Archive for the ‘Tutorial’ Category

Tutorial: Making of Stitched Cuffs Part 2

In the previous post I showed how I took the concept of cutting a cuff in pieces and stitching it back together and sketched out some ideas of how that might work. Today I took one of my four favorite proofs and made it into a cuff. I honestly wanted to get more than one of the proofs done today but other things distracted me and I ran out of time. Below are pictures of how I took the design and turned it into a finished piece.

First I transferred the design to a paper template and then cut it out of the leather.

Cut out very carefully as both sides will be used in the cuff. For this kind of cut there is NO “trim area”.

Edge profiles are sanded round.

Stitches are marked.

Holes are punched for stitching. If I was doing a lock stitch with the awl I would have sewn this with the stitching awl, but because I wanted the flat parallel stitches I pre-punched the holes and stitched with a large embroidery needle by hand.

Dyed and good to go.

This little dino is stitched and looking happy!

Brass snaps are attached and set. You can’t really see it in this image but a wax finish was also applied here.

Wide view of the finished dinosaur cuff!


Tutorial: Making of Stitched Cuffs Part 1

Lately I’ve been daydreaming of making some cuffs that are stitched together from multiple pieces of leather.  The basic rectangular shape is maintained, but then it’s cut and put back together.  The forms reflect each other, but within the boundaries.

Tonight I did some brainstorming about what sort of forms, designs and techniques would work well with this concept.  Images of that process follow.  Freehand drawing isn’t really my thing, but the brainstorming process is still vital despite my lack of fine motor skills.  It helps you figure out what works and what doesn’t early on.

initial scribbles

added a little color to see how that would go

These final proofs look like they will work well in the leather, but I won’t know for sure until I actually try it. Tomorrow I’m going to take some of these designs to the leather and see if they’re as cool in real life as they are on the page!

final photoshopped proofs of what I think will work well as a cuff

Tutorial: Making of Bird Mask

Okay so I do have a bit of info in regard to the making of the bird mask, but this will be a little bit light in regard to a tutorial because I’m writing it after the fact. After looking closely at some the masks at Faerieworlds as mentioned in the previous post, I began to think differently about what was possible with leather. This was Summer 2009.

Fast forward to October 2009, several days before Halloween. I got a last minute invite to a pre-Halloween party, and word was, it was going to be SWEET. I needed a mask, and quick.

With this in mind, I knew that I wanted a long narrow hooked beak, and lots of tree branch type shapes at the top, possibly some feathers. I banged out a design without time for hesitation or regret. I wet formed it and stuck it in the oven to dry on the quick. After it came out of the oven, I hit it with some Eco-Flo Java Brown leather dye. (Eco-Flo is water-based, environmentally friendly, 100% biodegradable, etc.) A couple quick coats of Fiebing’s Tan-Kote sealer (so the dye doesn’t bleed and stain your skin) and I was off to the party wearing a ridiculous costume that didn’t make any sense. At least I could hide behind this awesome handmade leather mask that I made start to finish in about 1.5 hours.

I drew out my design on some paper notebook paper to test the shape and see if I could accurately approximate the final shape I had in mind. I used a technique I had seen of drawing eyelashes into the design so I could fold them up later during the wet forming.

As it turned out, while at the party a random girl came up to me and said “Is that mask of a leafy sea dragon?! It reminds me of a leafy sea dragon!” (See leafy sea dragon.)  Well, no it’s not a leafy sea dragon, but in retrospect I can see why it would remind her of one. The more you know. I met a new friend because of it.  That’s the power of creativity.