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Since the summer of 2020, making fish skin leather has become a primary focus for me; I am compelled by the sustainability of engaging with a natural resource, using it to its fullest. My immersion in fish leather processing has opened a new sense of collaborating with the land, rather than simply harvesting from it. Repurposing fish skins, a vastly discarded resource, as leather creates lasting beauty where there is otherwise waste. Each fish skin boasts an intricate, beautiful pattern – preserved through the act of tanning.
As I push my work more towards the sculptural, the story behind the materials is a crucial element. The choice to use fish leather becomes an entry point for dialogue, meant to provoke curiosity about its origin, emphasizing the value of fish as a sustainable resource. Transforming fish skins into sculptural books signifies both the value of these beautiful creatures and in the gesture of a functional form – its’ unfinished story.
An avid fisher, I catch all the fish that I use in my work. This particular lake trout was caught on Highland Lake where I fish every summer in beautiful northwestern Ontario. I have tanned the skin using oak gall nut extract and then hand dyed the resulting leather in marigold resulting in a vibrant yellow, highlighting the lake trout’s beautiful scale patterns and lateral lines. The pages have been dyed in the same dye bath and are sewn with linen thread directly to the fish using a modified long stitch binding method. The flexible spine allows it to be displayed in a variety of positions.
PAPER TRAITS: Strathmore 400 series drawing paper (80 lb/118 gsm). This paper works well with graphite pencil, coloured pencil, pen and ink, marker, soft pastel, mixed media and oil pastel; perfect for all your writing and art ideas. Each group of pages is wrapped in a cover of Himalayan lotka paper with dried plant inclusions.
16.5 x 4 x 2.25″
40 x 10 x 5.5cm
|Dimensions||30 × 24 × 7 cm|