Taking Care of the Skins

Essentially a one woman show, all elements of the process are overseen and executed by Danielle. The primary step is to source skins. All of the skins are sources from waste stream avenues. The sheep skins come from the local abbattoir, where they would otherwise be salted and thrown away. The deer skins are gifted from local hunters, who harvest for their sustenance. The rabbit skins are gifts from a local mother/daughter farmer partnership and all other furs are sourced from road kill salvaging.

All tanning ingredients are biodegradable and natural. The main softening ingredients are eggs (from Danielle’s chicken flock), organic lard from a neighbouring bio-dynamic farm, and handmade bar soap. The bark is sourced from a local mill and the punk for smoking is carefully harvested from the forest surrounding Danielle’s home.

Modern commercial tanneries have many ethical and environmental negative impacts. Danielle (alongside many other traditional and natural small scale tanners) practices a type of tanning that can be called natural and is ancient in it’s practice.

Upon sourcing the skins, they are cooled and either salted or immediately fleshed. Blessed with abundant sky and wind at the tannery, the sheep skins can be washed and hung to allow the wool to dry. Then the skins are framed, softened and smoked.

The incredible nature of smoking process, means that the resulting leather is considered water resistant as the emulsified oils (which have been worked into the fibers during softening) are coated with a natural resin from the myriad of naturally occurring ingredients of the smoke.