Leather, The Timeless Canvas

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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Water Jar, Design Considerations

Not too long ago I asked one of our programmers how it is they decided to layout a particular window in our software and his answer was “intense research”. Intense research? Shouldn’t all research be intense to the point of riveting headaches and pointless hours of whirlwind discussions ending in obscurity.

This form of research, fortunately, is not what I go through when designing a new leather craft project I am interested in.

I may do some basic research on the internet looking for (in the case of my most recent design) a shape worthy of the cost and time necessary to see to fruition. So what I did was start with a photo of an Egyptian water jar (below).

So beginning with the above shape how do I proceed. First I decided that this shape lends itself to height and I my case I decided I wanted my end project to be somewhere around 16 to 18 inches in height and about 6 inches in width at the widest point.

This shape also lends itself very well to its use as a flower vase and the bud vases I have will be totally hidden and held in place by the natural design of the vase’s neck

After addressing the difficulty of this design and the way the widest section necks down and how to affect an effective and eye pleasing braid I determined that the common stairstep braid was still the best approach and I hope you agree. If you are attempting to copy this design or one similar, do not under any circumstance try to glue the edges. You may think that gluing must be done and I am here to tell you that is not the case. For one reason, you will never be able to line up all the holes for braiding not to mention if you apply glue to one edge and then accidentally “miss” when trying to line up the edges, there is a real good chance you will ruin an already time consuming section.

All of that being said I must say that I am very pleased with the final project whether you use it as a flower vase or simply choose to display it as a stand alone object, I know you will be pleased and a smile will shine on your face when someone sees it for the first time and they say, “Oh My”. I hope you are interested in purchasing this design but if not, know that I am actively working on another pattern using this same shape and size and if you would like to be kept abreast of its development simply drop me a line and I will make sure I keep you up to date.

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