Thursday, September 29, 2016

Now I've Discovered Leatherwork

So what had happened was:

Dragon*Con is such a major clusterfuck by now that the only way I can enjoy it is to sequester myself in the hallway where all the crafting demos happen. This year I watched a chainmaille demo, two leatherworking demos, two fabric distressing demos, and sort of a resin demo. Quick recap:

1. After the first hour of the chainmaille demo, many folks in the room still couldn't close a jump ring. They were in hell.

2. The guys running the fabric distressing demos were GREAT. Well, most of them were...I think one was on serious drugs. But I also learned about Worbla which is a thermoplastic, and stay tuned because I signed up for a workshop on THAT in November. The Russian guy sitting in front of me at the demo was a hardcore Worbla fan, and his enthusiasm made an impression on me.

3. The woman running the resin demo was dressed like Kara Thrace and looked a whole lot like her. It wasn't really a demo, just her talking about all the awesome stuff you can do with resin. I plan to stalk her at her studio in the near future.

4. The lady running the leatherwork demos was fairly unfocused and scattered, saying that she had until recently been in the hospital after having a car wreck and had been unable to prepare. So they weren't the greatest workshops in the world. But when she eventually got down to business and showed us how to wet and shape leather, and handed around some leather stamping, that was it for me. I was HOOKED. And I pelted her with questions, which she was more than happy to answer. My fate was pretty much sealed.

Tandy Leather and my Amex are now engaged to be married.

YOU KNOW I HAD TO GET THESE. And oh my god the alphabet stamps. I made this wristband for my sister-wife because she's a bad girl:

And this for my gym buddy:

This one has a lot more tooling than the first one, and was my first time using leather dye.

I made the next one for myself. I call it Soviet Bees:

I made a box:


And I took two bags of leather scraps from Hobby Lobby and Michael's and I'm piecing them together to make a bag:

It's almost done. I need to add an interior pocket, some rivets to reinforce the corners, and a magnetic closure, and I might add another tooled panel to the front flap. The tooled panel in the photo is my sample project that I randomly decided to throw on there. I later dyed it black to match better because when the flap was closed it looked like the bag had a fupa.

Friends, I have been looking forward to the day I would finally find my Voltron Project that makes use of all these skills I've been amassing. I think leatherwork might be the one: I keep supplies for different crafts separated into different train cases so that depending on what I'm working on, I can select the proper train case and get started. This is my kitchen floor during leather projects:

Clockwise from top center: Metalworking case (blue-gray); Rivets, Studs & Bedazzler (green); Scrap Rags (black pile on the floor); Rubber Stamps (clear); Leatherwork (yellow).

Shout out to my new Youtube Dad, George Hurst from Tandy Leather, for being such a soothing, practical teacher. And props to Ian Atkinson of Leodis Leather for telling it like it is, and for demonstrating 101 uses for the mallet. ("He'll use the bone folder to make that crease-- NOPE, WAIT, here comes the mallet again...")

If anyone has been keeping track, yes, I'm a 20+ year vegetarian. And I just ordered a side of leather from Tandy. Sure, I feel shitty about it! And I'm not even attempting to reconcile it in my brain -- I love animals, I don't want to eat them, I hate factory farming....but man, is leather satisfying to work with. It's like fabric, paper, clay and wood all rolled into one. It's indestructible, immortal, and biker vests and guitar straps are made out of it. BUT I CAN'T WITH THE LIZARD SKIN, TANDY. THAT'S WHERE I DRAW THE LINE!! :((

And I think the guys in the Tandy warehouse are onto me -- I used N.U.T.S.A.C. Enterprises as the return address for my order, and found this written under the shipping label:

To sum up: Leather is amazing, and I am a horrible person. A horrible person that maybe just found her Voltron Project.

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