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Fish skin lights, 2023

Salmon Skins, Trout skins, Birch wood

Fish skin tanning is a very visceral process; your senses will tell you what it needs. Too dry - add more oil, too stiff - needs more stretching. This process creates a familiarity with the material, a closeness which can translate into a tender object.

During my research about the history of fish skin tanning on Turtle Island it became immediately apparent that fish skin objects weren't well preserved or highly valued as there aren't many surviving examples to look at - with the exception of Inuit fish skin garments. This loss of a particular piece of culture due to the perceived (low) value of the material (to settlers) is concerning, but unsurprising. Indigenous people are now able to define our own material values to our art forms and traditional materials - these fish skin objects are a part of my effort to revive fish skin tanning which would have been done by any culture that fished.

Photos taken by Christina Lim, Courtesy of DesignTo

Future Matters_Photos by Christine Lim, Courtesy of DesignTO (10).jpg
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