Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Farewell 2013, Hello 2014

I Declare World Peace in 2014!
Joy and blessings to you and yours :-)
Happy New Year ~ Kathy

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Some Special Pieces...

Just in time for the Holidays, I've posted a few new Earth Medallions in my Etsy shop. These make wonderful, unique gifts for 'most anyone on your list! To see the listings for these pieces (and so much more!) visit me on Etsy at www.aosleather.etsy.com

Cherry Creek Jasper
Crazy Lace Agate

Owyhee Jasper
Rose Quartz

Ocean Jasper

Silver Lace Onyx w Dendrites

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Building a Tooled Belt Design

I thought it might be fun to show you, start to finish, how the design for this belt was built. 
It begins with the leather, of course. I use an exceptional grade of 8/9oz full-grain cowhide, cutting the straps by hand. I case my belts overnight - this is the process of getting the strap wet enough to tool but not so wet that it distorts with the impacts. Everyone has their own way of achieving this balance - I wet them thoroughly then put them in a plastic bag and into the refrigerator overnight. This lets the water distribute evenly to the inner grain and eliminates the need to re-wet while tooling.
Of course, you need a very hard surface to work on (I have my Big Block of granite) and a variety of tools from which to choose. I select each tool as i go on a new pattern - these are the eight tools I wound up choosing for this belt (tool numbers are notated on the progress pics).
I started by scoring the outer edges to create a border, then marked the design "centers" with faint dots. The spacing on this design is 1.5"


 The first tool (v400) is used twice at each mark, with the mark in the center, hit firmly with a 12oz mallet. 

Then the next tool (v406) is added in the space between the sets of the first tool. 

Next, one of my go-to faves (c366)  fills the small gaps, followed by a nice wavy "bridge" (v421) over the centers. 

Here I wanted to create an undulation to the flow with an inverted crescent  (v920) followed by smaller crescents (v744) in the opposite direction to frame the inverted ones. (whew! by now I've hit this belt hundreds of times!)
Then the design is bound together with seed-dots (s705) and, finally, embellished with small peaks (u851) under the bridges.

Edges were beveled and burnished, the belt was dyed a deep antiqued brown and finished with my own secret 3-layer process. 
To celebrate the appearance of this handsome design in this tooling demo, I've named this belt "Premier".
You can find it and others in my Etsy shop, linked at the top of the left toolbar.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Creative Fusion

Merriam-Webster defines fusion as a merging of diverse, distinct, or separate elements into a unified whole.
 When Kristan, a fellow Etsy artisan, approached me a couple of years ago and asked about ordering leather bands for some bracelets she wanted to make, I was intrigued. Her medium is PMC fine silver - the possibilities of what she could do with some quality leather bands excited the imagination.
"These Three"

She did not disappoint! Her shop, SilverWishes, has an equestrian leaning and her work has a strong nature theme, which suits my style quite well. I would be fibbing if I didn't tell you that her art makes my leather bands look darned good!!
"Winter Soul"
Her wonderful work and friendly personality make her Etsy shop a must-see for anyone who loves silver, horses and unique jewelry.
These pictures are just a sampling of the splendid items you'll find when you visit... I am honored to continue to be a part of her gorgeous art!