This is going to be a series of post explaining My process on how I create my Creations. Later I will break this down to show each step and the tools needed for the step and process but this will be the general start.
I am FAR from an Leather expert I have taught myself everything by doing, practicing, watching tutorials and reading leather manuals.I have been doing Leather craft for about 5 years now and it has been a very satisfying learning process and look forward to improving my skills and knowledge.
So lets start with my first step which is usually the IDEA of a piece.
I get alot of my ideas and inspiration from the tools or Stones or even from my friends and family. It just comes and I Sketch it out or write it out if its a general thought like Boot straps,wraps,turquoise, etc.
I Even look through my Leather pattern books and manuals to see others work and get inspired to maybe do something I haven't tried,which in leather is ALOT.
1. tooling leather, I usually use 3/4 oz or 4/5 oz
2. cutting tools (scissors,xacto knife,circular blade)
3. cutting mat
5. poundo board, and marble or granite slab
7. stamping tools
8. swivel knife
9. bowl and sponge for water
11. Snaps, findings and setters
12. Hole punch
OK so now I have a sketch and a Idea what I'm going to make now is my time to get my leather and cut it out to my desired width or size needed. To do this I use a circular cutter, cutting mat and ruler. since alot of my ideas and creations are for woman its usually in the range of 1/2" to 2" wide and usually to fit the standard 6.5" to 7.5" wrist but I do all sizes and widths.
Now I have my leather cut and I'm ready to start. I will have my water and sponge for CASING the leather which is basically rubbing it with a damp sponge so the top layer of leather is wet and ready for your stamping,tooling,cutting. This is a learning process in its own I have made LOTS of mistakes working on leather to wet and dry. You run the sponge over the leather and you will see it change to a darker color as it absorbs the water and do this until it has the same shade through out then wait. you will see it lighten up or dry and it will feel cool to the touch now is the time for stamping or putting your tooling design on it with a stylus. After you have stamped your design you let it dry completely. if you put a design on it with a stylus then you next step is to Cut in the design with your Swivel knife. This is a tool that is Difficult to learn and master. It is something I have been delaying but I am now just doing this process as I find my stamping skills are advanced enough to master this skill.
So Lets continue as if you just stamped in your design and its is dried completely next is to Dye the item. This is Another skill you must learn because it can make or break a piece. So practice on a scrap of leather to make sure you like the color,process etc, after the dye it must dry again completely. When dry Buff it, seal it and let it dry. Now you need to put on the snaps,rivets,findings or any other design element you want such as beads,stones,rings, etc. to do this you will need a Hole punch. Measure twice do it once as they say. After your holes are done for snaps you apply your snaps with a snap setter and a mallet. Now it's ready for you to wear and enjoy for Many Many years. And with leather it gets better with age and will soften with wear. But It is Not water proof so be careful, you don't want it ruined after you did all this work with water.
This was just a General overview and my later posts will have a More in depth look and have pictures of the steps and tools needed for those steps.
As you can see there are alot of materials needed and steps used to accomplish an item in leather. I want folks to see and appreciate the steps we leather artist go through for a finished product.
I welcome all comments and suggestions you may have for me