tool leather

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Some lightly processed leathers are more susceptible to stains when in touch with water, dirt or oil. In this video I coated the book with a mix of vegetable oil and beeswax to give it more protection against these factors. Did a little test in the end to show the difference.

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Process video of the color sketch of Olly’s grandparents and since it’s Benji picked a very Otis song felt it fit  u w u  if it’s blocked in your country you can watch it here

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Book of Paths

This book has structural differences from ones I’ve created in the past. With this one I tried many things I haven’t before and that led to many aesthetic imperfections. However I acheived the effect I was aiming for and that was a decoration representing choice and mainly how we can’t comprehend if we truly are in control of what is going to happen to us in life depending on these choices.

The book is decorated with interlaced borders and the spaces they create are filled with various other floral and geometric elements. The black in the tooling is acheived by coating the tools with carbon over a candle flame.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/498292896/book-of-paths-a-handmade-brown-leather

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super excited to give y'all a sneak peak at target.com’s newest plus size line addition coming september 15, 2015!

vanity room ny is a new york based contemporary clothing company that is expanding it’s line to include plus sizes and will soon be available on target’s website! this perfect-for-fall mustard yellow cold shoulder dress is going to be a staple in my wardrobe this season. it is actually longer than depicted here - i just threw a belt on at my waist and bloused the top!

dress - vanity room ny
boots - urban outfitters
hat - forever21
bag - flea market in spain

I made a fancy leather backplate!

Since it’s been Christmas and I don’t have to keep John’s present a secret anymore, I can officially show you all what I’ve been up to! John wears an almost full set of armour to Swordcraft, rain or shine, and the only thing he’s been missing is a backplate. Since he wears a converted version of my old etched breastplate, he’s only been wearing the front steel plate, and as long as he’s been wearing it, he’s been wanting a fancy leather backplate (in the rules system we use, a 5mm leather back plate gives the same amount of HP as a 1.2mm steel backplate). So I made one! 

I started with a raw sheet of veg-tan leather. Creating the pattern for the shape to match the front plate was fairly easy coming from a sewing background. I cut the shape, cleaned up the edges and measured out and embossed the diamonds by pressing the side of my edging tool hard into the leather. There’s also the four straps to go into the existing buckles on the front plate.

Since I’ve had very little experience with leather dying, I used the neck hole cut out as a practice piece (you’ll see what I did with that later). It was looking pretty good so I went for it. I used tape to section off the diamonds like I would have if I were painting. But it turns out it was both similar and extremely different to your garden variety acrylic paint…

There was a fair amount of bleeding, and the tape upset the leather, but there was no stopping now…. Here are some progress photos.

I dyed the rough, inner side of the leather purple and slathered the whole thing in a leather conditioner and rubbed it in really well to give it a nicer finish…. and ta-da!

I purposely left the straps un-attached to I could adjust the size to John perfectly. But the end result would look something like this:

I found the blue dye tricker to work with than the purple dye, and in the light it’s still fairly streaky. But on the whole, and considering it was my first attempt at something like this, I’m super duper happy. And John was over the moon too, of course! 

It adds so much more colour and individuality to his kit, it honestly makes me slightly jealous of how good he looks on field. I see many more projects like this in the future!

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A recent Spell Book order I finished. It’s a large, 600-page book bound in what I believe is sheep skin. A gilded crescent moon shines on the front cover, surrounded by a triple-line border. 

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I got to attend the New York Antiquarian Book Fair for the first time on Friday! It was so lovely to see all of my booky friends, as well as to see the wonders everyone brought to sell– from the very small to the very large, from gorgeously tooled leather to embroidered cloth, and from fore edge to spine, everything was dazzling! If you can ever get to an antiquarian book fair, even if you don’t have the money to buy anything, I highly recommend it! It’s such a treat to see the wide variety of books that are out there, and to wonder at their beauty.

With thanks to @maggs-bros , Sokol Books, Quaritch, Jonathan A. Hill, @justincroft-blog and everyone else ♥

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The White Bolyar

I wanted to create another book of regal stature, something that would look like it was taken from the bookshelf of a medieval aristocrat. Similar to another book of mine, The Red King. However I wished for something better. The Bolyars were the highest ranking aristocrats in medieval Bulgaria and other neighbouring countries. My wish was this book to represent material and spiritual confidence and stability combined.

This one is bound in bleached goatskin and tooled with gold foil. It took 3 days to finish the decoration. I never did manage to learn sketching the petterns beforehand. I always prefer to improvise but that comes with a fear that something might go terribly wrong. As with every book mistakes are made but in the end I’m very happy with this one. I certainly acheived what I was aiming for.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/506104403/the-white-bolyar-a-white-gilded-handmade

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A Book of Black Branches

I wanted to express the coming of Autumn, the cold days ahead, but also the warmth of home and the comfort and peace it brings.

There are over 120 individual tooling impressions in this design. The tools were coated in carbon to achieve the contrast and later the impressions were lacquered with shellac.

The journal is available on Etsy:
https://www.etsy.com/listing/475324253/book-of-black-branches-a-handmade-brown

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I loved this outfit and it was perfect for this scene. Jamie is in a position where he needs to show his importance and wealth, but also wants to highlight his Scottish pride. Everything about this look is money.  The material of his shirt is a fine linen, the waistcoat is silk and the jacket is tooled bone colored leather, but he contrasts all of this with his kilt. He is comfortable and tied to his Scottish roots while in a foreign land.

Leatherworking Lecture: Casing

Hey, wow, I just hit 500 followers, thought I’d say thanks to everyone out there who’s stalking me and do something to celebrate. So here, guys, have something nice – have, uhh… *digs through closet* …a tutorial on how to prepare leather for tooling & shaping! :D

Greetings! Today I shall deliver an excessively long lecture on casing, aka, getting leather properly wet in order to carve it, tool it, and mold it. (You will be astounded how many words I have to say on the subject of “get it wet.”) This is not the most glamorous part of leatherworking, but it is an important one – properly cased leather will give you better results on your finished product, and also make it easier and more fun. Working with good, properly-cased leather is a genuine joy – working with cheap or badly-cased leather is an exercise in frustration.

I haven’t really found anywhere else that puts all this information in one place. Other people have talked extensively about tooling, because that’s the fun part, but I’ve never found a comprehensive guide to casing. When newbies get on leatherworking forums, etc, and ask for advice on casing, the old-timers tend to say things like “You’ll learn to tell when it’s properly cased” or “You’ll get a feel for it” – which is true, but not all that helpful when you’re first starting out.

Keep reading

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William Shakespeare - The Sonner’s and a lover’s complaint 

Folio Society 1989 - Fine bespoke design binding, full morocco leather gilt with an inlaid tooled leather panel to the front board and the same pattern blind embossed to the rear. hand made paste patterned end papers - all page edges gilt - Bound by Ann Thornton for Binder Vision in 1993

My high tech wet molding apparatus: the mummified lamp.

To form this piece of the pauldron, I soaked the tooled leather and stretched it over the curve of this surprisingly versatile bedroom lamp. The leather needs to dry in its new position overnight, so I wrapped it tightly with cotton gauze fabric, which does not leave impressions in the leather. The fabric choice is important: cotton is breathable enough to allow the water underneath to escape and evaporate. Otherwise your attempt at “molding” may take on a new meaning.