Leathercraft

Took a brief jaunt into leathercrafting. Anything to distract me from my inevitable future where I must draw brick buildings for HWA hahaha.

Photo of several natural vegetable tanned leather goods on a surface of a white chair

Because of my pending move and my uncertainty about whether this would be something that I'd enjoy, I tried to keep my supplies at minimum. That meant I chose the Path of Pain™ (aka EXTRA manual labour) instead of buying tools—I had some tools from bookbinding. Was that smart? Probably not, but since when I have been smart and efficient about anything I make ~gestures at comics life~? Never.

Wallet / card case

I started with a wallet kit from SpringBokCraftCo! This was nice because I got some simple supplies (needle and thread) and everything was pre-punched and cut. I was amazed at the strength of saddlestitch and mystery (probably polyester?) thread. This is NOT my preferred style of wallet but rather just an exercise in seeing what hand stitching would be like. This wallet is currently stuffed with old cards in attempt to stretch it out so that it's more usable...someday...

Photo of a multi-card slot vegetable tanned natural leather wallet

Fail A6 cover

Aesthetic: chaos

The next thing I did was a chaotic A6 book cover, but then it was a bit of a fail because I think the scrap leather that I bought years ago wasn't full grain, but rather, "genuine" leather, which in analogy, is like the particle board of leather. The back fibres were weird and loose and probably glued on. It was also way too soft of temper! And I measured the spine wrong and it's too long. I hand measured and punched these (painfully) with a lightweight awl I have from bookbinding. It wasn't strong enough HAHA. Then handstitched with leftover thread from wallet kit above.

Eventually I grabbed some metallic Sta markers and drew whatever came to mind first.

photo collage of a gray leather A6 notebook cover with a drawing of a possum on it done with golden metallic marker. Sandwiched inside are some zines, Poss Boss and Shrimp Goss.

But it matches so well with my latest genius zines...POSS BOSS and SHRIMP GOSS (with Powerswithin). Could this be, unnecessarily elaborate zine storage?


I decided to get some scrap 2-3oz natural veg tan leather, which to me felt seemed like an appropriate and affordable blank canvas.

Watercolour tool wrap

Aesthetic: planner minimalist

I've been thinking about doing more plein art sketching around the city before I move away. I did a bunch of research—I learned a lot about the synthetic vs natural fibre debate. There's really no winning. Invested in Escoda travel brushes (synthetic) after becoming sad over how many of my current brushes' bristles were getting stuck in my painting/paints after my last (non-plein air) painting (below).

Photo of a negative watercolour painting of pomegranates and leaves

I edited the wrap design as I made it. One side holds the travel watercolour palette tin/case, the other side holds pens/whatever else.

Photo collage of a watercolour tool wrap, made out of natural vegetable tanned leather

I like the flexibility of using the flaps tucked in/not, and folding the wrap inwards/outwards, and the simple inclusion of a "T" end on the strap to hold it in place (or remove it). If I were to do this again, I wouldn't have made the center fold's hole as big as I did, because pens can fall through, hahahaha. The stitching holes I made with an un-threaded sewing machine (manually cranking the needle/foot forward) and then hand sewn with leftover thread from the wallet kit above.

A6 cover

Aesthetic: leather patina appreciation

It was time to attempt A6 cover again. Holes manually punched (why?) with a not thick-enough awl. By this time I ran out of thread (from the wallet kit above) so I gave waxed linen thread a try. It works OK for now, but definitely not as simple to "end" the thread cause you can't just burn them down in the same way. To save myself the pain of doing a full length of stitches, I only did a few to keep the flap in place, and tied them off on the inside of the cover. These are not my best stitches. Leaving some space in the flap also means I can thread an elastic through that space and eventually create a closure if I want to.

Photo collage of an A6 notebook cover made out of natural vegetable tanned leather, with bee wax melted on the surface to give it some texture

To finish it off I melted bees wax onto the top surface to stiffen it a bit and give it a bit of age/patina effect. The scrap leather already had a lot of marks on it, so this helps it blend in a bit more.

Laced pouch

Aesthetic: unearthed from the ground

After doing the projects above, I had a long narrow strip of leather left and I wondered what I could do with it. I wanted to know how the surface of this particular leather would take stamps, so I dragged out every linocut stamp I had ever made and went to town with a pigment ink stamp pad. It was a big failure! No ink really stayed and it just looked stained now. OH WELL, this is all about experimentation right? You can faintly see Kuchipatchi...a secret...

Photo collage of a leather pouch with lacing and flap closure, made out of natural vegetable tanned leather

I'm not sure what possessed me to do a design with leather lacing, but it's here. It was painful. The lacing is made from the same leather and it was so much effort to try to thread floppy ends through manually cut slits. I also eyeballed and made the design on the fly, so I'm impressed that it's all holding up with just laces tucked and wrapped way. This one also has bees wax melted on top and probably needs to be reconditioned after being blasted with a hairdryer.


Verdict

Cool. Leather is very interesting, versatile, and powerful material. I like not needing to worry as much about finishing or closing frayed edges and seams as you do with regular fabric sewing. It's an interesting craft! Leather is also very hard to photograph well...

I learned a lot through researching and want to share a few links to non-amazon Canadian (!) suppliers or DIY kit-makers, if anyone ever wanted them—I haven't tried all of these places!


Today's music post: แค่เธอ/Why Don't you Stay by Jeff Satur, which I have been obsessed with since finishing KinnPorsche the series!!! There's also an English version.