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Fri, 29 Nov



Fur and Fish Skin Tanning - Rathmore, Ireland - €350.00

Over 3 information packed days learn to Bark/Vegetable tan Fish Skins and Fat tan Fox Furs using natural, non-toxic and easily accessible materials from the world around you!

Fur and Fish Skin Tanning - Rathmore, Ireland - €350.00
Fur and Fish Skin Tanning - Rathmore, Ireland - €350.00

Time & Location

29 Nov 2024, 10:00 – 01 Dec 2024, 17:00

Rathmore, Rathmore, Co. Meath, Ireland

About the event

Fish Skin and Fox Fur Tanning ---- Bark and Buckskin!

Before the advent of modern tanning agents, humans were turning raw skin into usable processed products using very basic techniques and materials for 100s of thousand years. Come learn to produce incredibly soft, strong and durable leather from raw animal skin using humankind’s earliest skin processing 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 to beautiful, usable, finished leather or fur!

This is some of the most durable and warmest textile you will ever work with! Not to mention it is renewable, completely biodegradable and when WELL MANNAGED, is and incredible healthy and sustainable resource which, when killed with skill, can be as humanely harvested as any domestic livestock. In fact.... Depending on the livestock rules of some countries, perhaps even more humanely.

This course will focus on tanning Fox furs (If the weather looks dire.... I may make the executive decision to change this to Mink furs which are culled as an invasive species in all of the UE including the British Isles. They have shorter fur, so dry faster.....  and Fish skins over the course of 3 (very) full days! We will tan either beautiful Red Fox furs or, Weather Dependent, Dark Brown, Sleek Mink Furs with a variety of Fat tanning which uses Lecithin and oil* as the dressing agent. Followed buy smoke, to make washing your furs a breeze, as well as discourage wool moths and dermestid beetles which are the scourge of all furs!! Heck, even Chrome tan which is mildly toxic suffers from these little devils!

We will cover both prevention and salvage from these insect scourges, as well as how to maintain/preserve furs for future tanning, as life happens and sometime that lovely roadkill is just not top priority!

With the Fish Skins (Salmon) we will switch it up a bit from Fat Tanning over to Vegetable Tanning (also called Bark Tan) for the Fish Skins using oak bark extract. If I can manage to source enough eel skins, we will also Fat Tan 1 eel for each person so you can compare the two methods!

We will, of course, cover how to use barks from your local environment for tanning as well!

The extract simply allows us to stay within our intense 3 day time frame!

Whilst not for the squeamish the end product is well worth the work, and the process is good Craic! ;)

The class will cover removing the meat and fat from the inner skin surface (flesh side) of both the fish and furs, removing the scales (for fish), applying the tanning agents, then softening the skins. The final day will cover smoking the Fox Furs to increase their washability and decrease their drying time, as well as oiling and softening your Fish Skins.

And don't you worry! I'll bore you with the chemistry of what'sgoing on in your skin at each stage as well as the most accepted theories of howthe tanning mechanisms functions. No class with me is complete without a bit of historical context concerning when and where these arts have been practiced!

Why, however........(Ongoing Annoyance Here) is for fortune tellers! Very simply that’s not a question good science can answer about the past, because except in very rare circumstances, we can't ask the people with a living tradition of the craft in question..... but do feel free to hypothesis!! That's what evening fire chitchat lives for!

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! Join me and the group 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 2 to 3 unique, beautiful, and durable traditionally tanned skins!

* 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 attending the course please!

I do my best to accommodate for all kinds of needs!! And have done so for some complex ones in the past.

Tanning is for EVERYONE! So, don't be shy, let's have a chat!

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I KNOW IT's LIKE 20 Whole Paragraphs..... Which, for context..... is, 1 chapter in Harry Potter and basically all the good parts of '50 Shades of Smut Written Poorly.' 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------So, I know you can do this!!-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Additional Information:

COST: €350

You only pay a €100 deposit when you go to register. This holds your space on the course. 

Please pay the remainder on the first day of the course. 

Cash is king!!..... But I can also take payment pretty much every way under the sun (except with country specific apps like Venmo, Swift, etc.)

Duration: 3 days (Friday 10:00 am - Sunday ± 17:00 pm) Please don't be late, or message if you are. You are welcome to come the night before!

Group size: Min 6 - Max 12--- I take no more than 12 people, because I want actually know you by end of the course, and feel like you got all the attention and detailed clarification you need!

Prerequisites: None


Our venue for this course is a Lovely Farm owned and operated by Sarah Machon, and her family who are kindly hosting and facilitating this course!  She is your go to for anything LOGISTICS related;Directions,  including Public Transport Queries,  Where to Camp,  Suggestions of Alternate Accommodation etc.

Please be aware there are farm animals..... they will likely come to check out what we are doing. We will try to keep living fluffy distractions to a minimum, but, goats, sheep, and dogs happen.

Her Contact Details will be Provided after regitsration:


Near Rathmore, Co. Meath, Ireland

This will get you near enough in Google Maps so you can roughly plan your trip. Exact details with a WhatThreeWords and actual Coordinates with be included in a later mail, as will parking instructions and contact details.

There is plenty of room for campsites where one can relax and enjoy nature! The ground will be flat if is need cleared of vegetation for tents.

If you camp I highly suggest bringing a tent rather than a tarp (A tent with a 'boat bottom', just trust me..... The weather in November can be 'variable' (This, I believe, is called an understatement ......) . Again I reiterate.... It will be LATE NOVEMBER in IRELAND! LOL!

The venue has:

  • Room for Camping or for parking camping vehicles (RV, Van, etc)
  • Drinkable water for Drinking/Cooking is available on site.
  • Toilets are available on site.
  • We can have fires under the covered, semi-enclosed barn! YAY!

If, howver, you would prefer a bit more luxury: 

There are both Airbnb’s, hotels and motels in nearby towns. These are approximately a 10 to 30 minute drive from the course site.

**Please note, you will need to book these on your own! Cheers!

Super important for Both Camping and Day Time Activities:

The class will involve long hours, in semi-outdoor conditions. You will be tired. Please make sure you have a warm and comfortable sleeping arrangements. It will make the difference between and awesome course, and a tired slog through a long, moderately physically demanding and information heavy program!  Oh, and for Pete’s sake. If you are uncomfortable.... PLEASE SAY SOMETHING!

I and my crew are here to help. 


You learn best, warm, well rested, well fed, and laughing your way through the day! So, let’s make that happen!


Catering: This course is self-catered. I am many things, but a good cook is not one of them!!

Be prepared to cook the following: Keep in mind refrigeration is a cool box outside you tent/cark....

  • 3x      breakfasts for yourself
  • 3x      lunches (These need to be speedy...) Sandwiches etc as we need to take      advantage of the short daylight hours)
  • 2x      dinners if you arrive the morning of day 1, 3x dinners if you arrive the      night before day one. This is a no judgment zone.... if you show up with      McDonalds cause you’re traveling, go for it, enjoy!

Lunch and Dinner on Day 2 need to be quick. This is the day that if the weather gods are unhappy, we end up pushed for time and need minimise the time we spend away from the skins!

Included in the course fee: All course materials: Furs, Fish, Tools etc. as well as coffee/tea leaded and unleaded! Biscuits and some fruit.

Not included: Offsite Accommodation, and food

For More information see:


  • Fur and Fish Skin Tanning

    +€2.50 service fee



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