Rawhide is more than it seems. This stiff, preserved hide has been through some stages…
An exploration of textile creation, centred on sheep. One track a fibre class; one track a hide-tanning class; plus some craft surprises and the history and lore of this storied animal.
All levels of experience and ability are welcome. These DIY methods are easily transferable to the home level, and each person goes home with their own handcrafted project or collection of samples. Participants choose between the fibre or hide-tanning class, with some overlap of instruction and experimentation.
For questions please contact Mara Cur.
turning raw fleece into fibre and yarn.
In this class, we will wash a selection of common local fleeces (including a variety of dual meat and fibre breeds, and fleeces from sheep raised specifically for hand spinning. Participants will get hands-on experience with different wool types and learn a practical hot water and soap method to wash raw fleece, while discussing other methods. We will then prepare the wools with carders or for spinning from the locks. On the last day participants will learn to spin and ply with drop spindles, creating sample skeins for reference or continued projects.
This workshop is designed for those who wish to start sourcing and processing local wool for their own fibre crafts, whether that be knitting, crochet, weaving, felting, spinning or anything else. Basic drop spindle spinning and plying will be taught, though more experienced spinners are more than welcome to come with their knowledge, spindles and/or spinning wheels. We will discuss the use of a variety of wools and their individual qualities. Space will be made for open discussion on all things woolly but we will focus some time on adjusting the wool washing process to fit your specific needs, whether you’re working outside, on a farm, or in an apartment bathroom. While working with our hands we will also have lots of time to discuss and collaborate on ideas for personal projects. Please feel free to bring your projects, ideas and skills so we can troubleshoot them with the group.
Participants will have the opportunity to make sample books throughout the workshop. All fibres and tools will be provided and spindles will be available to purchase for those wishing to keep them.folk culture around land-based living and reconciliation. Hide tanning is Mara’s specialty, and she adores the transformational quality that comes with every hide tanned. Mara’s approach is informed by a commitment to decolonizing her relationships to people, culture, and place. She lives on unceded Klahoose, Homalco, and Tla’amin land and waters.
turning animal hide into textile.
This natural and ethical hide-tanning method is an easy project for beginner tanners. We transform fresh sheepskins into tanned and usable textiles.
Each participant works on their own sheepskin provided by the course and takes home a beautiful finished piece of art, for use in the home as a rug or for projects.
We will flow between outdoors and indoors through the three days, beginning with scraping hides, moving into racking hides into frames, softening, oiling, and finally, smoking.
We explore the history of tanning, variable methods, and important cultural contexts surrounding the craft.
Instructors and organizers:
Nicola has spent her life following a fascination with craft and a passion for bringing fibre knowledge back into our daily lives. Through everything from knitting, spinning, and ropemaking to raising sheep and tending dye plants she has pursued the joy that she finds in creating things with a practical, everyday purpose. She currently lives on Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Wuatuth territory and often works as a community engaged artist with Earthand Gleaners, leading workshops on wool processing and natural dyeing.
Mara Cur is an artisan hide tanner and craftsperson, who travels to teach survival and ancestral skills. She curates Crow’s Nest Wildcraft, an education project that promotes