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Thu, 15 Aug



Beaver Fur Hat- Tan, Sew and Decorate - €450

Learn the ancient skill of fur tanning in 2 days using natural, non-toxic and easily available materials! Then sew and adorn using ink and pigments a warm, custom made fur hat. Special guest instructor! Pigment specialist and author Caroline Ross.

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Beaver Fur Hat- Tan, Sew and Decorate - €450
Beaver Fur Hat- Tan, Sew and Decorate - €450

Time & Location

15 Aug 2024, 09:00 – 18 Aug 2024, 16:00

Beaurières, 1707 Chem. des Marguerites, 26310 Beaurières, France

About the event

Beaver Fur Tanning, Hat Sewing and Decoration with Ink and Pigments for Leather

Before the advent of modern tanning agents, humans were turning raw skin into usable leather products using very basic techniques and materials. Come learn to produce incredibly soft, strong and durable leather from raw animal skin using humankind’s earliest tanning technologies! We will utilise materials readily available in the surrounding environment as we walk through the steps of this transformation. You will learn the progression of this process from raw skin right through to sewing a beautiful, finished fur hat!

Days 1 and 2 of this workshop will focus on tanning Beaver furs using a combination of wet scrape and dry scraping techniques. We will tan beautiful North American Beaver furs with a variety of fat tanning which uses Lecithin and oil* as the dressing agent. Whilst not for the squeamish the final product is worth the work!

The class will cover rehydrating dried furs, de-fleshing, thinning out thick areas in the skin, applying the tanning solution (dressing) and softening the skins, as well as smoking them so they can be more easily washed.

In addition to enthusiastic instruction, I 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!

Day 3 you will learn how to measure for and make your hat pattern. We will cover laying the pattern out in the correct orientation on the fur so that the fur lays in an aesthetically pleasing way and how to stitch the pieces together. By evening you will be well on your way to completing a warm cosy fur hat, custom made to fit you!

Day 4 you will join guest instructor and pigment specialist, Caroline Ross to learn how to make traditional natural permanent inks and earth paints for use on the inner side of fur skins, leather and parchment.

Using simple techniques and ancient recipes we will create a range of beautiful colours to decorate bags, hats, gloves, clothes and shoes, and inks with which to add fine designs to natural leathers, or to embellish vintage leather. Using techniques and recipes from the Stone Age to the Renaissance, we will make and use our inks and paints, create drawing tools, and learn what mediums are best in which circumstances. Many of the things we will make are also good to use on wood, fabric or paper, too.

You may choose to work on the fur hat you have made on the course, or you can use the day to practice on chamois, suede and other leathers. All materials will be provided. You'll go home with some ink and paints, test swatches on leather. You can also bring a small leather item to work on in the session, if you wish.

Please join Caroline and I for a course sure to contain plenty of memorable moments, lots of practical information and, provided you put in the work **, one that will see you heading home with a one of a kind Beaver fur hat, tanned, sewn and decorated by your own hand!

* 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 fur tanning, but you will need to be able to be on your feet and active for 6 to 8 hours per day.

Any serious injuries need to be discussed with me prior to attending the course please!

Guest Instructor Bio!

Caroline Ross is an artist and writer living in Bournemouth, UK. Her debut book ‘Found and Ground: A Practical Guide to Making your own Foraged Paints’ was published by Search Press in June 2023. She is writing the follow up about ancient and foraged drawing materials, to be published spring 2025. Caroline teaches workshops on many aspects of art, as well as how to make many wild-crafted art materials. Her drawings, paintings and illustrations can be found in books, online periodicals, and private collections. She is a regular contributor and member of the Dark Mountain Project and has had many pieces published in their books since 2015. She is also a member of the Wilderness Art Collective. For more work and workshops see For her long form writing on the embodied life and art where Earth matters, go to

Learning Outcomes:

  • Preserving raw furs for future use
  • Thinning thick skins
  • Fat tanning small hair-on skins/furs.
  • Using smoke in the tanning process.
  • Chemistry behind the tanning magic so you can better problem solve during future tanning projects.
  • Understanding basic pattern making, how does something 2-dimensional transform to cover something 3-dimensional.
  • Basic stiches for used for sewing soft leather.
  • Discussion and examples of different threads available prior to the industrial era.
  • How to make iron gall and other inks.
  • How to refine pigments from rocks and clays.
  • How to make paints with various natural binders that will adhere to leathers and suedes.
  • Make improvised tools for paint application.
  • Learn the principles of colour making to adapt to any environment.
  • Learn the basic chemistry and troubleshooting so that you can experiment and problem-solve on your own.
  • Work from simple natural objects such as leaves and feathers to create beautiful designs.

Additional Information:

COST: €450.00

€100 deposit required for registration. *

The remaining course fee (€350.00) is due on the first day of the course.

You may pay via Paypal or Bank Transfer. Or…. Cash is encouraged and gladly accepted!

*Cancelation policy: Deposit refunded up to 4 weeks before the course start date. After this the deposit is forfeit.

Duration: 4 days (Thursday 9:00 am - Sunday ± 17:00 pm)

Group size: Min 6 - Max 12

Prerequisites: None


Information TBA


Beaurieres, 26310, 1707 chemin des marguerites, France


There is plenty of room for camping and outdoor fires are permitted, and wood is available. Camping will be the easiest (and the most fun) option for accommodation for the course! However, if you would prefer a bit more luxury hotels and BnB’s are available is approximately a 20-minute drive from the course site.


This course is self-catering so come prepared to cook for yourself please! I am many things, but a talented cook is not one of them.

Note that Lunch and Dinner for the 2nd day of the course should be something easy, as the second day can be long, depending on the moods of the weather gods!   

Included: All course materials, coffee/tea

Not included: Accomodation apart from camping, Food


  • Beaver Fur Hat Workshop

    The €100.00 deposit payable now, holds your space on the course! The remainder of the balance is due at the start of the course. Looking forward to seeing you there!

    +€2.50 service fee
    Sale ended



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