Modeled by Lavanyai. Photo Credit: Vincent Hohn
After graduating from Boston College (and later starting her career at the MIT Sloan School of Management), Pamela Paquin was 15 years into a career as a sustainable business consultant for for-profit businesses in Europe and the US when she saw a flaw in a system she thought could use her expertise: roadkill was a terrible waste of good fur.
“I had finished one job directing an institute in Vermont, had some free time and was in New Hampshire and had seen a bunch of dead animals, and thought to myself ‘well, maybe I could try this’,” she says, noting the idea of having to do the dirty work wasn’t a concern. “I was brought up on a New England farm, raising animals to later kill and eat, so I had experience with [skinning animals].”
So she started talking to state fish and wildlife officials in NH, and worked out the details to obtaining the roadkill as it pertains to legal and health related issues, got a fur buyers license, and in November of last year, got to work. She’s just begun taking custom orders, which come lined with silk to stay warm and breathable. But before starting a new order, she brings clients some furs to touch.
“You have to feel the fur. It’s a very intimate thing,” she says.
Right now she’s only doing accessories like neck-muffs, beaver hats, gloves, and even capelets, which can be made to order using everything from black bear, coyote, fisher cat, beaver, raccoon, possum, and fox (basically whatever is dead and she can get her hands on).
While the pelts and furs take 3-6months to go through the tanning process, it becomes a labor of love. One, she says, is possibly marked by her ancestral Mohawk roots. “They had a spiritual connection to animals and fur, and nothing was wasted,” she says.
Although the chances of a Mohawk hunter coming upon a fox that’s been pancaked by an 18-wheeler are probably pretty slim.
[PETITE MORT BY PAMELA PAQUIN. NOW TAKING ORDERS. FACEBOOK.COM/PAQUINPETITEMORT]