Human civilization had discovered and developed a lot of craft over the years. One of the earliest is leather crafting. Early existence of this wonderful craft is proven by ancient artefacts made from leather that dates as early as 1300 BC. It must have been difficult for our ancestors to create bags, clothes, shoes and collars out of leather since leather tools during those times were limited. However, this limitation did not stop them from creating leather products of good quality. Over the years, experience taught us how to make the most out of leather by creating different leather tools. Today, we can turn a piece of leather not just into something that functions, but into a wonderful piece of artwork as well.
Leather carving is one of the more popular ways of creating art in leather. It is done by getting a moist vegetable tanned leather and using ones imagination and skills to carve a beautiful design on to the leather. From a set of good leather tools, choose the tool that would bring out the best out of the moist leather. It is important to bear in mind that there should be a three dimensional effect to your artwork. The secret to a beautiful and lively design is the proper use and selection of your leather tool. Different depths and shadows can be formed from these tools.
Here are some of the primary and essential leather craft supplies needed in leather carving: the rotary cutter, polymer mallet, ballpoint stylus and the adjustable swivel knife. To begin, moisten your vegetable tanned leather with water. Make sure it is just moist but not soggy. Select a design and trace it on tracing paper using a pencil. Next, trace the design from the tracing paper to your leather using a ballpoint stylus. Be sure to press firmly so that the complete outline is visible on your leather. Now we can start to carve the outline using the adjustable swivel knife.
From the list of basic leather tools we mentioned earlier, the swivel knife is the one that requires more craftsmanship. When using this amazing tool, three things happen at the same time. You are going to press down the knife on to your leather while you slide it along your outline as you rotated it to follow the curves of your design. Some practice using this tool will help. Next, use the pear shader to press down the leather with the help of a polymer mallet. This adds the shapes, the texture and contour of your design. Other variations of the shader are the camouflage tool, the veiner and the seeder.
Two more leather working tools are necessary to finish your artwork. They are the beveller and the backgrounder. Use the beveller to give your artwork a look like it is chiselled away. This gives your design more edge. Now the backgrounder works exactly the opposite way. Use the backgrounder on areas that are not really a part of your design. These two tools will give your design more prominence thus bringing your artwork to life. The keys to a beautiful leather craft are the proper choice and proper use of leather tools. These two combined with imagination will definitely bring your design to life.