Monday, December 14, 2009

Fargo Leather Carving Class

Well, the class in Fargo is over now and it was a success. I had 4 students and they all did a great job on their wrens. It's always fun to get together with other leather carvers and work on projects together and I'm really liking being able to help them try new things and overcome their fears and intimidations.

Here's a picture of me with a couple of my favorite things, my big hat and my big Mountain Dew!

We started the class Friday evening with tracing, carving, beveling and embossing our wrens. I picked up a can of rubber cement from the store to mix up the putty for embossing with and never gave a thought to how the re-formulated cement might work. Rubber cement is rubber cement, right? Well, when we got back to class Saturday morning we got a little surprise. Some of the rubber cement had soaked through to the front of the leather. It looks like this was where the leather had been sitting on the marble slabs overnight. I guess that's maybe why Jan Schoonover always hangs projects up by a corner overnight to dry??

Here you can see the spot left on Zack's bird where the cement had soaked through. It made the leather really hard in that area and difficult to cut the feathers, but we worked through it. The next problem was that the putty didn't dry. Even after a couple days, it's still as mushy as it was when we mixed it up. That wasn't a real big problem with this project. We just used a modeling tool instead of bevelers. If it would have been a project where we needed to bevel in muscle contours and things like that, I don't know what we would have done. So, message to self, make sure you've tried all the materials you're going to use in class BEFORE the class!!! I decided to try Tandy's Block Out as an alternative to Feibing's X-1 finish as a stiffener on the feathers and sealer before painting and it worked really well. It's good to know that I have a replacement for the X-1 that you can't get anymore.

My good friend Dave Peterson drove over from Bismarck to take this class with me, and my new friend Bob Feakes is from Hawley, MN.

In this picture is 11 year old Zack Myers. I was really impressed with his skill at carving leather and his patience. We spent 10 hours working on this project on Saturday and he kept at it till the end. If this guy keeps at this, I predict he's gonna be a future master leather carver, and a great candidate for the Ann Stohlman award.

A lot of times in the classes I've taken over the years, when we get to the coloring part of the class, we are running out of time or people are just wanting to be done already, or for some other reason, the coloring part gets rushed through. I have always found the coloring part to be quite challenging and I hoped that in my classes, I could really focus on that part and teach the students some of the things that have worked for me. It didn't work very well at the first class I taught in Rapid, we ran out of time too. So at this class, we started earlier and ran longer, but I got to spend the time I wanted to on the coloring. I think it paid off when Dave came up to me and said, "out of all the classes I've taken, this is the first one where I've been happy with how the coloring turned out". It was getting late by the time we got the painting of the birds finished, so I just gave them a quick demo on how I painted the background.

Here's Mark Norquist, the manager of the Tandy Leather Factory store in Fargo. Thanks Mark for inviting me to do this class in Fargo. I hope we get to do more of these in the future!

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