The Fox’s Trousers is a small home business. Actually, business is a strong word. I muck about in my shed at home, and occasionally something gets finished. These finished products seem to be quite popular with certain people, so I exchange them for money.
In 2016, I lost my job after a series of incidents involving some incredibly nasty people. This resulted in a dash of depression, an overflowing cup of anxiety and a pinch of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; so I spent most of 2017 sulking. My too-awesome-for-words partner helped me get through that seriously crappy time, and after I’d finished pretty much every computer game I owned, I eventually started to look through the tools I had been left after my dad had passed. Among them I found a Dremel – one of those buzzy tools like a tiny drill that dentists and nail artists use. It turns out you can use them for carving stuff as well, so I went into the garden and found a stick to poke at. About a half hour later that stick had become a smoking pipe – “Well this is rather cathartic” I thought, and set about making some more stuff. A few more pipes in different types of wood were turned out, and then I got my hands on some bone, followed by some antler. I crafted a few pendants, and I thought I’d have a go at some Pounamu (greenstone). And then I quit, it was just too hard; but I did have a lot of time on my hands, and with more research, I figured out how to work stone.
It wasn’t long before friends were encouraging me to market my creations – make a facebook page or something. Around that time my kids had started playing a silly game we got from the local toy store called ‘Catch the Fox’, which is an odd name, as catching a fox is never the aim of the game. The fox puts chickens in his pants, at a random point the fox’s trousers fall down and the chickens go everywhere, and you’re meant to collect all the scattered chickens and put them back in the henhouse. Fantastic game when you’re less than sober. This is how The Fox’s Trousers was born – and the weird stuff I made out of dead things and rocks became more and more popular.
I started processing and carving skulls; doing my best to make use of all parts of an animal. At this point I must once again point out how fantastic my partner is, she has not only put up with, but helped me to process heads, feathers being cleaned in the bath, bird feet drying in the oven, and billy goat skins airing in the laundry. She has contained herself when I bought 750 ostrich eggs, and when I had a literal mountain of dead animals delivered to the house. All of this weirdness has taken place over the last year or so, and has become part of our identity. At one point we came home and there was a note with a phone number taped to the door, saying that someone we didn’t know had a couple of cattle heads for us. The local courier driver is getting used to delivering packages to our place marked ‘Fragile – Snake Skeletons’ and such like. I should point out that I do have a fondness for dead things and pretty rocks, the job I lost was a sciencey sort of thing.
My creations are definitely niche sort of items, but at the same time there seems to be something that can appeal to just about anyone. The Vikings and Historical Re-enactors are keen on replicas of ancient items, the Skulls and Badassery crowd are all over the animal skulls, science people are keen on the skeletons, and I’ve even had long conversations with old ladies about how they used to use, decorate and carve eggs when they were younger. Somehow, within this range of individuals I have become one of the cool kids, which never fails to make me puff up with pride, even just a little.
I’m not yet sure how this will go in the future, I’d really love it to become a full time thing that will somehow morph into a proper business. The IRD scares me though, they give me maths homework.
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