The ideas pervading this field of design echo those of the nose-totail eating movement, pioneered by chef Fergus Henderson. Both take inspiration from a time when animal farming was done on a smaller scale and it was considered good sense to use all parts of a slaughtered beast. This kind of thinking is visible in 374, a project by British designer Alice V. Robinson, the daughter of a vet. She has created a range of leather accessories made from a single animal, whose meat was also served as part of a dinner at the museum. ‘By working with one bullock, I aim to acknowledge the life behind the products we are so often disconnected from,’ she writes.
A return to smaller-scale farming and a more efficient, holistic system of processing are two potential pathways to minimising the quantity of animal products that are disposed of – and both seem to chime with the ethos of craft and its focus on the bespoke, customised and material-led. The ethical questions surrounding meat production itself, however, are certain to continue.
This is an extract from an article that first appeared in the July/August 2019 issue of Crafts magazine