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Hide camp - deer skin into buckskin


About the Course

This is a detailed course in brain tanning.

We will be beginning with a raw deer skin, and you’ll take home a soft, wearable, brain tanned buckskin.

During this 4 day course we’ll go through every step of the process in detail so that you can take this skill home with you along with your buckskin (scraping, dressing, softening and smoking).
The focus will be on finishing a whole hide each.

Buckskin is a very special material, soft enough to use as clothing; it has been used across many cultures and continents for millennia.

Brain tanning is a wonderful introduction to tanning. As you soften a skin you really come to understand how the fibres of skin work (something you can't learn in a book- you have to do it!).

This is then transferable to other tanning techniques such as bark tanning and other skins such as sheep, rabbits, foxes etc.

Hide tanning is a physical activity and to make your skin soft will require hard work and perseverance.

The harder you work, the softer the leather becomes.

You do not need to be extremely fit or have lots of physical strength, just enthusiasm and energy to work hard on the hide. It's extremely rewarding!

Participants will make camp on a hillside in Mid Wales near oak woods and stunning meadows and we will cook and eat together around the fire.

Jessie and Jane have been working skins and teaching for a number of years. Learning from some very skilled people in America and Sweden and building on this knowledge year by year as they experiment with making leather clothing that is suitable for a British climate.

The whole week is held as an honouring of the incredible animals that we're lucky enough to be working with.

See you in the woods! Jane and Jessie

If you will be redeeming a CraftCourses gift voucher on this course, the voucher code must be provided at the point of booking.

What's included in the price?

Price includes all materials, camping and two meals a day. Please bring your own lunches and we will provide hearty breakfasts and dinners, shared together around a roaring fire.

Let us know if you have any dietary requirements and we will do our best to accommodate.

Tools and extra deer skins will be available to buy.


Jane Robertson at Oak And Smoke
Willingstone Farm
Newton Abbot
TQ13 8PY
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Suitable for

  • Accommodation offered
  • Children
  • Public transport
  • Residential
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Teenagers
  • UK Holiday

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4 days (flexible times to suit)

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In-person course
- - #30824

This course is so much more than learning the lost art of working buckskin. I found it really wholesome living in nature and so inspiring spending time around people who are so knowledgable and passionate about what they do. Jessie and Jane created a really lovely camp atmosphere, a fun way of life, and an interactive way of teaching. I learned a lot! And feel confident attempting tanning projects at home now.
Their campfire cooking is pretty delicious too!

In-person course
- - #30651

I’m a deerstalker, and I wanted to learn how to use the skins so that I could harvest more of the animal, and pay it more respect by using it fully.

I’m really pleased I booked this course! Jessie and Jane know their stuff and have been following primitive life skills pathways for many years, perfecting and using their expertise.

I was able to scrape a fresh skin, then work it over the next few days, watching it amazingly turn to soft buckskin before my eyes! I required a bit of work, but the environment and great teaching and company and food meant the time flew!

I’d highly recommend this course!

In-person course
- - #30221

I had an amazing week in Devon doing the brain tanning and bark tanning, learned so much and came away feeling like I can do this at home now.
Jessie and Jane are great teachers and the best kind of people,
such a beautiful location too!
I’m looking forward to doing another course with them in the future.

In-person course
- - #23743

I had a great week in learning the skills of braining and tanning thanks to Jane and Jessie,they were excellent tutors.I'm looking forward to the next course.

In-person course
- - #23701

Another amazing course offered by Jessie and Jane. I cannot tell you how much the four days creating buckskin out in the Welsh hills nourishes me. I have been wanting to learn how to use deer hides and create a brain tanned skin for years and finally feel I have the knowledge base to do start exploring on my own. (Which is just a little bit exciting!!)

Jessie and Jane exude enthusiasm and inspiration, ever helpful and encouraging as they share their knowledge of this incredible craft. They also facilitate (and invite everyone who attends to hold) a beautiful, supportive village for their workshops; we ate together and worked together as a tribe and it only made the experience all the more delightful.

In-person course
- - #22537

The week with Jessie and Jane was one I'll never forget. It delivered far more than I expected, as the process of learning how to naturally tan a hide was one thing, but working within an interesting group of people, camping in such beauty (the bluebells were out), and conversing with everyone while we worked created some real magic and connections.
Jessie and Jane are easy, friendly and giving teachers who I can't wait to see on the next course I'll attend (oak bark tanning rabbit skins). I am already recommending this course to anyone I think will be interested, and look forward to making something special with the hide.
Thank you so so much, I feel entirely enriched. It is what I was searching for, for many years; this understanding and appreciation of how our ancestors made items of clothing for themselves in the wild. You two are my heroes!!!

In-person course
- - #22317

I had been wanting to do this for a long time, and just needed the know how. What I got at Hide Camp was more than that. It was fun, holistic, and very well rounded in its content. It is really hard work to do that, but the programme is loose, so there is as much down time as one needs. The authentic and relaxed nature of Jane & Jesse made the whole thing such a joy. It is such an inspiration that two such willowy young women have done the whole Stone Age thing, and now impart that in such fun and practical ways. You two are the best. And of course at this time of year Dartmoor is exquisite.
Well done girls. My arms still ache, but I have a deer hide to play with now.

In-person course
- - #15975

This course is a must. Jessie and Jane are two of the loveliest people I've had the pleasure of meeting - amongst the many other amazing new faces I befriended at Hide Camp 2018. The setting is stunning, the food is beautiful and the atmosphere is beyond warm and welcoming. It is incredible to watch the skill and passion these ladies devote to tanning - something I was delighted to absorb and hope very much to carry on. Although the tanning is slightly laborious, it was one of the most relaxing and fun weeks I've had in a very long time - the chilled out evenings of music and stories round the hearth more than certainly make up for it. Would strongly recommend to anyone with any interest in tanning, or pretty much anyone!

In-person course
- - #15810

A fantastic week was had by all. Jane and Jessie's enthusiasm for their art and craft was infectious, and everyone was in high spirits. The breakfast and dinner really hit the spot and I was delighted when there were leftovers available for lunch! Even though you do have to put in a lot of work to tan the hide (spoiler alert - it really pays off and you feel super proud), there was still time to make a couple of trips down to a nearby river to cool off, have a wash and mess around. Music and chatting round the campfire really was quite special. Thank you Jessie and Jane for good laughs, lots of knowledge, and a really lovely week.

In-person course
- - #15730

This camp was an amazing experience. Jane and Jessie's level of knowledge and skill was impressive (not just on tanning, but on ancient cultures). They were so patient too and gave everyone individual attention. It was also magical to spend a week on Dartmoor in a very beautiful location, with a bunch of diverse, interesting and lovely folk. Evenings sat round the fire, and sleeping out under a tree, were highlights for me, as well coming home with my beautiful hide! I will definately be back for more. Thankyou Jane and Jessie!

In-person course
- - #14534

This Hide Camp was a wonderful experience. It was a brilliant few days - fantastic food cooked over an open fire, lovely people, and so interesting learning about natural tanning from two highly knowledgeable tutors. Jessie and Jane explained everything with such patience and expertise - it was truly fascinating, and great inspiration on many levels. Thier kindness and sensitivity with people and the elements meant we learned a lot and really enjoyed all the processes involved. I feel very connected with the skins I worked on, and have become much more conscious of other materials around me, and where they come from. Highly recommended.

In-person course
- - #9945

The course was fantastic. I had very little experience in tanning , yet i was guided to make a stunning, soft buckskin that i love. There was so much detail explained to us and i learnt many new skills.
Since the course i've tanned 4 more skins and i plan to do more!

In-person course
- - #9507

The course was great! We went to the one in Wales and the scenery was lovely, we were really well looked after and the end result was beautiful. Thanks!

In-person course
- - #9208

A highly recommended course. The course was delivered very professionally by two very knowledgeable and highly skilled tutors. The depth of their experience with tanning was evident by their ability to guide the whole group through all of the processes, from raw hides to a beautiful finished buckskin to take away. Their energetic and hands-on approach meant whatever concern or question you had was resolved quickly - it was an incredible learning process. The course was undertaken in a fantastic and authentic setting with the ability to camp or hammock in the trees! Camping so close to the hide working area meant the whole experience was immersive and holistic.
I can not praise the course enough and would recommend all leather workers, Forest School Leaders and bushcraft enthusiasts to undertake this course.

In-person course
- - #7388

In their ability to transmit a subtlety and depth of technique whilst all the while feeling like nothing more formal than friends at common work in the woods, Jessie and Jane possess a rare mastery of the teacher's art; enabling each their own discovery of the craft, never simply telling us what to do. However, more important even than the expert instruction, was the experience of camp life that was created and shared. This was not really a course, but rather a remedy for amnesia; a glimpse of who we were during the forgotten majority of our history, and who we could be again, if we are to do better by each other and by the earth.

In-person course
- - #7380

This course made my heart sing. I was wholeheartedly nourished by the joys of learning new crafts with wonderful people in a beautiful natural setting. And Jessie and Jane are wonderful company and guides.

In-person course
- - #7266

I had no idea what to expect but the whole experience was mind changing. The tutoring in hide preparation was excellent, but the bonus was the introduction to a culture so removed the pressures of city life, away from the windows we look through every day, be it house windows or TV and computer screens. A true appreciation is gained of the work our ancestors had to do to turn hides into clothes.

In-person course
- - #7235

Attended this incredible course last year. The venue was stunning and I felt so immersed in nature. The tutors managed the group needs with finesse, giving everyone the time and attention they needed. I was overwhelmed by the knowledge of our tutors and got more than my monies worth from them. Highly recommend this course regardless of level of experience. Even if you've tanned before there's so much you can learn. So good I'm considering doing it again just for the sheer enjoyment of being around these talented and knowledgeable ladies.

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