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Fri, 22 Nov



Deer Skin Tanning - Northern Ireland

Learn the ancient skill of Brain Tanning Deer Skin over 3 information packed days using natural, non-toxic and easily available materials!

Deer Skin Tanning - Northern Ireland
Deer Skin Tanning - Northern Ireland

Time & Location

22 Nov 2024, 10:00 – 24 Nov 2024, 17:00

Ballymena, Glengad, Ballymena, Co. Donegal, Ireland

About the event

Price per person: TBA

3 Day course

12 Students maximum

Before the advent of modern tanning agents, humans were turning raw skin into usable leather products using very basic techniques and materials. Learn to produce incredibly soft, strong and durable leather from raw animal skin using one of humankind’s earliest tanning technologies! Utilising materials readily available in the surrounding environment we will walk through the steps of this transformation.

This class will focus on tanning Deer Skin with a variation of fat tanning using brains as the dressing agent*. Whilst not for the squeamish the end product is worth the work! The class will cover rehydrating dried furs, de-fleshing, dressing and softening the fur skins, as well as smoking them so they can be 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! So, please join me for a course sure to contain plenty of memorable moments, lots of practical information and, if you put in the work**, one that will see you heading home with a beautiful, unique and usable traditionally tanned fur!

* 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 skins, 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 booking onto the course please!

Additional Information:

Duration: 3 days (Friday 10:00 am - Sunday ± 17:00 pm)

Group size: Min 6 - Max 12

Prerequisites: None


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


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.

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