Hide Tanning Workshop

October 16-18, 2020


People holding hidesThis workshop is a powerful challenge. Attempting the very physical act of transforming raw animal skin into useful leather is an ambitious undertaking!  We provide nutritious meals, cozy lodging, a welcoming campus, knowledgeable and skilled staff, good tools and high quality materials. You provide the elbow grease, effort and labor. With focus, determination, and dedication it is entirely possible to walk away with a finished hide, and we will do everything in our power to help you succeed. As we are all students at different learning levels based on diversity of skill sets, age, past experience, exposure, and physical prowess, each participant will have a unique experience. 


This weekend workshop begins at 10am on Friday and ends at 4pm on Sunday. The entire time is required. White tail deer hides are provided for each participant from a tagged deer harvested and taken to a meat processor. They are hides that would otherwise be discarded. Our intention is to honor the sacred parts of each animal and use them to their highest purpose.


This class will cover the wet-scrape method of making suede with basic brain tanning techniques. We will flesh and grain each hide on a beam, rather than in a frame with a sharp blade. Dry scraping in a frame is another valuable (often superior) method of brain-tanning, but takes too long to complete in a 3-day workshop. The hides provided in this class will already be off the deer and quick-fleshed, and sometimes occasionally soaked in a basic solution ahead of time to help the hair slip. All finished hides will be bare. Hair-on methods are not covered in this class.  (This class does not cover hunting animals)



Date/Time: 9am Friday October 16 - 4pm Sunday October 18, 2020

Available Spaces: limited to 8 adults (no unchaperoned minors)

Cost: $475 online or discounted by postal mail: $450 (hot meals & overnight rustic lodging included)

Cancellations: non-refundable deposit (1/2 of total) is retained for all cancellations

Road Conditions: 1.5 miles off-road gravel - watch the video(link is external)

Location: 8 miles east of Boone, NC - Turtle Island is just 2 miles off the Blue Ridge Parkway Bamboo Gap Exit


How To Register:


Option 1: Pay $475 online w/ credit card






Option 2: Pay $450 w/ check or money order by Postal Mail - print and enclose these forms to:

Turtle Island Preserve

Attn. Hide Tanning WeekendRogers Cabin - open air wood floor overnight shelter

2683 Little Laurel Road

Boone, NC 28607



After You've Registered:

Driving Directions

What to Bring on overnight stays

CRITICAL Orientation Info


ATTENTION ALL VISITORS: Read Before Entering - Be aware that Turtle Island Preserve is NOT LIABLE for your safety, health or any impairment of it. Enter at your own risk. Your presence represents your acknowledgement that you accept full liability for any damage to you/your children’s person or property. This applies to everyone on the premises or associated with Turtle Island Preserve programs.

WARNING:Under North Carolina law, a farm animal activity sponsor or farm animal professional is not liable for an injury to or the death of a participant in farm animal activities resulting exclusively from the inherent risks of farm animal activities. Chapter 99E of The North Carolina General Statutes.

WARNING: Under North Carolina Law, There Is No Liability For An Injury To Or Death Of A Participant In An Agritourism Activity Conducted At This Agritourism Location If Such Injury Or Death Results From The Inherent Risks Of The Agritourism Activity. Inherent Risks Of Agritourism Activities Include, Among Others, Risks Of Injury Inherent To Land, Equipment, And Animals, As Well As The Potential For You To Act In A Negligent Manner That May Contribute To Your Injury Or Death. You Are Assuming The Risk Of Participating In This Agritourism Activity.