Friday, September 07, 2007
The above lovely critter is my new sporran from the Ferguson Britt collection. It was hand made by L. Adron Britt, master sporran maker. Some of you who have attended some of the Highland Games here in the American southeast may have seen some of his creations.
We are now carrying his line of sporrans through the Scottish Tartans Museum gift shop. Click here to see his sporrans. The introduction of his line represents a continuation of our efforts to showcase the finest examples of quality Highland dress. In this case we are especially proud not only to carry the work of a semi-local artisan, but also to make available to our clients the best that hand crafted tradition has to offer. Adron's leatherworking skill is apparent to anyone who has the good fortune to handle one of his unique creations.
The sporran above I just had to have for myself! The fur is beaver from Quebec, which is naturally dark in color (almost black). It is paired here with black deer hide for the all-leather cantle and black elk braids. I've dealt with sporrans in many different furs, including rabbit, seal, badger, fox and muskrat. But I have to say that nothing in my experience compares to the softness of beaver.
When I bought this sporran my initial thought was that it would be reserved mostly for formal occasions. But I've found myself wearing it casually quite often. It helps had a certain "flair" to my standard daily kilt wearing. Maybe it's because it's the newest sporran in my collection... or maybe it's the irresistible feel of the beaver fur. But I find myself reaching for this one most often in the mornings getting dressed.
The Ferguson Britt collection features many different styles of sporrans, all historically inspired. Some are all leather, some incorporate fur. This one is called the Glengyle, and can be had with or without fur -- and he has some nice furs to offer right now, including some unusual varieties such as bobcat, and even (for a limited time) Japanese fallow deer! Most of them sell in the same price range as one expects in a high quality dress sporran. But unlike most commercially available dress sporrans, one can instantly tell that these were made by an artists, and not spat out by a factory.
Below are some thumbnail images showing different shots of my new sporran. I keep saying to people that you just have to see these in person to appreciate the quality of them, so these close-up shots are my attempt to convey that. If this post sounds like a Ferguson Britt commercial, it is! I'm just really impressed with the quality of this item, and when I find something as nice as this I want to pass it on to the rest of the Highland dress community.
The back is made from deer hide.
The cantle is all-leather. I forget how many layers he said are in it, but it is thick! Very solid, and the elk hide braid detail is especially nice.
The inside is lined with elk suede.
And the pouch itself is more than ample. I normally carry my wallet, work keys, home/car keys, cell phone, and spare change with ease. When I need to add my checkbook (with it's thick leather cover), it easily fits in, as well.
All in all, I recommend any sporran from this line to someone who wants something unique, historically inspired, suitable for casual or formal wear, historic or modern, and who can appreciate true hand crafted quality (which is getting harder and harder to find these days!).