The Bovossuary materialised from a question about taking our shoes off in a public space - this, although now not the question being answered lead me down a rabbit-hole which took me on a journey from genealogy, to mass production via ethics, morality and consumption.


Historically, my hometown of Northampton was the ‘leather H.Q.’ due to the open-land, river Nene and the abundance of oak trees. This of course, lead to the shoe industry where a number of my ancestors were leather workers in the shoe trade. On a trip to purchase leather I started to wonder if leather was, or could be ethical, which also lead me to question Veganism, organic farming, fast-foods and fast-fashion. I also looked into the biggest beef exporter - which is India, and the religious feuds and implications this creates.


I wondered why there’s so much waste in the world, and where does the rest of the cow go? 

I started to create a list. Along with a huge list of dairy products, we use the meat and turn the skin into leather, the fat is turned into tallow - some of this goes into cosmetics, lipstick, body creams, candles, latex, soap, toothpaste even jet fuel. The bones produce gelatine and bone ash is used to produce bone china. Cattle also gives us life-saving medicine such as insulin, blood thinners, osteoarthritis medication, steroids and collagen, and this list is not complete.


I was surprised at how little I knew about this historic animal who has, through history, been a source of food, clothing, medicine and so much more - but as consumers we have become detached from the source. I intended to fill a room full of cow byproducts to try to get people to ask more questions; what is this made of; where does it come from; where does it go?


Reference List:


Carter, K. (2008) Don't hide from the truth. The Guardian, Aug 27. Available at: (Accessed: 1 March 2019)

Nuwer, R. (2016) What would happen if the world suddenly went vegan?. BBC, Sept 27, Availible at: (Accessed: 1 March 2019)

Kim, G. Orwig, J. (2017) Only 60% of a cow is actually used for food - here's the weird stuff that happens to the other 40%, Business Insider, Oct 29 Available at: (Accessed: 1 March 2019)

"Dan Barber" (2015) Chef's Table. California: Netflix

Biswas, S, (2015) Why the humble cow id India's most polarising animal. BBC News. 15 October. Available at: (Accessed:15 March 2019)

Nefertem (2018) 5 reasons you should be using tallow soap. Available at: (Accessed: 22 March 2019)

Bekhechi, M. (2016) Five things would happen if everyone stopped eating meat. Independent. 31 January. Available at: (Accessed: 5 May 2019)

Green, K (2018) A guide to Native cattle breeds of Britain, from Aberdeen Angus to Jerseys. Country Life. 14 April. Available at: (Accessed: 22 May 2019)