Traditional Deer Skin Tanning Friday 27th - Sunday 29th August 2021
Dr Theresa Kamper is an avid practitioner of traditional living skills and primitive technology of all kinds. An interest which came in part from growing up in the Rocky Mountains in the USA, where backpacking, hunting and fishing were part of the culture. She has followed this interest into the academic field of Experimental Archaeology in which she holds a PhD from the University of Exeter in the UK. Theresa has been tanning skins using traditional technologies for over 25 years. Learning to tan was a natural offshoot of the attempt to use as much of the animal as possible and had the added bonus of producing a beautiful end product. She includes in her instruction a diverse range of information, from skin morphology to helpful hints in dealing with the numerous and frustrating problems which are often encountered when first learning to tan.
Before the advent of modern tanning agents, humans were turning raw skin into usable leather products using very basic techniques and materials. Learn to produce incredibly soft, strong and durable leather from raw animal skin using one of human kind’s earliest tanning technologies. Utilizing materials readily available in the surrounding environment we will walk through the steps of this transformation. Come learn the progression of this process from raw skin to beautiful, usable, finished leather.
Over 3 full days this course will focus on tanning deer skins with a variety of fat tanning which uses Lecithin and oil* as the dressing agent. Whilst not for the squeamish the end product is worth the work! The class will cover removing the meat and fat (de-fleshing), removing the outer grain layer (de-graining), alkalining for ground substance removal, applying the tanning agents (dressing), softening and smoking the skins.
In addition to Theresa's enthusiastic instruction, she will provide comfortable, easy to use tools and detailed handouts covering the tanning process, as well as ethnographic anecdotes and a list of helpful literature for those who wish to further their own knowledge of tanning. Participants will go home with their own beautiful, unique and usable piece of traditionally tanned leather.
* The use of brains or egg yolks as an alternative dressing agent will be covered.
Please be aware that a reasonable amount of fitness is required for this course. I will provide instruction on good technique and timing with the skins, but you will need to be able to be on your feet and active for 6 to 8 hours per day.
PLEASE READ ALL OUR COVID19 INFORMATION.
FREE CAMPING ON SITE IS AVAILABLE TO ATTENDEES ONLY WHO ARE ON THIS COURSE.
Further accommodation is available within the local area & some suggestions can be found on our 'local accommodation' page - please arrange this yourself.
Toilet and classroom all easily accessible from the car park.
*Please bring own food, drinking vessels and face mask*.
Attendees must be over 16.