Artisan standard leather products - hand carved and hand-tooled
Finely tooled leather is a work of art comparable to any other expression of visual art. My award-winning carving and tooling is ‘artistry in leather.’ Artisan level results from years of experience and requires patience, skill and creative talent.
Leather carving is the process of creating an embossed or dimensional design on leather objects by a process of cutting and stamping the surface. It’s an art. First the leather has to be ‘cased.’ This is a process of soaking it in water and letting it dry to the perfect dampness for tooling. If the leather is too dry, impressions will fade over time and it can make it more difficult to achieve a consistent depth. If it’s too wet, it won’t retain the sharp definition of the carving.
Marking wet leather has been around since the Roman period. It’s probable that the tools the Roman craftsmen used for stamping leather would not have been too different in appearance from what we use today. The process of actually cutting into the leather and pushing the edges of the cuts is relatively modern.
The only type of leather suitable for carving is vegetable tanned, full grain leather. This is because the vegetable tanning process allows the leather to absorb water. The grain of the leather is necessary to allow the leather to retain the shape of the carving and tooling once the process is finished. Other leathers lack these two essential qualities.
After casing, the pattern has to be created. There are dozen of styles from dozens of cultures. Knowing the various styles is an art in itself. Then there are hours and hours of intricate labour involved in hand-carving and hand-tooling, working with special tools. For me, this the most enjoyable part of creation and every piece is unique. Even if you paid me to, I could never reproduce that pattern exactly the same way again.
Then there’s finishing - assembly, hand stitching, staining and colouring. The standard and quality of the work is dependent on experience and I’ve been doing it since school days. There’s recognised artistic merit attached to works of leather art and I’ve won numerous awards.
In a world of mass-produced short-life products my work is unusually and genuinely unique and whatever it is, with some occasional basic TLC, it will out-live you! So, what can I make for you?