Hello, today I am back with more photos from my trip to Iceland, this time some pictures from the Glaumbaer Turf House and Folk Museum and the Fish Tannery – very different from each other but very interesting! We first visited the Turf house with its adjacent folk museum, these wood-fronted turf-walled and turf-roofed dwellings were inhabited until 1947. Iceland, much like Shetland is pretty tree-less so these buildings were an answer to the lack of wood available. Many aspects of the house are wood but the roof and walls are all made from turf and turf bricks.
Adjacent to the turf house is a lovely tea room and folk museum, filled with items from the last century or so. The house was moved to the site in 1991 as an example of the kind of house that came after the Turf houses. The house is typical of that of a rural Icelander of the time and it was a very sweet building, I loved the blues and greens that were everywhere.
After we had been to the museum we headed further north to go to the Fish Tannery in Sauðárkrókur. It is the only tannery in Europe that makes fish leather.. yes fish leather, its a thing! (these photos are of animal skins, if you are offended.. sorry!)
My friend Vivian has done a lot of work with fish skins so I knew it was something that could be done but I was amazed at all the different things they can do with it! As well as working with fish they also make more traditional animal skin products from sheep, horses and cows.
I’m afraid, well maybe not – I’m allowed my own opinions after all, I really quite like sheepskins and stuff.. not like mink coats or anything but these products which are by-products in fact, of the food industry are lovely. At the end of the day, these animals are raised for meat and if someone can get warmth from the skin which would otherwise be destroyed.. why not? spoken like a true granddaughter of a crofter!
We were shown around the tannery by one of the ladies who worked in the family business and she showed us all aspects of the process.
There were huge vats full of water and fish skin which had just come from presumably wherever they used the meat (meat? is that the right word for fish?) for the food industry.
As we were going around I was thinking that surely you would have to sew together lots of fish to get a big enough piece to do anything with but I was amazed how much the fish skin stretched when it was cured – Amazing!
The products made from the fish skins are extremely high end and the company travels to many places in the year like Japan and Milan to trade shows to gain contracts for the big fashion houses.
I thought it was really brilliant what they were doing. The tannery was located in a small fishing town and its great that this unusual technique is happening right there and ending up on the catwalk!
She also showed us upstairs in their sample room some other examples of things which could be made from animal skin, like polar bears, artic foxes and even a cat! I refrained from taking a picture of that.. I know there is a lot of cat lovers around..!
next time.. the textile museum!