Rawhide is more than it seems. This stiff, preserved hide has been through some stages…
I am an islander on the west coast, living off-grid in an alder grove in my self-built cedar cabin. I am a hunter, wild-crafter, hide tanner, and herbalist.
I created Crow’s Nest as a venue to share my crafts and skillset, to help bring people into the wilds, to cultivate a sense of remembrance and belonging.
I’m a mixed settler based on northern Salish Nation territory on Cortes Island, a place shared by the Klahoose, Homalco, and Tla-amin bands. I spend hunting season collecting hides in the Rockies, on Shoshone territory.
This work is artisanal – not traditional. I do not operate within an intact lineage of my own to call it traditional. I learn with both settler and Indigenous teachers who have shared their knowledge with me. I refrain from using methods and aesthetics that carry cultural appropriation or theft of Indigenous teachings. I am always learning.
Backwoods skills are intrinsic to human culture – hide tanning, bowmaking, friction fire, basketry – but as mediums of community connection, they carry specific sanctity within specific cultures. And so, I look to my own ancestry for guidance and meaning, rather than to Indigenous cultures. I strive to use this project as a tool towards decolonizing all my relationships: to people, to culture, and to place.
Crow’s Nest Wildcraft
Workshops take place around the Pacific Northwest and, at times, as far as northern BC and Alberta. I have taken up the Wandering Tanner style of pre-industrial Europe, an epoch in which tanners were freelance artisans who travelled from farm to farm or town to town and set up shop for brief periods of time, before moving on.
If you’d like to request a workshop in your area, contact me here.
My workshop space in Whaletown on Cortes Island is where my apothecary and tannery reside. Workshops here are multi-day events, with camping or lodging available for off-island travellers.
Fraser Common Farm Cooperative
Fraser Common Farm Coop is a longstanding intergenerational farming collective outside of Vancouver, BC. They grow produce, raise sheep, and steer a local seed-saving project. I am honoured to be a part of the larger farm membership network, and I host workshops here in the Lower Mainland at the crossroads of many communities.