Introduction to Traditional Tanning

Join Josh McLean from The Bush Tannery to learn ethical, traditional tanning techniques.

Workshop details

This six-hour workshop runs on the following dates in 2023:

Sun 16 Apr or
10am – 4pm

Sat 16 Sep
10am – 4pm

CERES Brunswick, corner of Roberts & Stewart Streets, Brunswick East, Victoria

Concession available

Ever attempted to craft your own leathers and fur skins at home? Wanted to learn how but didn’t know where to begin?

Based on traditional methods, all-natural ingredients and ethically sourced skins, beginners will enjoy this introduction to traditional tanning with full-time traditional tanner and leather craft facilitator Josh McLean.

As a participant in this workshop you will:

  • Have access to some of the traditional tools of the trade
  • Help prepare an animal hide from fleshing to stringing it up into a frame to preserve it as a fur skin rug
  • Take away instructions for experimenting at home
  • Have time to ask lots of questions and take notes/photos on the day

Josh McLean learnt the skills of fish leather tanning in Lapland, Sweden, based on master tanner Lotta Rahme’s work. While travelling, Josh had the privilege of learning firsthand from Lotta at her tannery in Sigtuna, and is now operating his own small business here in Australia out of the Yarra Valley called The Bush Tannery.

The knowledge of traditional tanning and leather-crafting has been handed down from various Indigenous groups across the planet with a strong common message and one that Josh fully embraces – craft beautiful textiles that celebrate life, not destroy it.

What will I learn?

  • Traditional tanning methods
  • Hands-on participation

What will I take away?

  • Instructions
  • Practical skills

What should I wear?

  • Comfortable, old clothing that you don’t mind getting stained

Anything else I should know?

  • Some traditional tanning tools and books will be available to purchase on the day depending on stock, so bring some cash in case

Terms and conditions

Our booking and refund policies, concession pricing information, FAQs, as well as other general terms and conditions can be viewed here.

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