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Hide Week 2023

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New this year, we'll host a thematic week exploring a key traditional craft material and process: hide and skin tanning, finishing, and sewing.

Leather is a material from which humans have created some of the very items that have made life possible, including clothing, footwear, blankets and many accessories. While there are many processes for tanning animal skins, each method reflects the culture, landscape, and knowledge of a specific place and people. Once finished, tanned hides can be sewn and embellished to create extraordinarily beautiful and functional crafts. In this unique event, we’ll explore different tanning and sewing methods through coursework, as well as a free, day-long gathering featuring speakers, demonstrations and community events designed to foster learning and knowledge exchange.

Hide Week will welcome new instructors Jean Marshall and Jeff Harper, as well as veteran teachers Greg Biskakone Johnson, Emily Derke, Nate Johnson, Eric Edgin, and Molly Meyer. On Friday, October 6, we will take a break from coursework for a Conference Day as an added benefit for students. This day is free and open to the public as well. Full details and schedule available late summer.      

On Friday, October 6, we will take a break from coursework for a Gathering Day as an added benefit for students. This day is free and open to the public as well. Full details and schedule available late summer.

Bummed about Basket Week? (…which would normally be scheduled this same week of October…). Fear not, Basket Week will return in 2024! Due to prior commitments, several key instructors were unable to participate this year. We plan to be weaving together again in October 2024.

Event Details

Hide Week Gathering Day 

Friday, October 6 2023

Speakers and demonstrations are free for the public; mini course enrollment limited to students in Hide Week courses. Any open mini-course seats will be made available to the general public day of. 

SPEAKERS, Blue Building

9:00 Panel Discussion: Join us for Q&A and discussion with three experienced hide tanners. Bring your questions, hear about different methods, plus a show and tell with many hides and sewn items.

10AM Bark Tanning Science 101 with Eric Edgin: There’s a lot that goes into getting your desired results from bark tanning. Experienced instructor Eric will take a look at how pH, temperature and other factors play a role in bark tanning a hide. 

11AM  How to Acquire Hides with Delaney Keshena: There are many ways to access skins and furs to make use of these often discarded resources. Delaney will share some of their stories, experiences, and key learnings around harvesting roadkill, connecting with trappers, making the most of hunting season and more.

7:30PM Moose Hide Revolution: Hide Tanning Revitalization. Join Jean Marshall for a presentation on her efforts to revitalize this craft practice in northwestern Ontario. She’ll discuss how community and identity are part of her work and what she finds most exciting.

DEMO, Hide Tanning, Outdoor Commons

10am- 4pm
Nate Johnson and Jean Marshall will be working on a variety of hides at different stages. Come ask questions, try your hand at different steps, learn about different tools, and bring your own project to work on if you’ve got one.


Participation is included in one mini course for all enrolled hide week students; materials fee is payable to instructor during class. Registration information will be sent via email after course registration. Any open mini-course seats will be made available to the general public day of.

Naabawaagan: Deer Toe Game with Jeff Harper

$10 materials fee

We'll work together to make the naabawaagan (deer toe game) and then learn to  play the game. Each participant will be able to take theirs home to share.

Rabbit Skinning with Emily Derke

No materials fee
Learn to skin a rabbit, with best hide handling practice for tanning. Some basic meat processing will be covered too. Meat/hides may be available for purchase.

Intro to Tufting with Delaney Keshena

$30 materials fee

Practiced among many Indigenous communities, hair tufting is a craft of embellishment often found in combination with beadwork. During this workshop, Delaney will demonstrate and guide participants through tensioning and shaping their own tufted piece and will introduce a variety of animal fibers and preparation of dye materials.

Campus Tour with North House's Director

Friday, Oct 6 at 4pm

Join North House Director Greg Wright for a close up look at key campus improvements that are part of the Framing the Future Campaign. Concept drawing and construction plans of the new building, a tour of campus and updates on priorities and the timeline will all be included. Please gather at the school store.

5:30 Wood-Fired Pizza Bake Potluck

The oven will be hot and the dough will be ready! We’ll have sauce and cheese, you bring your favorite topping to add to the smorgasbord. Delicious fun for everyone; BYO beverages.

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Course Offerings

Brain Tanning Deer Skins

Tue, Oct 3rd, 2023  –  Thu, Oct 5th, 2023
9am-5pm each day

Gifts of the Porcupine: A Quillwork Intensive

Sat, Oct 7th, 2023  –  Sun, Oct 8th, 2023
9am-4pm each day
Instructor: Jean Marshall

Tanning Tools: Make Your Own Dry Scraper

Sat, Oct 7th, 2023  –  Sun, Oct 8th, 2023
9am-5pm each day
Instructor: Nate Johnson

Winter Moccasins, Anishinaabe-Style

Sat, Oct 7th, 2023  –  Mon, Oct 9th, 2023
9am-5pm each day