Traditional Scottish Hide Tanning Course 11th- 17th August 2021
Join us in the heart of the Scottish Highlands for a six day traditional hide tanning course.

Explore the ancient art of hide tanning and leather working practised in Scotland by our ancestors. During the course you will produce your own buckskin deer hide for clothes making, bark tanned sheepskins as well as producing your own traditional leather drinking vessels.

The highlights:

-learning ancient tanning methods practiced by our ancestors in Scotland
-producing beautifully tanned buckskin and barktan hides which you can use to make bags, clothing or bed rolls
-producing your own natural water vessels and containers made of barktan leather
-staying next to a Highland Loch surrounded by beautiful mountains
-evenings around the campfire
-Animal processing
-crafting tools from stone and other natural materials
-beautiful Scottish surroundings, including woodland hikes and ancient Scottish sites such as the Falls of Acharan stone circle, iron age hill forts, old copper sites and the Fortingall Yew (one of the oldest trees in Britain)

During this course you will have time to craft, become part of a primitive skills community and escape to a beautiful place in nature.

This course is suitable for beginners, advanced tanners and previous participants.
The ancient art of bark tanning
Hide tanning and leather working as a community
Course Details:
The highlights

-learning ancient tanning methods practiced by our ancestors in Scotland
-producing beautifully tanned buckskin and barktan hides which you can use to make bags, clothing or bed rolls
-producing your own natural water vessels and containers made of barktan leather
-staying next to a Highland Loch surrounded by beautiful mountains
-evenings around the campfire
-Animal processing
-crafting tools from stone and other natural materials
-beautiful Scottish surroundings, including woodland hikes and ancient Scottish sites such as the Falls of Acharan stone circle, iron age hill forts, old copper sites and the Fortingall Yew (one of the oldest trees in Britain)

The course

During this six day tanning course, you will learn two traditional ways of hide tanning practised in Scotland to create beautiful leather while taking time to craft, be in nature and become part of a community of craftspeople. At the end of this course, you will have practiced two types of leather making using natural materials and low-tech tools and techniques.

The goal of this course is to learn traditional tanning methods, come together as a primitive skills community, take home two finished hides, an eco friendly water container and gain the skills and confidence to continue with hide tanning projects in the future.

This course is hosted by Peter Ananin from The Woodland Tannery

Do you want to read and see more about your host? Check the following links:

Peter Ananin, Woodland Tannery
www.woodlandtannery.co.uk

Hide Camp

During the courses we will provide guidance, tools, knowledge, hides and an inspiring workshop space.
We would suggest that the tanning of 2 hides is doable in the course time (these skills will be with you for a lifetime), if you wish to tan additional hides they can be sourced from us for an additional fee of £4-£10 each, if requested prior to the course. Hide tanning can be an intensely physical process but we will aim to help each other as much as possible.

The two main tanning methods we will cover are:

Bark tanning sheep skins

You will tan a sheep hide wool-on using a method inspired by traditional Scottish sheep tanning and Sami reindeer herder methods using bark such as birch, larch and oak. By rubbing in a bark solution using your hands and some simple stone and bone tools, you will create a relatively light material capable of being used both in and outdoors. It is also possible to impregnate it, for example with fats and oil, to make it water repellent. This meditative and joyful exercise produces a leather well suited for making blankets, hats, jackets, leg and wrist warmers.

Brain or Oil Tanning, commonly called ‘buckskin'

Originating among many Indigenous nations including Scotland & America, the process of making buckskin is a true metamorphosis of both hide and tanner. Through lots of physical effort, you will take a deer skin through several stages. From cleaning and scraping, softening with brains or eggs, and finally smoking to make it weather resistant - you will learn how to create a material that can last for a lifetime and beyond. The finished product is excellent to use as clothing due to its softness and flexibility.

Other methods we will touch on are Peat bog tanning and tanning with Tormentil which were two very important ways of tanning hides in the Highlands of Scotland.

Leather vessel making

During this years tanning course we will be making leather vessels and containers using 4 key elements: bark tan leather, sand, cord and beeswax. Being able to carry water is just as vital now as it was for our ancestors, leather vessels such as these are hard wearing and naturally anti bacterial.

Course Summary

-group gathering at the start of each day to explain what the day will look like
-Crafting primitive tools from stone and other natural materials
-learning the process of cleaning and scraping hides
-discuss the many uses of bark: to produce leather, medicine and as a way of preserving foods
-traditional Scottish bark tanning methods
-traditional Scottish oil tanning methods
-making your own beautiful tanned hides which can be used to make bedrolls, clothing or other leather items
-making and sewing your own water vessels and containers from barktan leather
-natural antibacterial remedies
-harvesting tanning materials out on the land
-Animal processing
-side projects if there is time, introduction to sewing with leather…
-If the hides allow us we can take time to walk around the woodland, loch and in the mountains
-If necessary we will work on the hides during the evenings, otherwise you are free for personal wanders, coming together for stories, music and social time around the campfire.

Health

During the course we will primarily be based in our primitive camp but during our time we will be walking across the land, so a general level of fitness is recommended. We can cater for different levels of fitness and health but please let us know beforehand if you have any specific medical conditions.

Needs/Intention

To make this week personally fit your needs, we would like to have contact through Skype, phone or email prior to your arrival. We would like to hear what you would like to get out of the course so we can try to meet your needs as best as we possibly can. This process can be just as transformative for the hide as for the tanner.

Food

During the week we will be processing animals in a respectful way by preserving and cooking them to contribute to the food we eat during the course. We will aim to use every part of the animal.

Please bring your own breakfasts, lunches and something to contribute to shared dinners such as vegetables , meat or wild foraged edibles. We can set up a group discussion prior to the course, if you wish, to organise group meals together.

Food can be sourced from a local farm at Tombreck and from Aberfeldy.
Please let us know of any dietary or allergy restrictions.

www.tombreck.co.uk

Accommodation

During your stay you will be camping in our primitive camp, with camp fires, a traditional wall tent and other basic land facilities.
Please bring along a tent, tarp or shelter to sleep in, ideally something that blends into the environment, any questions feel free to get in touch.

What to bring

Clothing
Warm clothing such as woollen jumpers, walking boots and waterproof clothing, work clothes, gloves and an apron for working with the hides. Ideally natural mute colours/natural fibres where possible.

Sleeping gear
Headlamp, sleeping mat, sleeping bag/blankets and shelter/tent, ideally natural mute colours/natural fibres where possible.

Tools and cutlery
A good work knife for the tanning part of the course,folding saw, cutlery, bowl, plate, cooking pot, cup and water container.

Additional
If you have a musical instrument such as a guitar or drum then bring that along for evenings around the fire

Ethos

Our courses are set up around the ethos that working with our hands, being out in nature and working together as a community is good for our health and wellbeing. As a community coming together we ask that people show kindness, patience and respect to each other and the landscape.

In line with the ethos of our course, we try to encourage low impact living and creating a nice atmosphere.
We try to encourage zero waste, avoiding single use plastics and encourage natural mute colours/natural fibres where possible.
Giving us all a chance to detox from plastic although we realise we live in a modern world, where jackets and wellies are helpful.

Location

This years course location is situated in a beautiful woodland on the banks of Loch Tay near Aberfeldy in the Highlands of Perth and Kinross, surrounded by scenic mountains and nature.

Arrival
4pm on the 11th of August 2021

Departure
5pm on the 17th of August 2021

Transport

The Woodland is within 2 hours of Glasgow, Inverness and Edinburgh by car. The nearest train station is at Pitlochry or Dunkeld just off the A9.

If you let us know how you are travelling we can try to organise car shares and pick ups.

Tuition & Registration


£500 for 6 days, with a £50 deposit to be paid with the reservation. This includes the camp site, the course, tanning tools and course materials. You can contact us for low income options.

Contact

Do not hesitate to contact us with any of your questions, thoughts or ideas!

Peter Ananin
woodlandtannery@gmail.com
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Please note that due to the limited number of spaces available, your place is not confirmed until your deposit of £50 has been paid.

We will send payment details in a follow up message.

Important: Please include your name in the payment reference so we can keep a track of bookings.

To be paid in full by June 2021

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We would like to thank you for booking your place on the Traditional Scottish Hide Tanning course with us and choosing to join our primitive skills community.

Best wishes from all of us at the Woodland Tannery

If you have any questions contact us at:

woodlandtannery@gmail.com
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