Kate Macpherson - Wild Sporrans

By Solveig - Thursday, February 15, 2018

I have recently had the privilege of meeting Kate Macpherson, Scotland's most brilliant sporran maker, at her beautiful remote farm in the heart of the Highlands. 

One of Kate's new and innovative pheasant sporran... 

On our arrival, after testing the Land Rover on the steep snowy track leading to this enchanted place, Kate warmly welcomed us at her unreal winter wonderland. After a few meters on-foot in the crunchy snow, we have been invited in; taped our snowy shoes outside and entered her Alpine-looking cabin workshop. Here reigns a serene and creative atmosphere, that is truly one of a kind. 

The feeling within Kate's workshop reminded me of this Alpine cabin I recently visited 

Growing up in the countryside, Kate started taxidermy very young and has learned from the best, first with big game, through Mike Wyndham Wright. Since then she has specialized in smaller animals and she now has 30 years experience in making unique, hand stitched sporrans - both in the traditional full mask style and in new fun innovative designs. 

We had the chance to learn a lot and share many nice stories and unique memories of Kate's 

What makes Kate very unique as well, is that all the skins used for making her sporrans are ethically sourced, and are either left over from the game and farming industries, road kill, have died a natural death or are reused materials from vintage stoles and bags… Also, any protected species has the required licenses as per Scottish National Heritage regulations. It is great to acknowledge too, that if Kate didn’t give a second life to these beautiful creatures, they would sadly be discarded and their natural beauty wasted or lost forever. 

The last one Kate has been working on is this big dog fox, brought in by a local young gamekeeper. He is one of the biggest she has worked on to date and even required additional leather trim for the back of the sporran he'll be mounted on. 

Kate's level of taxidermy is fantastic. She also does her very own moulds and skull mounts, meaning each creation is different from the last. This makes her work more unique than ever! 

The eyes are so realistic they could easily be mistaken for real eyes. They are indeed meticulously painted by hand and selected by Kate 

We can only confirm Kate loves each of her animals. She spends a lot of time with them from the first time she gets given the already dead animal until the sporran is finalised. There is a real art to her work and so much care is taken to show off the animal in the best and most respectful way. The bond between her and her creations is obvious... The tender way she talks about them, the way she showed us how beautiful and soft they are, how incredible their little whiskers are. It was a truly unique moment to live and I will always remember it. I was very touched, as Kate genuinely gives them a second life and beauty which would have been otherwise wasted. We must also acknowledge that Kate's work carries on a long line of Scottish tradition, tradition that must be respected and protected. 

In Kate's workshop, hang all sorts of different past works and memories. Here is the impressive Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Officers "Swinging-six" badger sporran - a treasured family heirloom 

Kate uses locally sourced pheasant, foxes, badgers, deer, mink, pine martens, hares etc... 

Amongst them all, I have fallen for one and was moved when meeting him for real... He is so tiny, he could have only been a child's sporran, which was perfect as it's exactly the size I enjoy wearing with my skirts or kilts... Have you spotted it yet? It is the wonderful little male Red squirrel that you can see on the right. Kate was given this little injured and inert body by a kind and friendly neighbour who found him, sadly killed by a cat. (With certificate by SNH)

My new friend who will travel through Scotland with me and who I will always look after. 

One unique art work hanging in Kate's wooden cabin workshop. Again, pheasants given by local game keepers. 

Beautiful Mountain hare with its precious winter coat. They are the only animal in the UK to have been around since the last ice age, 10,000 years ago. 

As an animal lover, we can say that Kate truly celebrates the wonderful Scottish wildlife and creates incredibly unique sporrans that will last of a lifetime and more; dare I say it but I believe in years to come Kate Macpherson sporrans will be highly sought after and very rare collectables! 

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