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Traditional Crafts

Brain Tanning Deer Skins

Course Overview

In three whirlwind days, using brains, smoke, and hard work, we will take deer skins from their raw state all the way to soft, beautiful buckskin. With instructors Nate Johnson of Dora Lake, MN, and Jeff Harper, Leech Lake Ojibwe from Cass Lake, MN, students will work as a group to tan several hides, which will be shared at the conclusion of class. While there are many ways to tan a hide, this class will teach the wet scrape method. We will soften traditionally with brains, and finish with smoke, all of which produces a strong yet supple leather. Hide tanning is possible regardless of a student’s size or strength – the most important attributes are persistence and determination. However, students must be able to undertake three very physical days with lots of arm work. Open to ages 16+.

Required Tools

  • Rubber boots
  • Rubber gloves (waterproof) to wear while scraping the hide
  • Work clothes

Currently Scheduled Sessions

No sessions currently scheduled for this course.

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