanned and further processed cattle intestines and pigs’ bladders, transformed to soft seating leather. Thereby, the former poor reputation of the supposed „waste products“ is being replaced and infused with opposite values. The materials advance to become something beautiful, inviting and supple, which people like to explore and to rest on. The chairs uncover the true value and unique beauty of these inner skins.
Since I worked with materials that has never been used in this form before, the project started with various material studies to explore the skins, to understand their characteristics and qualities and to try out different possibilities to conserve them with both traditional and new tanning processes. Based on the findings of these first trials I decided to use tanned pigs’ bladders and cattle intestines, which are both waste materials, usually thrown away after slaughter. I found out that this skins can have equal qualities as conventional leather after they where cleaned, pickled, regressed and tanned with chromium sulphate or potassium aluminium sulfate for several weeks.
The outcomes demonstrate that it is not just very reasonable but also highly aesthetic to use and further process this materials.