Saturday, December 08, 2012

Tiny and Toads

Only a couple of things to share this morning. Up first is a very tiny book that I made for my girlfriend to celebrate our anniversary. She's very enthusiastic about miniatures and tiny things in general, so I thought this would be both a challenge for me and something she'd appreciate. Onward to the progress shots - sewing the signatures onto cords:
 Spine treatment:
 Cutting channels into the boards for the cords:
 The endbands are sewn by hand, and are composed of my beard hair (she also like Victorian hair art):
 For the cover, I used cane toad skin:
Here is the finished piece, along with its slipcase and a penny for comparison:

 I'd rescued some marbled paper from a repair at work, and that made for an excellent pastedown:
Up next is a potential piece for a client, who's been waiting patiently for quite a while. "Potential" in that I hope she likes it, and if not, I'll try and sell it through my Etsy store. The request was for a bright, colorful clutch that was a little larger than normal, with removable straps. She wanted to be able to carry a phone, sunglasses, and a wallet, and as an artist she needed to have pen and pencil slots. The exterior is pieced together from multiple cane toad skins, and the strap, interior and sides are a softer pale yellow leather:

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Surinam toad wallets

This project has been brewing in my mind for a long time and it's finally come to fruition. Ever since I made the tentacle/sucker wallet, I've wanted to do more wallets along the same lines but based on the Surinam toad (star-fingered toad, Pipa Pipa, disgusting abomination, etc.) If you don't know what this is then do a web search at your own risk.
First up is the subtle version. Natural vegetable-tanned leather makes up the majority of the wallet, and the green leather peeking through like a baby toad is cane toad skin:

And now for the not-so-subtle version. This bifold wallet is made up of dyed and tooled vegetable-tanned leather on the outside, and the brown is again cane toad skin. The interior is a combination of buffalo calf and doe kidskin, and an anorak snap keeps things secure:

Please don't hold me responsible for any gag reflexes that may result.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Checking in on some past projects

A few of my past projects have made their way back to me for one reason or another, and I thought I'd post some photos of what time and handling has done to them. First up is the sucker wallet. It came back to get the snap replaced, as the spring in the initial snap just got too loose. This particular wallet was left undyed and natural, so this is how it looks after 15+ months of handling and some treating:

Up next is one of the drawn-upon curse purses. That particular approach was kind of experimental (using dye to draw linework on white doe kidskin), and while it looked great initially it doesn't seem to hold up. I really like how the stark white looks after it's been handled and gotten darker, but the dye faded too much for my, and the client's, taste:
I didn't have high hopes for cleaning this piece, so I offered to redo it in a veg-tanned alternative. Also, this was made to fit tampons and not cards, but she used it as a card case anyway, so I made the new version slightly larger for a better fit:

Finally, this is a good reminder not to leave your leather goods where pets and/or animals can get to them. My friend Rachel has a couple of really sweet dogs, but unfortunately one of them got the urge to gnaw and this is the result:

I'm not sure what approach I'm going to take with this. It can be shrunk down and turned into a coin purse, but that might be the only thing I can realistically do with this.

On to some new pieces. My fascination with whip making continues, and I finally picked up some steel shot and was able to construct a shot-loaded snake whip. Snake whips are typically referred to as something you can roll up and put in your pocket, but this thing is a beast and it's not going to fit into any of my pockets. A saddlebag, maybe...the thong (braided portion) is 6 feet long and the fall/cracker add another 2 feet. I haven't quite got the hang of cracking this thing confidently, due to the flexible handle and the weight, plus this isn't really my best example of plaiting, but when it does crack it's thunderous:
Up next is a clutch and phone pouch combo. The client wanted something to replace a zippered dayplanner, so it needed to be smaller yet hold a smartphone, pen, cards, checkbook, etc., all without a zippered closure. She also wanted a small leather case for her phone that could hold a few cards and some cash. Here are the results, which use luchador masks and skull imagery:

Six card slots, two larger slots for cash and receipts, and a dedicated slot for her checkbook. The phone pouch, pens, etc., all fit in the middle.

Now I can move on to some different leather. I recently purchased some cane toad skins and I've got some interesting plans for them:

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Just in case it looks like I'm not doing anything

Lots of activity happening in my kitchen workshop lately. First up is an upholstery project. There's a bike swap meet that happens roughly once a month in my town, and the last time I attended I scored a couple of old Selle gel saddles (my personal favorite.) The covering on both was in pretty rough shape, so I decided to recover them in leather. Here's the first one:
And after removing the old covering:
There were some larger chunks of foam that came off while removing the cover, so I filled in the voids with some thin leather:
The second saddle:
Minus the covering:
The leather scrap I wanted to use wasn't big enough, so I stitched two pieces together, hopefully with the seam in a place that wouldn't chafe:
The finished saddles, which are now both in use and are quite comfortable:
Speaking of scraps, I decided to make another large wallet that utilized thin scraps of black doe kidskin. I figure if anyone wants it I can either make it a chain wallet or give it a wrist strap, depending on how they intend to use it:

Fun times modifying knives continues - I picked up a Kershaw OD-2 knife for my girlfriend so I could make some scales for it in the toxic green she likes so much. It was close enough to the color of an artichoke that it seemed like a good idea to shape them like one. This project was quite a bit more difficult than the previous one, as the knife is an assisted opener and there are moving parts inside the handle.
For my girlfriend's birthday she asked if I would make her a belt. So I did. This extra-fancy belt is tooled with animal imagery and includes giant anteaters, a giraffe, an octopus and a pelican, and has edge braiding all the way down the length of the belt. For the buckle, I took a polished solid brass buckle, ground off a thin layer in the shape of giraffe spots and dunked the whole thing in acid. Only the ground away spots tarnished:
Last but not least is a fairly large bag. A buddy of mine works for a local brewery, and frequently travels to bars to set up unique casks of their brew for special events. He needed something that could hold all the gear he needs to accomplish this - tools, the spout, a collapsible stand that holds the cask, etc.