Sunday, August 9, 2009

My first leather class (as the teacher)

On July 24 and 25, 2009 I made my leather teaching debut at the Tandy store in Rapid City, SD. The subject of the class was the Carolina wren pattern that Kate Dubiel had shared with me earlier this year. Kate came all the way from Kansas to attend the class and Kathy Flanagan came up from Colorado. The other 5 participants were from the Rapid City area (or close).
We started the class on Friday evening by tracing, cutting and beveling the wren. Then I showed them the basics of extreme embossing leather. Embossing (in this case) is stretching the leather out so that your subject stands out from the background, giving it a real 3-D look. Then we mixed up some leather dust and rubber cement to make putty and filled in the cavity we created in the back of the leather.
Once the putty was in place, we quit for the evening as the putty needs to dry before we could proceed any further. Clay Miller took Kate, Kathy, Stacy and I over to the Firehouse for a late evening meal. It was a nice chance to get to visit since we don't get to see each other very often.

On Saturday morning, after stopping to pick up some doughnuts, we went back to the store to start up where we had let off. We started off by attaching the leather to a piece of cardboard and re-beveling the bird. Then it was time to start the feathering. I made up a bunch of "hairing" knives from a piece of wooden dowell and X-acto knife blades for this step. Using that knife and a scalpel, you can make fairly realistic feathers on leather (and we didn't even have to break out the band aids, but I was prepared!)

Here the feathering on the bird is complete.

The next step was to do the coloring. I was a little disappointed in this part of the class as several of us didn't finish this portion. The good thing was that several of the students got ahead of me (following the instructions in the lesson plan I had given them) and did get thier birds colored. We were so busy that I completly forgot to get a class picture or pictures of everyones projects :o(

After the class was over, we were all invited to Clay Miller's home for a get together of the Dakotah Territories Leather Guild and a picnic. The food was great and afterwards we all gathered in Clay's workshop. I had brought along several of my leather carvings as well as some pieces from my collection of other peoples work to show everone. My wife Stacy did a quick deomonstration on how we emboss leaves into leather with a Cuddle Bug. Clay Miller gave us a demonstration on how he makes stacked leather pens. It was a great evening talking, sharing, and making new friends. Again, I forgot to take pictures until almost everyone had left. I did get one of Clay, Kathy, Kate and me. All in all it was a great weekend and I hope we get a chance to do something like this again in the future.

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