Sunday, July 24, 2011

New works and the endless creation of key fobs

Lots of work happening in my little kitchen workshop as of late. First up is a commission for a bifold wallet birthday gift. The recipient is a big fan of the George R. R. Martin series " A Song of Fire and Ice" and the wallet was to reflect imagery from "A Game of Thrones." Full disclosure - I haven't read the series yet and don't know if this is from the series or just the first novel. The images were the request of the client, and no matter where they came from this is the result:

Next is a pocket case for 3" x 5" index cards. I've done this type of wallet before, where tabs on one side enable someone to keep a piece of paper for quick and easy note taking, and more cards can be stored inside the case:

My first attempt at a sunglasses case. Well, I lie - I kept the first attempt for myself but didn't photograph it as it's a much sloppier version of this. Soft chrome-tanned leather on the outside and vegetable-tanned leather for the interior should wear well, and the case closes with a magnetic snap. My first version had a glove snap, but it's kind of a pain to snap shut when the glasses are inside:

I've done quite a few key fobs for a local hotel, the Hotel St. Cecilia, but now they want to change things up and make a different version. The ones I've made before were intended as giveaways, but these are destined to be used for the room keys. The one on top with the key is the mockup I was given, and below are some variations I presented to them. These are also meant to be stamped with a small logo for the hotel, but they haven't gotten one made yet:

Finally, the Tentacle Restraint Unit. My lovely girlfriend has a nest of dreadlocks atop her head, and it's been quite a while since the high temperatures dropped below the triple digits. She wanted something to restrain the "tentacles" and keep them off her neck, so I sewed a simple leather strap and made a hairpin to go with it:

The hairpin was once a rod from an old wooden card catalog drawer. I cut it short and carved the brass end into a skull:

Monday, July 11, 2011

Experiments in traditional and newer materials

Up first is an experiment in synthetic materials. This is the second whip I've made and this time I set out to create a snake whip in paracord. It's a lot smaller than the first whip and has four feet of thong (the braided section), no real handle and with the fall and cracker (the black single strand and the white twisted cord at the end) the total length is right at six feet. There are four layers, three plaited, at the handle and the number of layers reduces as everything tapers towards the tip. It took some getting used to, as it's much stiffer than my stockwhip but doesn't have a solid handle, but once I figured out how to handle it the crack is pretty nasty.

Up next is an idea that got stuck in my head and simply had to be created. Instead of tooling and carving an image, I wanted to really play with the properties of leather and create something more 3D, something that stuck out from the surface of the item. This tentacle wallet is mostly constructed with raw vegetable tanned leather. Most of it is 2-3 ounce , but I cut out holes for the suckers and inserted 4-5 ounce leather in the shape of suckers, covered it in dyed doe kidskin and stitched them into place.

Just a minimal amount of tooling to give the shape of the tentacle, which continues off to the side to be the strap that keeps the wallet shut.

Six card pockets, two currency pockets and one coin pouch make this a fairly thick wallet. This will probably fit better in a purse or a bag than in a back pocket.

The dye used to color the doe kidskin ended up nearly matching the tarnished brass of the anorak snap used as a closure - lucky coincidence!

As always, hand stitched.