So yesterday was the first night of my leather carving class. We didn't do too much carving etc, but it was still a really helpful class.
We started out by watching a video from Hermann Oak Tannery to see the process that is used to make veg tanned leather - which can take as much as 3 months for each hide as compared to more modern types of tanning that can be done in a couple of days. It also covered how they grade the quality of each skin and a few other interesting tidbits about different kinds of leather. A part of the video is available on YouTube for those interested (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyCaonpEd70)
After that, we went down into the leather shop and got a tour of the different kinds of leather, what they are each best for, and how to recognize the different tanning methods and types of skins.
The last part of the class we started using some of our stamping tools and made a bookmark. He showed us how to prep the leather using water and carving solution, proper technique for using the basic stamping tools, and a sample of the variety of stamping tools available.
My bookmark turned out OK, and we will apparently be using it for later in the course when we play around with dying the leather, so that will be interesting.
For next class we have to trace out a pattern from one of our kits onto tracing paper so that we can jump right into the carving work next week.
So far so good. I picked it up fairly quickly and it looks pretty good for a first try. I can see how this could be used in my SCA work, although I'd have to look into what tools and techniques might have been used in period for the stamping and carving.