Workshop Cancelled: Brain Tanning: Deerskins to Buckskins

Brain-tanning is one of the oldest methods of turning a deer hide into buckskin. Before the advent of chemical tanning processes, brain-tanning enabled people to soften and strengthen hides into a superior material. Brain-tanned leather is a versatile "suede-type" material, used by Native Americans in the making of all medicine pouches, moccasins, leather bags and leather clothing. This supple leather has also been used for traditional "mountain man" clothing and possesses the virtues of durability, warmth, washability and beauty.

This all day brain tanning workshop is entirely hands-on and will provide a thorough, start-to-finish experience for all participants: from beginners to those looking to perfect their technique. We will start by skinning a fresh animal, learning how to make the proper cuts and utilize techniques that will maximize your piece and avoid wasting any of the hide. During this workshop you will use tools that include the fleshing beam and knife, skinning beam, and working beam, and will also learn how to make these tools on your own. We will then brain tan a pre-dried deer hide from start to finish, and each participant will leave with enough knowledge and experience to repeat the process on their own.

Instructor Jake Takiff is an accomplished organic farmer and hunter. He specializes in raw dairy milk, old-world poultry breeds, and wild game hunting. He uses methods that are purely based on whole nutrition. Jake’s focus is on what is best for the soil, heirloom seed preservation, and humane animal care. An essential part of his practice as a farmer and hunter is giving thanks for the life that is being grown and taken. He is among the very few practitioners of the old art-form of traditional hide tanning. Jake is a select teacher at Escoffier Culinary School, 63rd St. Farm, and Frog Belly Farm. His work is featured in several Colorado culinary publications, and he is known for “practicing with self-forgiveness”.

This workshop is offered by the Living Arts School, a folk school in Boulder County. No experience necessary. Please wear clothing that is weather-appropriate, and alright to get dirty. All materials and supplies provided. For participants ages 14 and older, minimum of 4 participants, maximum of 10. Pre-registration is required. Participants at all LAS workshops are required to sign a liability waiver and an image release as a part of our "Peace and No Worries" policy. Thank you for your understanding.

Cost: $95

Please Note: We thank you for your RSVP on Meetup, however we will not be able to save your spot in this workshop unless you complete your registration by visiting: or calling[masked]-4406. Thank you for your understanding!

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  • Jessica M.

    Ohhh no :( Bummer. Was really lookimg forward to it! How will we be refunded?

    May 7

    • Elizabeth

      Hi Jessica, I refunded you right away. Let me know if you didn't receive that.

      May 8

  • Elizabeth

    Hi all, we didn't reach our minimum number of participants, so this workshop is cancelled. Thanks for your interest!

    May 7

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