Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Recent Leather Work

Well, I'm back, and trying again to get myself into a regular writing pattern.  For a while, I've been caught up in my day job (advocacy for a non-profit organization working on statewide and regional transportation and land use policy).  I've also been spending time making some leather goods -- belt pouches, possibles bags, knife sheaths and the like.

Here's a bit of what I've got:

Next test: deerskin gusset.
A belt pouch, also called a Rob Roy sporran or a purse for dudes when they wear skirts (kilts).  I'm happy with the way these are coming out.

This one is one I did with the Hunter Angler Gardener Cook logo for my friend, Holly Heyser.  I don't sell this design, it's Hank Shaw's; I just wanted to see if I could do the logo justice.

Something I added to this style are tassels, to be used as game straps for those lucky enough.

The dye job came out better than I'd hoped.  I use a leather dye that is, frankly, difficult to work with.  On top of it, I used an antique gel dye, and rubbed it off, to give it a darker tone.  Next, I applied a sheen, and last, Fiebing's Aussie leather conditioner.

It was hard to be asymmetrical with the ragged flap, but I'm happy with it.
Another one I worked on is this 18th Century-style possibles bag or fowling bag (or, purse for dudes who wear leather pants... don't ask).

I really like this style!  It has D-rings stitched in parallel with the body of the bag, which means it sits flush against the hip, and it has the flap stitched in on the top, so it automatically closes itself.

This particular bag I made with the ragged edge of the leather, and I am happy with how it came out.

I've actually started selling bags and pouches, and arm guards for archery as Old Soul Leatherwork.

I also bought a fine little scian dubh (pronounced "skan doo"), or black knife, at the 150th Highland Games in Pleasanton earlier this year, and designed a knife sheath for it.

Afterward, I got the tooling bug ("tooling" is the name for the artwork in the leather), and made a sheath for my head knife (the knife I use in leather work).  I like quail, and, spurred by my Facebook friend Rebecca O'Connor, I designed two panels, one with a mountain quail (Oreortyx picta), and one with a valley quail (Callipepla californica).

My biggest obstacle in any artwork is confidence.  Finally, I got up the courage to start cutting on a $5 piece of leather.  Here's the first stage of the valley quail panel, with a Perthshire stone knotwork panel.  Head knife in the background.
Here's the valley quail panel complete (but before final stitching and trimming, of course), and the mountain quail in-process.
And here's the final product.  The knotwork panel tab was problematic: I didn't design in the ability to snap it shut without hurting the art on the panel.  Since I'm not taking it anywhere (it stays on the workbench), I'm leaving it as-is.
Leatherwork has been very personally rewarding to me lately, allowing me to express some pent-up art, but in a way that is useful.

(If you are interested in buying something leather, check out my Old Soul Leather Work).

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