Leather has been used by man since prehistoric times when it was first used as a covering, to form weapons, to make carpets and yes even as a canvas. At some point in time man mastered a means of softening and preserving leather thus laying the foundation for more diverse uses. The tanning process for leather is mentioned in Assyrian texts and in Homers Iliad. Vegetable tanning of animal hides was a process mastered during ancient times although it is not clear how this tanning process made use of the tannin contained in the bark of some plants especially how was it discovered that oak trees contained a product prized for the tanning of animal hides.
Vegetable tanned leather is my choice of leather for all of my projects. This leather tools very well and accepts dyes evenly. Read More.
Unlike canvas, what is done on leather is done.
Artisans can do absolutely beautiful work on leather and with leather. Mark Evans is one such artist of whom I am a fan. Please take the time to visit his website and see some of the beautiful work he is capable of producing.
For me there are certain creative juices of mine that get all stirred up over braiding, tooling, dyeing techniques and creative shapes possible when one considers different forms of art using leather. For tooling enthusiasts there is one man and only one man whose work you need to follow, Al Stohlman. This one man did more for modern leather tooling than can be explained in this simple blog. He has a museum dedicated to his work in Fort Worth Texas and if you ever have an opportunity to go there you should.
So whether your project is to paint on the leather, tooling followed up with an antique dye finish, a braided project or something of your own creation, remember to take your time and enjoy what you are doing.
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