Oak and Smoke Tannery

Verified
wales hides.jpg
Dartmoor, Devon, United Kingdom
Unnamed Road England PL20 6TT GB

The Oak and Smoke Tannery – the home of our Natural Tanning and Traditional Leatherwork

Our passion for tanning has arisen from our love of nature and the natural wild world.

We tan beautiful, high quality leather and fur using traditional, organic methods and we run practical, informative and lively courses that bring tanning alive.
Our aim is to revive the art of leather making and inspire a love and respect for the incredible wild animals we share this planet with.

The tanning processes we practise use natural ingredients – locally harvested tree barks such as Oak and Willow, oils and Smoke.

  • Deerskin into buckskin courses
  • Bark tanning fish skins and rabbit furs courses
  • one-to-one tuition
  • beautiful handmade leather crafts for sale

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We are two individuals with a passion for the wildness in nature and the skills that enable us to live closely to the earth. Through this journey… we discovered tanning!
The tanning processes we practise use only natural ingredients – locally harvested tree barks such as Oak and Willow, oils and Smoke.

We tan and sell leather, rawhide and unique leather handcrafts. The Heritage Crafts association has categorized tanning as ‘critically endangered’ as a craft because there are so few people practising it and even less teaching it.

We intend to demystify the art of tanning by teaching simple methods, with simple tools. This is how we were taught and how we still practise.

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We learned tanning in Washington State in America and more recently from traditional tanners in Scandinavia.  We love the discovery of learning how different skins and processes work, and seeing the alchemical change that they go through during the tanning process.

When we first returned from America lots of people were asking us to teach them tanning so we set up our first hide camp. The first year was small with a group of friends, and it was a booming success. Since then its grown and grown every year and now we run numerous camps every year, as well as guest teaching on other courses and offering individual tuition. All this as well as of course tanning leather ourselves on Dartmoor and in Mid Wales.

We would love to see tanning become normal in peoples homes, as it once would have been. Most of the UK’s domestic animal skins get exported to other countries or tanned in chemically intensive commercial tanneries, and most wild animal skins are wasted – its heart breaking!
We have very high standards when it comes to ethics and the environment. All our skins are by-products of farming and hunting, otherwise discarded.

Testimonials for previous years hide camps –

Attended this incredible course last year. The venue was stunning and I felt so immersed in nature. The tutors managed the group needs with finesse, giving everyone the time and attention they needed. I was overwhelmed by the knowledge of our tutors and got more than my monies worth from them. Highly recommend this course regardless of level of experience. Even if you’ve tanned before there’s so much you can learn. So good I’m considering doing it again just for the sheer enjoyment of being around these talented and knowledgeable ladies.
 –Cat Anson

This course made my heart sing. I was wholeheartedly nourished by the joys of learning new crafts with wonderful people in a beautiful natural setting. And Jessie and Jane are wonderful company and guides.

 –Bruce Parry
I had no idea what to expect but the whole experience was mind changing. The tutoring in hide preparation was excellent, but the bonus was the introduction to a culture so removed the pressures of city life, away from the windows we look through every day, be it house windows or TV and computer screens. A true appreciation is gained of the work our ancestors had to do to turn hides into clothes.
 –Phil Joyce
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