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Traditional Crafts

Bark Tanned Sheep Hides

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Course Overview

Tan a sheepskin using natural plant tannins, fats, oils, and some hard work. In this hide tanning course, each student will take home their own beautiful, luxurious, traditionally tanned sheepskin. Bark tanning is a method historically used around the world that creates an extremely durable material, and is said to date back 5000 years. This method utilizes the tannic acid found in certain plant materials to create a bond with the protein structure in the skin, creating a molecular transformation that turns skins into leathers, furs, or tanned hides. Tannins can come from locally harvested plants, but for this style of workshop we’ll be using ethically sourced mimosa bark extract.

This class will start with washing and scraping a raw sheepskin, creating a tannin bath for it to soak in, and completing the process with oil and finishing treatments. Throughout the week we will have demonstrations and discussions about other tanning methods, how to use locally harvested tannins, and do some hands-on projects that utilize home tanned leather. 

Come prepared for some physical labor and tons of learningthe world of tanning is vast and this one method is just a tiny window into all of the possibilities.

Required Tools

  • Waterproof Apron
  • Rubber gloves- Like heavy dishwashing gloves
  • Rubber Boots


Tue, Apr 4th, 2023  –  Sun, Apr 9th, 2023

Course Details

Hours: 9am-5pm each day
Tuition: $525.00
Materials fee: $180.00
Latest Update: View recent changes →

Meet the Instructor

North House Folk School photo of instructor, Emily Derke
Emily Derke
Northhome, MN

Meet the Instructor

North House Folk School photo of instructor, Eric Edgin
Eric Edgin
Grand Marais, MN

Meet the Instructor

North House Folk School photo of instructor, Molly Meyer
Molly Meyer
Grand Marais, MN

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Bark Tanned Sheep Hides