Thursday, 26 January 2012

Leather Carving Class - Day 2

Well, another interesting class this week and I'm increasingly happy I decided to sign up for this. Just the basic instruction on how to use the tools, what tools should be used for what, and tips on what not to do (or buy) are going to be really helpful.

Today, we started to look at the effects that you can create using the basic stamping tools, how to use both 2-D and 3-D stamps, plus we started learning how to use the swivel knife.

We made a quick coaster using pre-cut leather rounds as a way to do some patterns using the basic camouflage tool, and then put a 3-D stamp in the middle (mine was a fleur-de-lis). We also saw the difference for stamping between the inexpensive leather that came in our kit (it was apparently from Mexico) and the better quality scraps we are using (apparently they are from Brazil). The better quality leather made a much cleaner and more detailed impression.

After that, we moved on to our main project for the course, which is a luggage tag. We started out using rubber cement to stick the leather to a piece of cardboard (the thin leather circle would get out of shape from the impact of the stamp if the cardboard wasn't holding it into shape). We then copied our pattern from the tracing paper (which we had prepared as homework) onto the leather and cut along the lines using the swivel knife.

Once the lines were cut out, we started using the camouflage tool to start filling in some detail on the pattern.

Next week, we will apparently be using the pear shader and the beveler to add more depth to the image. We're supposed to try them out over the course of the week so we get an idea of how they work. Our book has some exercises to work on too.

Couple of notes that I need to remember:

1) Need to watch the depth of my cuts using the swivel knife. Mine were too shallow. A couple of them were a bit ragged on the curves too. Will need to work on my technique.

2) Don't recycle those cereal boxes anymore. They apparently are the perfect cardboard to use when working with thin leather to stop the shape from warping as you stamp.

3) I can totally see minimizing my use of chrome-tan leather now for SCA pouches and such (at least once I use up the piles I already have). Why not just buy nice thin veg tan, which I can then carve, stamp or dye to the right colour? It's a bit more expensive but I totally see what my judges at Kingdom A&S were talking about now.

4) Need to look into what stamping tools and techniques were done in period so I can figure out if what I'm learning would actually apply for the SCA (for authenticity sake at least).

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