Fish skins have been tanned and used for clothing, purses, and even armour in many cultures and countries.Fish skin in modern days is mostly considered to be a waste product and is discarded or ground up for fertilizer or animal foods. The fish skin waste can be reclaimed, tanned and made into beautiful and functional items. Fish leather is stronger than a tanned animal hide because the connective tissues are more like a woven material. When properly tanned, fish leather does not smell fishy, but is soft and supple, much like softly tanned suede leather.
I have begun to work with this wonderful material that nature provides, and to combine it with reindeer leather and wool vadmal, to make purses, bags, bracelets and other items. Because both the fish and reindeer leathers quite delicate to work with most items are carefully hand stitched together rather than using a sewing machine. Each piece can take 8 – 20 hours to complete. Each piece is made from a unique, one-of-a-kind piece of fish leather so every item is unique. The colours and textures vary depending on the species of fish and the tanning methods used. I try to source only fish leather that has been ethically sourced and tanned with natural tanning ingredients.