Thursday, 17 April 2008

Hand colouring leather

Though I am going through exhibition hell I still have commissions to work on. One is a fantastic book with some superb illustrations. I hope that when the book is finished the owner will allow me to tell you more about it.

My first training was in art and design. Even to day I will on occasion refer to the leather as a canvas and apply colour as if were so.

So there now follows a number of images of one way of treating leather. Fun to do and spontaneous.

The leather, Fair Goat in this particular case, is first cut to the correct size, pared down to 0.6 of a millimeter, with turn ins of 0.4. The skin is then taped to a board and the colour applied.

The first touch with the swab is always the most daunting. The one problem with leather is that there is no opportunity to do any prep work on the leather as any marks will show and disfigure the surface.

I prefer to dye leather in this way. The colour is built up slowly, thus creating depth and movement.

The secret is to work with a fixed idea of the finished look, but be flexible enough to go with the flow.

It looks easy and it is if you have practised and really understand the materials,the dye stuff and the result of each application.

Slowly adding more dye.

Until the first process is complete. Let it dry, time for a cup of tea.

The final dye stuff is then applied.

A few more applications. As much time is spent just looking at the work as it progresses. It is so important to realise when to stop.

The finished result.

This is only a small part of the total number of steps that have been taken with this particular book. There are any number of different ways of working with leather and colour. My advice would be to practise, to understand the what and why of using any method. Find what works for you.

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