Fish Skin Leather: Inspired by Nature and Ancestral Wisdom

Live from North Vancouver, Canada

From Japan to Siberia to Canada, humans living on coastlines and waterways were sustainably creating their own leather for clothing, footwear and containers, long before the rise of manufactured fabrics. A food byproduct, fish skin proved to be a viable textile; being water resistant when tanned and preserved and thanks to its crisscrossing fibres, remarkably strong. 

On Saturday January 22nd at 2PM ET we will be joined by guest artist and educator Janey Chang, for a live talk and demonstration of this fascinating traditional skill. 

A first generation Chinese Canadian woman, living on Skwxwú7mesh and Tsleil-Waututh Territory, Janey has long been re-learning ancestral skills and will be our guide in looking to the past to inform the future. We'll be learning the natural process behind the making of fish skin leather, while gaining deeper insight into the cultural and historical significance of this almost lost and forgotten traditional skill.

If you are not in EST time zone, be sure to convert the time

How to join

We'll be hosting this VAWAA Online on Zoom. We'll send link and details to join via email 1 day and again 1 hour before it begins.

About Janey

Janey Chang (she/her) is an Artist + Educator, Fish Skin Tanner + Revivalist, Mother + Human Being on a path of remembering how to be human and alive through the (re)learning of ancestral skills. She is a first generation Chinese Canadian woman living on beautiful Skwxwú7mesh and Tsleil-Waututh Territory at the foot of the mountains and close to the ocean. Many of her teachers and mentors have taught her what it means to truly connect to the land in deep ways that have encouraged her to explore her own cultural heritage. The complex layers of her sense of identity are in a constant state of unraveling as she explores connections to her own human-ness and how she engages with the world and people around her. She tells stories through her art using materials from nature, with a focus on environmental conservation and her love for salmon. She has had the honour of teaching classes and workshops to all ages on fish skin leather, natural fibre cordage, natural dyes, fire craft, hide tanning, ukelele + drumming,  wilderness survival skills, jump rope, leather tooling, coal-burned spoons, and more. She interweaves personal stories and encourages self-reflection in her experiential classes. Janey is new to fly fishing and it has quickly become her meditation, inspiration and complement to her art practice.

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