Leather Tanning

Hayley Hanson is a farmer with a passion for cattle matched only by her enthusiasm for traditional tanning. She is the only female tanner left in Britain to carry out the entire lengthy process herself in her micro tannery on the Welsh Border. Hayley tans hides from the family herd of British Blue and cross bred Hereford and Angus cows as well as cow skins from local farms and those sent to her from across the UK. She sends finished hides across the world to Texas, New Zealand and Australia.

Tanning isn’t for the faint hearted. It’s a dirty, physically demanding job, and can take anywhere between a month and six months depending on the thickness of the hide. When it’s ready it is cleaned, dried and finished.

“I love the cattle. We’re cattle farmers first and foremost and I get really attached to them. There are some I have pulled (Calved), weaned, and opened the doors the first time they have set foot on the spring grass. I’ve watched them throughout their life cycle, from beginning to end. Using the skin of an animal that we have reared; knowing it has had a nice life and where it’s from makes perfect sense to me.”

Making the Straps

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Each Woodee has a strap made from the leather of Hereford Bull that Hayley has tanned. It has been laser cut for a sealed edge and smooth finish. Hayley has stitched the strap on her trusty Singer sewing machine before hand-finishing it in her workshop in traditional saddlery colours.

To find out more about Hayley Hanson and her work click here