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Fish Skin Tanning Workshop with Claire Johnston

October 14, 2023 @ 10:00 am - 1:00 pm


In this two-part workshop, taking place from 10am-1pm on October 7 and 14, Michif artist Claire Johnston will guide participants in making their own fish leather using black tea and walleye skins.

Folks are encouraged to bring their own fresh or frozen fish skins to tan, although fish skins will also be supplied by Claire.

In the second session, participants will create their own small fish skin wallet using their handmade fish leather. Claire will share about her connection to fish as a Métis person and encourage participants to explore how to be in good relation with the Land through harvesting and material art. This workshop is for all ages but children under 12 should be accompanied by a parent.



If you are bringing your own fish skin, it must be in good condition (ex. no longer than 1 week in the fridge or frozen shortly after being filleted). Any fish that has scales can be used. If you have any questions about this, please contact Claire at [email protected].

Participants will be required to bring 5 large jars or reusable plastic containers with them (should be able to hold 1 L).

Accessibility: this workshop requires repetitive hand and wrist motions for the stretching and softening of the fish leather. This may be difficult for folks with carpal tunnel or other conditions that impact one’s hands and wrists. If you have any further questions regarding accessibility, please contact Claire at [email protected].

Younger children unable to participate in the workshop are welcome to attend free of charge with their parent/guardian to join in learning.


Please note that space is limited and registration is required.  Payment will be required to complete your registration and reserve your space.  You can register online, by phone (807-467-2201), or in person at the Douglas Family Art Centre, 224 Main St. S.

The cost to register is $50 +HST for general public, $45 +HST for MUSE members, and complimentary for Indigenous persons and non-participating children.  Payment can be made in person or online.*

*MUSE members should email [email protected] prior to purchasing online to receive their member discount code.


Claire Johnston is a Queer and Autistic Métis beadwork artist based in Treaty 1 Territory/Winnipeg. They are currently mentoring under Master Beadwork Artist and Knowledge Keeper Jennine Krauchi, as well as engaging in intergenerational learning and knowledge transfer from their Father Roy Johnston who lives at Sherwood Lake in Treaty 3 Territory.

Within only two years in their art practice, Claire’s work has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale (Venice), the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art (Vancouver), and Tangled Arts (Toronto). In Spring 2023, they were chosen as a finalist for the 8th Edition of the Boynes Emerging Artist Award.

Claire’s work is informed by the strengthening of relationships—with themself, their kin and the natural world. They are an MMF citizen, a member of the Two-Spirit Michif Local, and are a founding member of the grassroots Michif collective Red River Echoes.


October 14, 2023
10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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Douglas Family Art Centre
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Douglas Family Art Centre
224 Main Street South
Kenora, Ontario P9N 1T2 Canada
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(807) 467-2201