The Organic Sheepskin Tanning Process

Mark Raymond Sunday, 1 November 2020

We continue on our lesson with Mark Raymond, owner of Neville Farm and Organic Sheepskins, to understand how the organic tanning process differs to a conventional one, and what the benefits and drawbacks are either way. We look specifically at the steps taken to organically tan a raw sheepskin, the certifications that validate the organic claims (for the farm and for the process), and what the pricing structure is like for such a product. Mark also explains why his sheepskins are not suitable for fashion - or at least in their current form - with examples of sheepskins so that you can visualise the varying possible applications for such a material.

This is part two of Mark's lessons, with the first one covering the UK sheepskin industry, and how regenerating land and working organically can positively impact the climate. Find Part One here.

  **Please be aware that the video and key takeaways contain descriptions of processes within the leather and meat industries.**  

In this lesson you'll learn:

  • The steps involved in organically tanning a sheepskin
  • What the certifications assess and validate, and how this compares to a conventional farm or tannery
  • The applications that Organic Sheepskins' products can be used for, and why specifically they may not be suitable for fashion products
  • Pricing of UK byproduct, organically-reared and organically tanned sheepskins

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Next Lesson

  • Co-Producing Leather Goods with the Farming and Agricultural Sectors

    with Alice Robinson

    Alice Robinson is a multi-disciplinary designer, maker and researcher who created a zero-waste supply chain from animal to food to accessories through her Royal College of Art graduate collection 'Sheep 11458' and subsequent project, 'Bullock 374' that was shown as part of the V&A Museum's 2019 exhibition, Food: Bigger Than the Plate. Check out her work here.

    This is a mammoth lesson, covering her full design process from collection of the hide to finished products, along with a discussion on working collaboratively with farmers, discoveries made about the UK leather industry, how research led to further research, and key considerations to make when designing and making a collection from one animal/material. Stay tuned as we bring you Part 1 and Part 2.