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Ethical Fish Leather Tanning



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Ever attempted to or wondered how to make your own leather? Couldn’t get around the ethical dilemma of using animal skins? Come along and learn the basics of traditional tanning using waste fish skins that would otherwise end up as landfill, and transform them into an all-natural versatile textile. No prior knowledge necessary and the recipe works on other animal hides. And yes, fish leather is a real thing!

**Some traditional tanning tools and books will be available to purchase on the day depending on stock (so bring some cash in case)

Trainer Bio:

Josh McLean learnt the skills of fish leather tanning in Lapland, Sweden based on master tanner Lotta Rahme’s work. While travelling Josh had the privilege of learning firsthand from Lotta at her tannery in Sigtuna, and is now operating his own small business here in Australia out of the Yarra Valley called The Bush Tannery. The knowledge of traditional tanning and leather-crafting has been handed down from various indigenous groups across the planet with a strong common message and one that Josh fully embraces: craft beautiful textiles that celebrate life, not destroy it.

*photo credit Chris Wong

For Information on our cancellation policy please click here

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What you will learn
  • Traditional tanning methods
  • Hands-on participation
What you will get
  • Instructions
  • Take home your own fish leather project

What to bring
  • Notepad
  • Writing materials
  • Apron
  • Gloves if you have any open cuts or infections
What to wear

Casual, clothes you don't mind getting dirty



Vendor since 2013

CERES - Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies, is an award winning, not-for-profit, sustainability centre located on 4.5 hectares on the Merri Creek in East Brunswick, Melbourne.

It is also a thriving community, an urban farm, Australia’s largest deliverer of environmental education, an event and conference venue and a place rich with social and cultural diversity. CERES is recognised as an international leader in community and environmental practice.

Built on a decommissioned rubbish tip that was once a bluestone quarry, today CERES is a vibrant eco-oasis. 350,000 people visit CERES each year. Many more engage with us through our Sustainable Schools program which takes sustainable education into schools across the state.

CERES’ green technology displays, buildings, education and training programs and social enterprises (CERES’ Organic Market, Café, Permaculture Nursery and Fair Food organics delivery) demonstrate food security, sustainable agriculture, energy efficiencies, renewables and water conservation in action.

CERES is a model for a future with sustainability, innovation and connectedness at its heart.

Come, be welcome, you never know what you will find on our rambling paths.

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5 Reviews
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05 December 2018 • Ethical Fish Leather Tanning

The workshop with Josh was really great. He gave us really good advices. He shares with us a good philosophy : how to make a wonderful material thank to few things. The group was great too : good communication. I loved this workshop in Ceres ( great wibe there)


14 May 2018 • Ethical Fish Leather Tanning

Insightful and engaging teaching style. Josh is happy to share his vast knowledge and skills. Thoroughly enjoyed!


17 April 2017 • Ethical Fish Leather Tanning

This was a great class! I not only learnt the basics of fish skin tanning, but Josh, the teacher extended the learning as far as we wanted to go, so we tackled possum skin tanning and discussed and learnt about much of the background knowledge of the broader possibilities of tanning. Highly recommended.

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