Dr. Theresa Kamper

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Dr. Theresa Kamper

Docent

“Before the advent of modern tanning agents, humans were turning raw skin into usable leather products using materials readily available to them from the surrounding environment. I have been tanning skins using traditional technologies for over twenty years. I originally come from the state of Wyoming, in the United States, where I was lucky enough to grow up as part of a family of outdoor enthusiasts. Part of this enthusiasm extended to hunting. Learning to tan was a natural offshoot of my attempt to use as much of an animal as possible. It had the added bonus of producing a beautiful end product.
 
I am an avid practitioner of traditional living skills of all kinds and have followed this interest into the academic field of Experimental Archaeology, in which I hold a Masters degree from the University of Exeter. I have recently finished a PhD from the same institution, on the microscopic analysis of prehistoric tanning technologies. I have been teaching various tanning technologies including fat tan, vegetable tan, alum taw and rawhide production for the past five years to groups ranging from avid bushcrafters to University students. I draw on my extensive personal experience to provide a broad understanding of the tanning process, from skin morphology to helpful hints in dealing with the numerous and frustrating problems which are often encountered when first learning to tan (and often long after!).
 
In addition to enthusiastic instruction I provide comfortable, easy to use tools and detailed handouts covering the tanning process, as well as ethnographic anecdotes and a list of helpful literature for those who wish to further their own knowledge of tanning! So, please join me for a course sure to contain plenty of memorable moments, lots of practical information and, provided that you put in the work, one that will see you heading home with a fantastic piece of traditionally tanned hide!”

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