ASTRAKHAN

A pen and ink drawing of tightly curled persian lamb fur, commonly called ‘Astrakhan’.

Astrakhan was very popular on fur coats during the first half of the 20th century, usually in black colour. I drew this from various bits of vintage fur.

The structure of this tightly curled fur in its deceptive uniformity is rather mesmerising, I became really absorbed in it. To me it appears like a frozen process, a vision of something intangible – maybe resembling a pattern of how thoughts develop or concepts evolve.

The resulting drawing emphasises this mesmerising quality. For me it has a certain delicious darkness to it, something visceral, but also something very elegant, decadent and dandyish.

Below are some work in progress images, including some initial experiments with inverted drawings. A preliminary study is available as a limited edition art print. I followed specific parts of the fur and drew them very faithfully, trying to capture its essence and attempting to understand the mystery behind the structure.

I made the finished drawing into a continuous pattern with an unobvious repeat, available as an upholstery velvet. The velvet really adds to the illusion of depth and softness. It also exists as a long silk satin dandy scarf.