Mineral Tanning is a natural method to turn animal skin into white leather, using ingredients from the soil. This video download is a story of the deep time roots of tanning’s ancient origins and contemporary resurgence. It weaves a narrative of co-evolution by people, plant, and animal through the ages and into current cultural and colonial contexts. This was originally a live video presentation over Zoom with some Q&A from the audience.
We focus on Mineral Tanning, also known as Alum-Tawing, a method denizen to geographies where minerals are highly concentrated in the topsoil or where minerals have created exposed deposits for humans to access. Mineral tanning is the method with most affinity for making sheepskin rugs, as well as indoor leather products. We will focus on sheepskin tanning with some extra information on hair-off textile making. Techniques for softening, handy tools, and at-home infrastructure setups are explored to help support localized, at-home tanning projects. The live video is 90 minutes of narratives and 30 minutes of Q&A. It is available for download after, so no need to attend in-person if you can’t make the date.
This offering is a perfect primer for those starting their own hide tanning journey and hide tanning novices wishing to deepen their connection to the craft and a community of tanners.