Last week we welcomed world-renowned fish skin tanner and dyer, Sweden-based Lotta Nelson-Rahme.
Lotta took us on an interesting journey into how she got into tanning and her travels around the world in search of knowledge. She also showed some leather work and a spotlight on an exhibition she recently made to honor and thank the women who share their knowledge with her. Lotta also went into more detail about tanning fish skins and how she dyes the skins using heather, rhubarb, pine cones and iron. We got lots of emails and messages on social media about how much you loved her presentation…so did we!
Watch the recording here.
Fish skin tanner and dyer Lotta Rahme, has a tannery and a studio in the medieval town of Sigtuna in Sweden. For over 30 years she has been studying and working with the art of tanning. She has lectured and led many courses throughout the Nordic region. Much of her knowledge has been acquired directly from Inuit, Native American, Sami and Ainu women.The use of fish skin is an ancient tradition in societies found along rivers, streams and coasts all over the world. In areas where there were few other species, fish skin was regarded as a useful material. Today the interest in making use of fish skin, an undeveloped by-product, is on the rise and clothing as well as other products is made out of the skins. In order to use the skins, they need to be tanned first, i.e. be prepared in a way that they keep the strength, smoothness and flexibility present in their raw condition. Lotta has written books containing recipes on how you can tan your fish skin with ingredients from everyday life such as olive oil, rapeseed oil, soap and bark. Her books also include sewing instructions and patterns.
If you are not familiar with FEEDBACK FRIDAY, every week, we speak with dyers, artists, scientists and scholars about our favorite topic, natural dyeing and color. Curated by Amy DuFault, Botanical Colors’ Sustainability Director and presented by Botanical Colors’ Founder Kathy Hattori.
We even have our own theme song thanks to musician Jimmie Snider (click here to hear more of his music including a new song called Looking Out The Window)!