Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My Husband the Hide Tanner

I use the term "modern homesteading" on the title of my blog for many reasons; one being that we don't live primarily live off the land. We have jobs to supplement our homestead harvest, or at least we did. Now, moving to a new state we find ourselves starting from scratch, so to speak. Observing the rural culture here in North Idaho it has become clear that hunting is the main attraction of the fall. So Shaun, being the industrious jack-of-all-trades that he is, has decided to start a custom hide tanning business. It will start small but will hopefully provide a profit some day and also nourish the incessant desire he has to tan hides.

It's hard to believe a person could enjoy the process of scraping rotting fleshy pieces from the skin and submitting to the awful smells that accompany opening the buckets as they are "tanning". But this is Shaun's passion and a significant one for our culture as we slip ever further away from connecting to the abundance that animals provide us. Countless hunters leave the hides from their hunt in the forest or drop it in a road ditch to rot. To see a finished hide, smell the strong smoke emanating from it, touching the soft leather, it's no wonder that our ancestors used this fabric for daily living for millions of years. And continued to do so until fairly recently, in the scheme of human existence.

Shown above are a few pieces of Shaun's art and functional clothing. Moccasins, a dewclaw deer bag, raccoon hat, traditionally stored beaver hide, more deer, elk…This is just skimming the surface of what he has created. Wish this venture luck!