Natural Leather Making Weekend in East Gippsland, Victoria

Natural Leather Making Weekend in East Gippsland, Victoria


Saturday 15th to Sunday 16th December, 2018 @ Eden Hill Farm, East Gippsland, Victoria

The Bush Tannery presents: Natural Leather Making Weekend – In this workshop you will learn how to make your own all natural and ethical fish leather and get a hands on group experience with fur skin rugs using simple and accessible ingredients and methods. Set on a beautiful organic farm in East Gippsland, approx. 1 hr 45mins to 2 hours from Melbourne CBD. Come pitch a tent/ swag or BYO accommodation amongst the trees and beautiful landscape of this natural building community. All organic meals provided, onsite tools and take home information to continue practicing in your own time.

*Ticket bookings are done through curvatecture


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Step into the drivers seat of a weekend experience with one of the world's oldest trades.... traditional tanning (fish skins and group activity learning how to preserve fur skins).

Your facilitator (Josh McLean), learned the skills of traditional tanning many moons ago in the Arctic of Lapland, Sweden. From his mentor and Master Tanner Lotta Rahme (, Josh has been adapting and practicing recipes based on thousands of years of teachings since returning home. Most of these teachings have been passed on to Lotta as she travelled the world experiencing various forms of traditional tanning and her own adaptions. Lotta still runs her own tannery in Sigtuna (a Swedish medieval town , South of Stockholm).

Fish skin tanning is nothing new, as cultures that lived close to rivers and oceans have preserved fish skins for crafting for thousands of years. Fish skins are a great place to start when learning how to tan as they are much easier to handle and require less tools and equipment at home to do it yourself. For those wanting to focus more on the fur skins, we will be offering that as a group work project over the weekend from fleshing, to scraping, framing, softening and how to finish and look after your fur skins.

*If you're after a more in depth fur skin tanning workshop, we do offer 3 day workshops that focus specifically on this method of tanning. Please register your interest by subscribing to our mailing list to stay up to date and feel free to notify Josh personally by email @

'Fur Skin' tanning has been seen across the globe in various ancient cultures (including our own Indigenous people here in Australia), and our more recent cultures as a practical and ethical source for producing versatile fur items. While we face dark times with 'factory farming' and the poor treatment of animals across the world, the reality is that animals do die even outside of these realms, and can be treated and preserved in ways that are ethical, natural, sustainable, simple and practical based on our ancestral knowledge..... The methods we will be learning together over the weekend will produce an incredibly durable, washable and practical textile for an incredible amount of uses and will last you a lifetime if correctly handled and stored. The skins supplied will come from sources that align with the vision of The Bush Tannery and honouring our creature friends.

What do you get for investing $150 into the weekend? 

- All meals provided at Eden Hill farm (please contact Hayden at to discuss any specific dietary requirements or feel free to bring your own snacks and nibbles if you have particular things you require)
- Space to pitch your tent or if you require more substantial accomodation or space to park your van etc, please get in touch with Hayden at
- Your own fish skin (at least one skin, but likely more to work on over the weekend), to take home to continue processing (don't worry it won't smell if you follow the instructions correctly for storing/ processing etc) **You can bring your own fish/fur skin, just let us know beforehand so we can make sure it's suitable for the workshop and not too much work for you!
- Tanning solution that you learn how to prepare and apply to your skins
- An experience of taking a raw animal hide with flesh still on and using a series of tools and equipment to transform it into a versatile fish leather/ fur skin for crafting or just using as a rug (*these are old processes so if you fail it's ok. This takes time to learn)
- A take home print out with notes on what you learned and how to continue the processes at home
- Hang out with like minded and spirited bunch of people in a safe and open environment within a beautiful community setting
- By the end of the weekend your body mind and spirit will need adequate resting, feeling confident that you or someone you teach can also make fish leather and/or fur skins, honoring whichever animal comes into your life.

NOTE: **It takes a lot of work to prepare for these workshops so that all stages of the process can be experienced.... Economically this doesn't make sense.... however practically to keep this knowledge alive IT DOES and it's really important as our planet is changing rapidly and more people are realising the need for learning traditional crafts and skills. So please keep this in mind when you are planning on attending the workshop**

At this point you may be asking yourself.... IS THIS FOR ME? Can I really take a dead animal skin and go through an entire weekend transforming it into leather?

Yes.... You can.

That said, these are very physically involved workshops. However, if for some reason you are unable to complete any of the steps, you are more than welcome to still attend, even just for the experience. You will also receive assistance every step of the way and like you, other participants will also be learning from little to no experience.

Bookings are already being taken and due to the amount of preparation and space available,  tickets will be capped to ensure a conducive environment for participants to fully engage and learn.


See you there! Any questions or feedback, please don't hesitate to contact me on 0484594773 (9am - 6pm) or fill in the contact form.



*Please fill in the contact form should you need any further details or clarification about the workshop