7 — 9 Mar 2023

Location: Kuusiluoto

79 March 2023
Working hours approx. 10:00-17:00 each day
Kuusiluoto, Helsinki


A fish leather workshop with Hanna Kaisa Vainio and Christina Stadlbauer facilitated by the Bioart Society.

This hands-on workshop introduces the practice of creating leather from fish skins: the skins will be defrosted, salted, cleaned, tanned, dried, softened and potentially dyed. The leather can be used for numerous purposes, including lamps, buttons, book covers, wallets and clothes. As a material, fish leather is very similar to sheepskin and cowhide. Fish leather is thinner than most animal skins, but still stronger than the thicker alternatives. It has been used for thousands of years, and in Finland it was an especially popular material in wartime.

Additionally, the workshop includes presentations by experts Eero Haapanen and Pekka Paer who will be guiding participants and sharing their knowledge of the local areas in Helsinki. Haapanen will give a perspective on the geography, history, development, ecology and fishing practices of Vanhankaupunginlahti. Paer will dive deeper into the biology, habitat and living conditions of the Baltic sea.

The participants need to be aware that the workshop is held partly outdoors and the weather will be cold as the workshop takes place in the archipelago. The workshop site is accessible via a 20-minute walk along an easy terrain path. Free lunch is provided. The language of the workshop is English. Participants need to be present for the whole program, the detailed schedule will be released later. If you have any questions or accessibility needs contact us at


How to sign up

Ten (10) participants are selected to join this workshop through an open call. No previous knowledge or skill is required. The workshop is free of charge.

To apply, please email, including a short motivation letter in which you introduce yourself and briefly describe your interest in joining the workshop by 31st January 2023. We will inform all applicants about the selections by 3rd February 2023. The workshop requires no previous knowledge, has free entry and can host 10 participants.


Christina Stadlbauer combines art and research in her process-based and trans-disciplinary work. She obtained a PhD in Chemistry and has been inspired by themes around other-than-human life forms, including collective intelligence, interspecies communication and the relation between culture and nature. Stadlbauer has launched several long-term initiatives, like Melliferopolis – Bees in Urban Environments and the Institute for Relocation of Biodiversity. Since 2018, she has been conducting a series of laboratory experiments with bacteria, where she promotes the mending of objects through healing rather than glueing. With this, she questions habitual tendencies of how we assign value to our environment and proposes new views on cracks, faults and the impossibility of perfection.

Hanna Kaisa Vainio works in many different art fields as an artist and art educator. Her background is in material-based arts. Lately, she has been involved in community art and art education projects in several places in Finland. Vainio is attracted to observing different life forms and diversity, time scales and processes in nature as a background (or part) of her work. Materials and resources and their correlation also have an important role in her work. She lives in Helsinki and has graduated from the textile art department at Aalto University with a Master of Arts in 2014. Vainio is involved in Mustarinda, an association whose goal is to promote the ecological rebuilding of society, the diversity of culture and nature, and the connection between art and science.


The workshop is part of BioFacts – a programme that consists of a series of artistic research work labs. The programme introduces fundamental techniques of working with biological arts and serves as a vehicle to discuss art and science, materials, techniques, safety and policy, biopolitics, ethics as well as artistic examples through hands-on work.

BioFacts is supported by the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation as well as through Restorative Practices, a Creative Europe collaboration project co-founded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. Restorative Practices connects like-minded organisations focused on sustainability and bioart practices to enhance better future transmission of knowledge and build new realities through this intersection.

Photos: Christina Stadlbauer & Hanna Kaisa Vainio