|What have I been up to? Finally filling orders!|
Even January was a bit slow, but, since I'd put "getting my business running" on my New Year's Resolution list on the refrigerator (that's depressing -- I don't recommend it) I stepped up my game.
First, I re-connected with the Jungs, a wonderful couple in town who run Southport ATA, a very good taekwondo dojang. They are both amazing martial artists, and more importantly, great and loving people who have allowed me to again offer archery seminars.
My first seminar of the year took place last Saturday, where nine kids showed up to learn the basics of archery. A good time was had by all, and I've been asked back on March 21st. Sadly, I didn't take any pictures. Next time, for sure!
Next, I set to finishing an order that had been placed by a friend of mine, J.R., who volunteers for Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, a group dedicated to protecting our wild places. J.R. had seen pictures of the bag I'd made for Holly last year, and asked me to carve and tool some arm guards with the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers logo. I said yes, then immediately became seized with artist's block and debilitating self-doubt. It's my artistic process.
Three months later, I'd finally worked out my anxieties, figured out how I wanted to approach the job, and set to it. I also decided to take some pictures and explain the process, since Hippo had asked for me to explain more just how I do it.
It starts with a piece of leather -- in this case, vegetable-tanned leather, the kind you can tool:
|The ever-vigilant Rocio... let's all just keep quiet about her being in the house for this part...|
I used an earlier arm guard I'd made to trace as my template, and I cut three arm guard blanks with a very precise tool, a "Stanley razor":
|Three blanks cut, using the arm guard above as template. Note the highly precise tool used to cut the leather.|
|Note the precision instrument for drawing a circle -- passed down to me by a professional leatherworker. She didn't say so, specifically, but I am absolutely sure that the flowers are a must.|
|Cased leather on the right, dry leather on the left. No biggie.|
|A sharp knife is vital here; as soon as you feel it "catch" or hang up on the leather, stop and strop.|
|An edge beveler in action (kinda -- I had to take my own pictures).|
Next, I used a pear shading tool to put smooth, wide divots into the paw print; then I used a backgrounding tool to stamp out a pattern around the paw print and inside the circle, making the print stand out:
|There are many types of backgrounding tools -- this one makes tiny, random dots.|
|This is the pear shader.|
|Stylus on the right, cuticle tool on the left.|
|Here are the blanks ready to be dyed and punched. The pyrography pen is on the left. Be careful, it is very hot.|
Next, I dyed the pieces and cut the edges with an edge beveler:
|Pieces dyed and edge beveled. I then dye the edges a darker color, paint on gum tragacanth, and slick the edges to a beautiful shine.|
Following up, I punched holes and attached the hardware: grommets and lacehooks.
|Off to Montana with you!|
I am finishing up another website for the two businesses, and will link to it when it is all ready.
UPDATE: Though still in its early stages, here is a link to my website for archery instruction and leather work: Wild Spirit & Old Soul.