Our flesh and the flesh of the animals is the same. By them do we live and with them will we fall. Sacred hide tanning traditions bring us closer to the animals and to the life within all things.
Local skins from domestically raised animals, roadkill, & hunting, pulled by hand, scraped with simple hand tools, and tanned using locally harvested leaves & barks, wood ash, eggs, brains, smoke, locally rendered fats, vegetable oils, water, & salt.
Tanning help by phone
Want troubleshooting with tanning a hide?
Get personalized help over the phone.
$20 for 1/2 hr
On these topics:
vegetable tanning grain-on leather (bark tanning)
vegetable tanning small fur hides or large hair-on hides
vegetable tanning grain-off suede
braintanned (egg tanned) buckskin
combination tanned hides
For these animals:
white tail deer, fox, coon, possum, squirrel, coyote, domestic rabbit, sheep (hair off), other small mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians
*Lyrra cannot offer adequate advice on cow hides, beaver, extra large ruminants (like bison, moose, elk, etc.), & braintanning wool sheep hides.
About Lyrra's tanning practice:
Lyrra began her journey of natural tanning by brain tanning buckskins, mainly thanks to books like Deerskins Into Buckskins by Matt Richards, and The Ancient Art of Braintanning by Stephen Edholm & Tamara Wilder. Since then she has expanded into a multifaceted tanner, focusing on a broad range of animals specific to the Southeastern region, dozens of local tannic plant species, many local animal fats, and numerous methods of processing skins, such as for hair-on leather, hair-off grain-on leather, suede, buckskin, and rawhide. She uses both the vegetable tanning and brain tanning methods.
Lyrra believes in localizing the art of tanning to each specific bioregion, with sensitive attention to the ecology, water cycles, animal species, & plant life to determine the most sensible methods of hide processing for that area. She believes that small scale, especially home-scale tanning, when integrated into the landscape, can not only cease to pollute, but inherently enrich the fertility of the land, while connecting humans deeply to the animal, plant, & water life that viscerally & spiritually sustains them.
Lyrra also works with animal hair for spinning and fiber arts, as well as bone and sinew in the creation of garments. The animals she works with most include white tail deer, domestic rabbit, raccoon, possum, grey squirrel, fox, coyote, cottontail rabbit, chipmunk, groundhog, snake, and fish. Her greatest tanning plant companion is winged sumac, Rhus copallinum.
She maintains that no chemically tanned leather can ever improve on the strength, long lifespan, beauty, structural & ethical integrity, fragrance, diversity, honesty, and spiritual aliveness of natural tanned hides.
Lyrra both teaches & writes about tanning.