Our Commitments

Fern + Roe - transformative-experiences

Transformative Experiences

Hide tanning and nature-based skills are life-changing. Our experiences are crafted to connect you to your body and a deeper way of knowing and belonging in the natural world.  Whether you are here for the art of textiles or connecting to your roots, we aim to be co-creators on your learning journey.

We teach skills that have been both hard-earned and gratefully received, and we pass these to you in the same manner. Expect hard work and immense reward.

Financial Accessibility

Financial Accessibility

Everyone deserves access to nature and hands-on skills. We offer our capstone course, the annual Hide Tanning Immersion, and several courses year-round on a sliding scale to ensure it is financially accessible. Online instruction and video downloads are also on a sliding scale, while our set-price courses are offered at the lowest rate while maintaining high quality in content and materials. We offer many free hide camps per year around southern BC. Reach out over email if you want to learn more about these.

What's a sliding scale?
A class will have several price options. You choose that one that most reflects your financial needs at the moment. We offer a guide to help you decide.
Cultural Integrity

Cultural Integrity

While hide tanning and textiles are intrinsic to every human culture, they carry specific sanctity within specific cultures. Therefore, we as teachers use techniques from our own ancestries and lineages, and share these with permission and in protocol. We hold proprietary knowledge when needed and practice consensual and empowering sharing of knowledge between cultures.  We encourage everyone to use these skills as a vessel to step into integrity in your own roots and connect to your ancestry.  We honour the unceded and treatied Indigenous territories upon which we live, craft, and join together.

Mutual Aid

Mutual Aid

We aim to support and amplify the resurgence of traditional skills and life ways in Indigenous communities, of which hide tanning is an important part.  Participation in the annual Hide Tanning Immersion program and all online instruction is free for members of First Nation, Metis, and Inuit communities.  Our sliding scale model makes this possible, and in this way everyone who participates in a Fern + Roe offering contributes to mutual aid and community care.

Fern + Roe supports community projects through monthly donations of 20% of sales proceeds.  If you have a project seeking mutual aid, feel free to contact us by email.

Who We Are

Mara Cur

Mara Cur

Instructor, and Admin

Welcome and thank you for being here. I am Mara; as you peruse this site, most of what you see will be taught by me. Mentors and guest instructors are part of the annual 5-month Hide Tanning Immersion program and stop in occasionally to teach courses.  Many of these folks have their own practices outside of Fern + Roe, so please take a look below, get to know them, and support their work!

Mentors

Amy Weeks

Amy Weeks

Amy is a settler currently living in the shared territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh first peoples (Vancouver) but originally from Mi’maq territory (Nova Scotia). Since participating in the 2019/2020 Hide Tanning Immersion Program she has been practicing some form of tanning on an almost daily basis. Most of her experience has been with rabbits, sheep, deer and most recently goats. This summer, Amy has been focusing on learning about bark-tanning from both sustainably-harvested trees and commercial bark. Amy loves the practice of creating raw materials from the hides and is building up her test sample pieces.

Adele Arseneau

Adele Arseneau

Adele maskwasowiskwew Arseneau (Caron)

A Nehiyaw/Metis visual artist, Adele creates work around storytelling and engages the audience to consider cultural appropriation, along with social and environmental issues. Her intent is to educate from an indigenous perspective and counteract current stereotypes.

Displaced from her family’s traditional territory of Northern Saskatchewan, Adele grew up with the Dakelh (Carrier) people of British Columbia in Prince George and Fraser Lake. Incorporating traditional ovoids, split u’s, and trigons of her adopted family into the flowing form lines of her Cree style to create her designs. She carves cedar, beads contemporary Métis and plains style traditional beadwork/earrings, and paints in acrylic on hand tanned rawhide. She has completed a hide tanning residency with Crowsnest Wildcraft, the Reconciliation Carving program at Langara, and holds diplomas in Fine Art and Graphic Design. Her newest educational endeavor includes reclaiming her mother’s language of nehiyaw (Cree), and is now partway through a 2-year nehiyaw language program.

Currently, she is a member of the North Vancouver Arts Council, Seymour Art Gallery, and CARFAC. Since 2015, her work has shown in galleries from North Vancouver to White Rock, including public art with the City of Vancouver. Dedicated to reconnecting with her culture, she looks forward to where her artistic journey is going to take her.

Adele’s portfolio can be viewed at: https://aarseneau.com or on Instagram at: @metiscaron

Bonnie Klohn

Bonnie Klohn

Bonnie Klohn is a 5th generation settler in Secwepemcul’ecw, with ancestral ties to the salmon-bearing Tweed River in Scotland. She recently completed a MA at Concordia University around salmon, Indigenous food systems, settler allyship and socially engaged art.

She is interested in hide tanning and ancestral skills as a part of a relational practice between humans and other animals. Bonnie is part of the collaborative leadership team at the Kamloops Food Policy Council and is part of a budding workers co-operative focused on food systems called Tapestry.

Suna Galay

Suna Galay

Sunkosi Maya Maria / Suna is Tamang from the Himalayas of Nepal on her mother’s side, and Dënesųłı̨né from Turtle Island with Ukrainian and mixed European ancestries on her father’s side. She learnt how to tan hides from Mara Cur and Shauna Mikomi, and was a participant in last year’s hide tanning immersion program.

She is a visual and performing artist passionate about exploring the transformative nature of life and death through clown and hide tanning. Her intention is to engage with sovereignty through reclamation; to be together in remembering our languages, our gifts, and our unbroken ancestral ties to the mystery.

Guest Instructors

Amber Sandy

Amber Sandy

Instructor for Hide Tanning Immersion

Amber Sandy is Anishinaabe and a member of Neyaashiinigmiing, Chippewas of Nawash First Nation. She is an artist with a focus on leather work, beadwork, tufting and furs. Amber is a hide tanner and uses moose, deer and fish skins to make leather by hand. As the coordinator of Indigenous Knowledge and Science Outreach for SciXchange at Ryerson University, she is an enthusiastic advocate of land based education! Her work focuses on integrating Indigenous and western science in her approach to conservation, environmental science and education. It is her passion to strive for increased access to traditional land based practices, art and otherwise, for Indigenous people.

Carman MacKay

Carman MacKay

Guest instructor, Drum making instructor, and instructor for Hide Tanning Immersion

Carman is a self-determined artist, educator, and cultural resource for communities and school districts throughout Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. Belonging to the Matsqui and Musqueam First Nations, Carman has lived in many other communities across North America as he embarked on his healing journey. It was through this process that Carman started to walk down a path of self-discovery as he sat down, took time, and learned from Elders, which deepened an intimate connection with the Earth, his mother. As a result, Carman has spent years of time focused on the interconnection of life in. the physical and spiritual worlds.

Carman is deeply passionate when he is able to share Indigenous life skills, understandings, and perspectives to the abundance of learners who have arrived in the Coast Salish Territory. As a teacher, Carman honours the responsibility in sharing both traditional and contemporary cultural practices. Carman happily instructs and shares lessons on drum making, visual and functional arts, woodwork, and Indigenous cultural education.

Janey Chang

Janey Chang

Guest instructor

Janey Chang is an Artist, Maker, Outdoor Experiential Educator and Guide, Community Facilitator and Mother on a path to remembering how to be human through the (re)learning of ancestral skills. She is a first generation Chinese Canadian woman living on beautiful Skwxwú7mesh and Tsleil-Waututh Territory at the foot of the mountains and close to the ocean.

Janey interweaves personal stories and encourages self-reflection in her experiential classes. Currently, she teaches earth and ancestral skills at a weekly outdoor program to 4-7 year old Squamish Nation children as well as in classrooms across the Lower Mainland. She can be found at janeychang.ca.

June Pardue

June Pardue

Guest instructor, and instructor for Hide Tanning Immersion

Elder June Pardue has been creating Alutiiq and Inupiaq art since she was a teenager, and she now has nine grandchildren and four great-grands. June offers classes in rural Alaska, where teaches Alutiiq basket making, beading, skin sewing, and regalia making.She also has early autumn classes to teach how to harvest stinging nettles and fireweed for cordage making. She also teaches online at her famous fish skin tanning Zoom classes.

Shauna Mikomi

Shauna Mikomi

Instructor for Hide Tanning Immersion

Shauna Mikomi is a hide tanner, wild foods forager, and student. She began her skills journey travelling across the continent to learn place-based skills from peers and mentors. She is an alumnus of the Living Wild program in the Methow Valley, WA, USA and has been deepening her relationship to place ever since. Shauna specializes in Buffalo hide tanning and lives close by a beloved herd at the Rocky Mountain Buffalo Ranch, in Golden, BC on Ktunaxa and Secwepemc territories

Apprentices

Daystar Belcourt

Daystar Belcourt

Apprentice

tansi. hello. i come from treaty 6 territory. beaver mountain house ( edmonton ab) . my great capan on my moms side was chief ermineskin of maskwacis ( hobbema). on my dad’s side, we are metis of wakamne, lake of the spirit (alberta beach, ab). my ancestors were fur traders, hide tanners, trappers, beaders, artists, and medicine people. moved to lekwungen territory ( victoria bc) in 2013. in search of healing by these great waters. the ancestors of these lands and waters have been really caring and loving. allowing me to be in their territory. forever grateful for being a welcomed guest in these otherworldly spaces. i am a daughter, sister, auntie, great auntie, and friend to our human kin. as well as plant and animal relations.

Sydney Pickering

Sydney Pickering

Apprentice

A member of Lil’wat Nation and of European descent, Sydney Frances Pickering is a multi-disciplinary artist currently living on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations. She is an undergraduate student primarily working with sculpture, video, and installation in her fourth and final year of a BFA at Emily Carr University of Art & Design. Her work over the past few years is grounded by her continued connection to ancestral land and practices.