Well one good thing about feeling under the weather and having crappy real weather to boot is that I have had a burst of indoor productivity resulting in filed taxes, baked breads, requested grant funds, and, more artwork!
Working with this new leather has really been encouraging. It's finally possible to make a product that is "finished" to a level of craftsmanship that I am happy with. Also, the idea struck me to use the stamps I carve for stationary to print the interior side of the leather before stitching it all together, supper diggin' the breakthrough feeling!
Stray Goose Studio is stepping up in the world and is investing in tools and materials to advance the quality and ease of product production! I am pleased for my own sake, as the act of making is always a better experience when the right tools for the job are available and the materials are both ethically sourced and nice to work with, but mostly I am excited to now offer what are definitely improved leather goods. The first wallet of this new line is pictured above and bellow. The leather is vegetable tanned (an environmentally friendly process!) cowhide sourced from the USA that I then cut, punch holes in and hand stitch with linen I've bees-waxed. Lastly the edges are beveled, dampened with water and slicked for a supper clean look. This wallet was rubbed with organic coconut oil resulting in a color reminiscent of parched desert soil but it will evolve with use becoming richer, softer and truly unique.
While I was on my studio improvement spending spree I also picked up a new Swiss wax file and a diamond needle file set to benefit my carving processes. The wax file's teeth are more like a woodworking rasp than the supper fine teeth of my metalsmithing files. Because of this they are able to bite off and remove materials like bone and ivory without clogging up and having to be constantly cleaned. The needle files are helpful in the same way. It is also nice that they work like sandpaper and "cut" in all directions of movement so that I can more easily clean up tight spots in the object I am carving. So much good news already but the last and possibly best tidbit is that the outdoors had put on a fresh, sunshine-y face today for a change. Lovely to have Raggedtop Mountain gleaming through the window:)
Here is a peak at a bitty sparrow I am making out of antique elephant ivory. She is very sweet to work with but not quite finished. Still she needs some sanding but mostly it is a solution for how she might be worn that is my main concern. A simple string with a bow closure would be quaint but not the most reliable of clasps. I don't want to over power her meek beauty with too many extraneous details or materials.
Since its drearily pouring rain outside I will be spending my day partially at my work bench pondering while sanding through to the fine grits as well as at the oven baking a comforting, chewy loaf of sourdough before settling onto my mat later for Erin's vinyasa flow class at the Yoga Shack. Maybe I will even indulge in a bath and a movie before bed and truly spoil myself. All in the name of health as a head-cold seems to be testing my immunity... bet it can't beat all that self love!
Time is getting away awfully quick, as I am sure others will agree, but not without a photo shoot! Here are the finished lanyards previously mentioned. They are tied with artificial sinew which is like poly "roving" coated in wax. Since it is not plied and twisted it smooths together nicely and makes a rounder final cord that glides nicely into various lengths. The keys, though I like them a lot and have been keeping them for years, will in future pieces be replaced by hand carved forms. Last year I carved a very simple gull. For my next project I would like to re-visit that idea and specifically study the Black Legged Kittiwake, one of my favorite sea birds on PWS.
A periodic glimpse into the artist's surroundings, processes and resulting handy works.