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  • Writer's pictureJ.V. Becker

Ode to Auroch

Updated: Jan 8, 2019

Over open plains on ancient earth,

herds of holy beasts wander forth.

Seeking out new lands to graze,

with young alongside gaurded days.

Living prehistoric man,

seeks shelter by his bovine friend.

Providers nourish and clothe his kin;

so might we remain grateful then-

A hundred thousand years survived,

because of the cattle by his side.


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Auroch, the great ancient bull, sculpted in leather


It is wonderful to have the opportunity to create art and in such an old and new way.

Our ancestors have been working with leather since they began to hunt over 98,000 years ago. Before modern, domesticated cattle, nomadic man was able to obtain food, clothing, shelter and eventually assistance in farming; all because of the regal cow. Primeval humans were toolmakers and were only limited by their imaginations. Drums and masks for ceremonies, toys for children, shoes, baskets, bags, weaponry, armor, saddlery, jewelry and even entire canoes were crafted from specially tanned hides of cattle. These skills would be passed down for generations.

The only reason any of this can be done today is because the leather we primarily use now is a byproduct of the food industry. As long as meat is being distributed, there will be hides. For those of us who work with it, we learn that it's very much a don't waste any part of the animal, way of thinking. Appreciating what these amazing creatures have given up for us is important to remember and leather artists honor them in their various ways; usually in being quite meticulous with their craft and wasting very little.

A new brand for a primeval art evolving ...

As an artist I feel my direction with leather sculpture and subject choice has progressed into an area where a re-branding of identity would be appropriate. Skelosaurz dinosaur kits will definitely remain in place as they are but will eventually be under the name of Palaeo Leather (Palaeo being the British variant of paleo, prefix for palaeo-lithic and meaning: older or ancient, especially relating to the geological past).

Palaeo Leather Fossils' symbol is a cave-painted Auroch, the ancient bull who started it all for humanity and evolved alongside us, helping us to become who we are as a species today.

In a shortened artist statement, my goal is to show appreciation for the animals that have benefited mankind by sharing small sculptures as memories of our planet's biological past together. Then to continue precendently beyond our own prehistory on Earth.

Palaeo Leather will offer fossil kits based upon a variety of extinct animals and would strive to maintain in miniature, the ancient skill of water-forming leather; a beneficial, natural craft for our species in any era.

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