Radical Sustainable Building and Fish Leather Combine @ Earthship Kinglake, Victoria

Last SaturdayJack Miller (Akajack's Leather Craft), and myself (Josh McLean from The Bush Tannery), joined forces to offer an eager group of Earthship Builders (check-out 'Garbage Warrior' the doco and thank me later), to engage in what can only be described as a CRAFT-A-THON! Jack took the time out of his day to capture our experience below...

 Pictured: Jack Miller of Akajack's Leathercraft demonstrating the 'saddle stitch' technique along with most of the key practices in traditional leather craft before students took on their own projects.

Pictured: Jack Miller of Akajack's Leathercraft demonstrating the 'saddle stitch' technique along with most of the key practices in traditional leather craft before students took on their own projects.

EarthShip Tanning & Crafting Workshop

Words by Jack Miller

A last-minute, non-planned offering. What was going to be a 4 hr demo/promo event, turned into an 8 hr spontaneous combustion of inspiration and creativity.

 Josh’s extensive knowledge and sharing on how leather is created resourcefully from discarded animal skins, was absorbed with enthusiasm and potential.

 Pictured: Josh demonstrating how a waste goat skin can be transformed into a versatile bark tanned leather and used to make an artists pen roll.

Pictured: Josh demonstrating how a waste goat skin can be transformed into a versatile bark tanned leather and used to make an artists pen roll.

When it came time for me to explain and demonstrate how leather can be crafted into an attractive and practical item, people were chomping at the bit to get their hands into it. Once the floodgates were open, the ideas and experimentation's were flowing thick and fast. Just when I thought I would need to pack up due to fading daylight, floodlights appeared and the enthusiastic creativity flowed on for another 3 hrs (finishing around 11pm!)

Those in the group were primarily there to learn how to build an Earthship, a passive solar sustainable building. Yet they readily opened up and embraced an alternative yet complimentary form of “building” with another of Earth’s marvelous resources.

I was so inspired to see the use of Josh’s naturally tanned fish skins, being made into a range of different pouches, either combined with other leathers or complementing a pouch that was already made. The articulate designing of a hat band by one fellow, kept him amused for hours. The final result was something he was extremely proud of, along with a thirst for more.

An immense amount of satisfaction washes over me, knowing that a craft, nearly as old as mankind, is kept alive. The fact that the hide from an animal that has passed over, is preserved and utilized in an artistic yet practical way, nourishes me. I receive great joy in assisting this to continue, seeing and hearing such positive responses. This, in my opinion, can only serve to elevate both makers and admirers, as well as the planet, into a higher vibrational alignment.

I am inspired to offer more of this ancient craft to as many as possible who wish to experience the joy, satisfaction and admiration of one of natures greatest resources.

 

Want to get your hands on the skills of traditional tanning and leather crafting?

This Sunday (9th April), The Bush Tannery is facilitating it's first ethical fish tanning workshop @ Ceres Environment Park in Melbourne Victoria. There's still a few places left and last minute bookings are accepted up until the day! So if you're keen to learn and experience one of the oldest trades on the planet, this is a perfect intro to the art of traditional tanning.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE EVENT DETAILS AND BOOKING YOUR TICKET: Ethical Fish Leather Tanning @ CERES (9th April)

Leather Crafting Classes

If you're after leather crafting classes, Akajacks Leather Crafting with your facilitator Jack Miller are highly recommended. Having done a lot of Jack's classes I can vouch for him firsthand the level of quality that Jack shares with his students. 

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO AND FOR GETTING IN TOUCH WITH JACK: Akajack's Leather Craft Classes

 Pictured: Another amazing shot of the Earthship Kinglakes efforts at combining naturally tanned fish leather and traditional leather crafting techniques (Photo credits to: Heath Dumesny)

Pictured: Another amazing shot of the Earthship Kinglakes efforts at combining naturally tanned fish leather and traditional leather crafting techniques (Photo credits to: Heath Dumesny)

The Bush Tannery