Tanning Fish Skins to Leather Silla guides us through
the process of fish tanning.

We receive the fish skins frozen. So our first step is to defrost them before removing the remaining meat and fat.

The skins are sensitive to temperatures and to prevent them starting to decompose we have to work quickly and precisely.

The tanning itself requires one week.

Once the raw skins have been cleaned, the tanning and colouring process begins. Far less chemicals are required to tan fish skins than other leathers.

To achieve the best possible result in the sense of ending up with an even surface that the artisans can work well with, we staple the skins onto a shelf to stretch them. This is very time-consuming work that has to be done by hand.

The skins are drying on a shelf between 1 and 2 weeks. Here as well the warm air is generated by hydrothermal power generated from volcanic activity.

Now follows another workstep where each skin is treated by manually. The fish scales are removed with a tool similar to a razor.

A salmon skin is measured by scanning its surface with a machine.

The backs of the skins must be shaved to remove excess fibres.

We soften the skins by spinning them in a tumbler with stones.

The whole process from raw fish skin to tanned leather takes three weeks. Around ten to twenty people participate in the process. A minimum of ten people will have touched the finished skin, therefore, as the entire process is done by hand.

According to the customers' orders some skins are treated with a finish. A maximum of 8 skins can be treated with finish at once. With salmon for example this corresponds to the size of 5-7 square feet.

The yellow salmon skins for our credit card holder.