Crafters make all kinds of products by tanning animal skin – but what about fish skin? In this week’s installment of the Alutiiq Museum Fall Lecture Series, local artist Hanna Sholl will give a lecture about turning salmon skin into things like teddy bears and wallets.
Sholl arrives at the station with a baby carrier in one hand and a toddler in tow.
Sholl’s family will also be at her lecture Thursday and even part of it. She says her nine-year-old son will show off his first wallet.
“He started this year on his journey in salmon skin tanning from start to finish from actually catching the fish all the way to tanning it, going through the process of scraping it and dying it, and then actually sewing it into his wallet.”
Sholl’s son has an advantage – a teacher.
Sholl says it took her two years to learn the craft through word of mouth, internet research, and an especially helpful book.
She says, when she first got started, she adapted her teddy bear pattern from sea otter pelt to salmon skin.
“It took a few tries, so I have three of them and then you can kinda see the evolution of it and learning that the stitches needed to be different to make it work, but they’re pretty cool, and they will be at the lecture too, so people can check those out.”
She explains the process involves removing the skin and treating it with chemicals and other things like oil. She’ll talk about that method and how people around the world approach the craft.
That’ll be Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Alutiiq Museum.