Interview: French Leather Gilder – Lucie Monin

When I think of gilded leather I imagine gorgeous antique books. Hand Bound, with gold detailing, from a time long since passed.

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detail: “La Vie des Insectes” dated from 1900 written by J.-H. Fabre
made in the Wiener Werkstatte workshop

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“La Vie des Insectes” dated from 1900 written by J.-H. Fabre
made in the Wiener Werkstatte workshop

As with many other hand crafted techniques gilded leather is usually performed in the present day by machines.  Often referred to as “Hot Stamping Machines” or a “Gold foil Press”. These machines are commonly used to stamp a logo or brand inside footwear or make prints for leather goods.

I can attest to the difference between machine made gold transfers and gilding which has been created by hand. The pressure and quality of the lines is in a different league. Hand Gilded leather is very luxurious, even the glow of the gold is superior.

The individual featured in this interview is a very talented contemporary leather crafts person; Lucie Monin lives and works as a professional gilder in Paris, France. Lucie has opened my eyes to the possibilities, relevance and beauty of gilded leather in the preset day .

I met Lucie back in September when I attended the 2013 “Le Cuir à Paris : – Fur and leather Event. Twice a year this event showcases talented craftspeople under the title of “Bespoke” and provides participants with stands to display unique works that celebrate leather.

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Gants Maison Fabre, Lucie Monin

As I approached the bespoke stands I was immediately drawn to the shimmering gold that was aglow around Lucie.The closer I got to her works the more fascinated I became with the intricate gold details.

6. 1ERECLASSE_janv13_ Lucie Monin pour Thierry Lasry.

Lucie Monin pour (for) Thierry Lasry

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Taneka Carel, Lucie Monin

Please read the interview below: the questions and answers are in French as well as English:

1. Nous nous sommes rencontré au salon le cuir à paris, pouvez-vous me raconté votre expérience à cet évènement?

Le salon Le Cuir à Paris fut l’occasion pour moi de rencontrer un certain nombre de personnes intéressantes issues du milieu de la mode, du design ou de l’architecture intérieure. Ce qui a le plus intéressé les visiteurs sur mon stand : le service de personnalisation en direct que je propose pour des évènements ( inauguration de boutique, lancement de collection série limitée, soirée presse, soirée pour les fêtes de Noël…)

1. I met you at Le Cuir à Paris, how would you describe the experience of participating in this event?

The show “Le Cuir à Paris” was the opportunity for me to meet a number of interesting people from the fashion industry, from design and interior design. What interested visitors to my stand the most: the service of live customization which I propose for events (inauguration of shop, launch of a limited edition serial collection, an evening press, and an evening for Christmas)

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Lucie Monin at work

2. Parlez-moi de la dorure?

Voici exactement ce en quoi mon travail de doreuse consiste : Il y a d’abord la partie création, où je dessine, puis je customise ces même dessins en or sur des pièces qui deviennent uniques (même un particulier peut venir me voir). Je propose également comme je viens de l’expliquer, des personnalisations (initiales ou messages) sur différents types d’accessoires en cuir, dans le cadre évènementiel. Par exemple pour Tommy Hilfiger au sein du concept store Colette, à Madrid ou à Dusseldorf, ou encore pour Red Carpet au festival de Cannes. Je serai présente chez Merci pour la Maison Fabre au mois de décembre.

2. What is gilding?

Here is exactly what the work of gilder consists of: Firstly there is the part of creation, where I draw, then I customize the same drawings with gold on an accessory  which become unique. (even a private individual can come to see me). I also offer as I have just explained it, live personalizations (initials or messages) on various leather accessories, for events. Some example are: for Tommy Hilfiger within the concept store Colette, in Madrid or in Düsseldorf. Also for Red Carpet in the Cannes film festival. I shall be present at MERCI for the luxury french company Maison Fabre in December 2013.

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Dr. Martens Boutique Paris, Lucie Monin

7. 1ERECLASSE_janv13. Lucie Monin pour Dr Martens

Lucie Monin pour (for) Dr Martens

3. Quel a été votre parcours, et comment en êtes vous arriver à être une doreuse sur cuir?

Je suis restée 3 ans au sein des Centre des Arts du Livre (anciennement les Arts Déco) à Paris , souhaitant me spécialiser dans la restauration de livres anciens. Puis j’ai effectuée quelques années à l’école bleue, architecture intérieure et design. Finalement, j’ai rapidement voulu créer un concept : revisiter le savoir-faire de dorure sur livre à travers l’univers de la mode, en le remettant au goût du jour. C’est formidable de pouvoir personnaliser à sa guise n’importe quel accessoire et lui donner une vie plus singulière, en rapport avec soi !

3. What is your background and how did you arrive here, being a leather guilder?

I stayed 3 years within “Le Centre des Arts du Livre”(formerly Arts deco) in Paris, wishing to specialize in the restoration of old books. Then I spent a few years at “L’Ecole Bleue”: design school. Finally, I quickly wanted to create a concept: revisit the know-how of gilt on book through the world of fashion, reference the past but with current tastes. It is great to be able to personalize as one pleases any accessory and give to an accessory a unique life, in touch with the individual owner!

14.Chaussure homme Walter Steiger habillée d'or. Photo Laurent Depaepe

Chaussure homme (mens shoe) Walter Steiger habillée d’or, Lucie Monin Photo Laurent Depaepe

13. Commande pour Blake & Goodyear,  Modèle signé Pierre Corthay. Photo Laurent Depaepe

Commande pour Blake & Goodyear, Modèle signé Pierre Corthay, Lucie Monin Photo Laurent Depaepe,

4. Quel est l’histoire de la dorure? comment cet art as t-il évolué pour devenir ce qu’il est aujourd’hui?

Avec les Guerres d’Italie, la première dorure sur livre est arrivée en France en 1494 « la Couronne de Charles VIII ». Elle ennoblie les manuscrits royaux durant la Monarchie, reste présente au XIXème, malgré la Révolution Industrielle, et est réadaptée de manière plus contemporaine début XXème avec l’arrivée du Cubisme, et du Surréalisme. On l’a un peu délaissé au profit de la dorure industrielle par la suite.

4. What is the history of gilding? How has this craft evolved over the years to where we are now?

With the Wars of Italy, the first gilt on book arrived in France in 1494 ” La couronne de Charles VIII “. The gild ennobled the royal manuscripts during the Monarchy, remains present in the XIXth, in spite of the Industrial revolution, and is readjusted in a more contemporary way with the XXth, beginning with the arrival of the Cubism, and the Surrealism. Afterward, it is more abandoned for the benefit of industrial gold transfer machinery.

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Lucie Monin at work

5. Avez-vous un mentor ou avez-vous étudiez cet art? avez-vous des livres ou des sites web a recommender?

Michel Richard, un ponte dans le milieu de la dorure, mais peu connu des média. Exigeant, il m’a apprit les bonnes bases. Il faut être patient, rigoureux, et méticuleux.

5. Have you had any mentors or education to learn how to guild? Any reference books or websites you would recommend?

Michel Richard, a heavyweight in the universe of the gilt – but little known of in the media. He has me taught the good base: It is necessary to be patient, rigorous, and meticulous.

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Exploration sous-marine, Lucie Monin

6. J’aime beaucoup votre style, il me semble très fluide, d’un design tellement détaillés, et parfois aussi minimal. Faites-vous des plans ou des croquis, ou laissez-vous votre imagination vous guider au fur et à mesure que le travail avance?

Il y a effectivement un travail de graphisme en amont. Une fois que le client valide, je le redessine sur calque, puis, à chaud en transparence je reproduis ce même dessin sur le cuir. Une fois cela réalisé, je peux ajouter l’or exactement dans ces mêmes traces. Merci April pour le compliment, mon style est en effet fluide, aérien, mais aussi organique et mouvant. Je m’inspire beaucoup de l’art nouveau Loie Fuller, ou encore des compositions que nous offre la nature, les fond marins.

6. I love your style, to me it is very fluid with gentle sweeping lines with a lot of intricate design, and then it can be very minimal too. Do you plan or sketch your ideas or do you work directly on leather allowing the imagery to unfold?

When the customer has a design, I redraw it on copy, then, under heat in transparency I reproduce the same drawing on the leather. Once it is realized, I can then add the gold exactly in the same tracks. Thank you April for the compliment, my style is indeed fluid, like air, but also organic and unstable. I am inspired by many of the art nouveau Loie Fuller, and always the compositions which are offered to us from nature, especially the sea bed.

2. Robe monogrammée Précieuse. Design et motifs Valéry Damnon; dorure Lucie Monin

Robe monogrammée Précieuse. Design et motifs Valéry Damnon; dorure Lucie Monin

7. Comment faites-vous la balance entre vos idées et votre style tout en respectant les exigences du client?

Les clients qui me font appel aiment justement mon style de dessin, donc je peux jouir d’un liberté de création, c’est formidable ! Lorsqu’un projet est précis, je m’adapte, mais toujours avec cette « pâte ».

7. How do you strike a balance between staying true to your own aesthetic and pleasing your client for customizations?

The customers who call on to me like my style of drawing, thus I can enjoy the freedom of creation, it is great! When a project is specific, I adapt myself, but always with my own “touch”.

1. Bottine Walter Steiger habillée d'or

Bottine Walter Steiger habillée d’or, Lucie Monin

8. Nous avions prévu nous rencontrer à votre studio a Paris, malheureusement, vos enfants n’étaient pas bien. Étant moi-même jeune maman, je cherche toujours a améliorer l’équilibre entre m’occuper de mon enfant et avoir le temps pour travailler a mes projets,- comment y parvenez-vous? Et comment vos enfants vous inspire t-ils dans votre travail?

J’ai des jumeaux de 16 mois, et oui la plupart du temps c’est sportif et pas évident à gérer avec le travail. Vous devez savoir de quoi je parle ! mais se sentir maman est tout de même extraordinaire. Cela peut paraître étrange mais ces deux fripons m’influencent aussi pour mon art !!

8. We planned to meet at your studio in Paris but unfortunately your little ones were unwell. As a mother myself I am always wondering how I can improve the balance between being a mama and working for myself – how do you manage this? How do your children inspire your practice?

I have twins (16-month-old), and yes most of the time it is sports and not easy to manage with my work. You must know what I am speaking of! But to experience motherhood is all the same very extraordinary. It may seem odd but these two rascals also influence my art practice!!

Merci Lucie Monin, it was a pleasure meeting you, I look forward to seeing your future projects. To find out more visit this website: www.luciemonin.com

Until next time -April

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Current Exhibition: The Imaginary Happenings of Hospitalfield

The “Imaginary happenings of Hospitalfield” series is finally finished, and is currently showing at Gallery@OXO Tower, Southbank, London until the end of this month (daily 11am-6pm)

The series of five boots were made as an outcome of preliminary sketches made at Hospitalfield House during the Royal Overseas League annual artist residency in 2010. “The Imaginary Happenings Of Hospitalfield” explores the alternative realities of being removed from the everyday modern life and how our imaginations can transport us to see our world anew.

All of the imagery adorning these boots has been Illustrated with pencil, hand carved onto raw vegetable tanned leather, and painted with stains and paints in layers by hand. Each boot explores a story influenced by the history and unique experience of spending time living and working at Hospitalfield.

The style of boot referenced by the series is a carriage boot. As the name would suggest these boots were worn by women while riding as a passenger in a carriage pulled by a horse during the late 19th Century. These fur trim boots were worn in the carriage to keep feet warm, not to step foot on the ground outside. Stored within Hospitalfield I was shown a carriage hidden under white dusty drop sheets, a relic from this time.

Arbroath Autumn

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“Arbroath Autumn”, The Imaginary happenings of hospitalfield series, 2013

During my time at Hospitalfield house it was Autumn. The leaves fell from the trees in a hurry, flushes of colour and constant movement made the leaves come alive. More about these boots in a prior post here.

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“Arbroath Autumn” (Top View), The Imaginary happenings of hospitalfield series, 2013

That Rabbit Has Three Ears

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“That Rabbit has Three Ears”, The Imaginary happenings of hospitalfield series, 2013

After a couple of weeks in the ancient castle myself and the fellow resident artists would comment on our altered state of mind in this new and strange setting. One night I was completely convinced one of the rabbits that ran in front of the car as we returned to Hospitalfield had three ears. Read more about these boots in a prior post here.

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“That Rabbit Has Three Ears”, (Top View) The Imaginary happenings of hospitalfield series, 2013

Smokie with beach treasures

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“Smokie with beach treasures”, The Imaginary happenings of hospitalfield series, 2013

Arbroath, the coastal village where we were located for this residency was famous for a smoked fish delicacy called “smokie”. My daily walks to the nearby beach would present beach treasures, many of which became new and special from this point of view. These bits the ocean dumped amongst the rocks held some kind of meaning, representing the strange life of the human being. More on this prior post here.

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“Smokie with beach treasures” (top view), The Imaginary happenings of hospitalfield series, 2013

Thieving Crows

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“Thieving Crows”, The Imaginary happenings of hospitalfield series, 2013

Large flocks of crows would look down from the tall trees in the gardens of Hospitalfield House. Always searching, always watching. I daydreamed as I sat on the roof balcony as I admired these birds. I Imagined that when the lady of the house: Elizabeth Fraser passed away (in 1873) the crows went rummaging through her belongings in search of precious jewels.

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“Thieving Crows” (Top View), The Imaginary happenings of hospitalfield series, 2013

Keys to Hospitalfield

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“Keys to Hospitalfield”, The Imaginary happenings of hospitalfield series, 2013

There must be hundred locks at hospitalfield: gates, doors, barns, sheds, clocks, entrances into the walls, chests, cupboards, latches, cellars, attics. As I explored my way through the labyrinth I would often find I was locked out. I got a hold of the keys to hospitalfield – what a magnificent set of keys they were! I spent an entire day looking at these keys and enjoyed translating the forms into drawings. As time passed the keys changed, accordingly I created some future key designs of my own.

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“Keys to Hospitalfield” (Top View), The Imaginary happenings of hospitalfield series, 2013

Watch all Five pairs of carriage boots in time lapse with a 360° view in the video below:

(BIG HUGE thank you to lyssandhercamera.com for all of her patience and love in assisting me to put this together)

Until next time

-April

J’aime le Cuir A Paris – Leather & Fur Event 2013

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Entrance to le cuir a paris

Since January it has been my plan to attend the 2013 Le Cuir A Paris Autumn/Winter leather and fur event.

Held twice a year this is the place where leather suppliers, tanneries, and sellers of all things related to leather convene for a three day event.

With over 400 exhibitors and 14,000 visitors there is a lot to see amongst a large crowd.

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Stalls of cuir a paris

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colourful cow hides inside cuir a paris

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moving image booth at le cuir a paris

For me I have mostly purchaced leather through Australian suppliers, who are of course buying the leather in bulk from tanneries with their own profit included in the price. Purchacing directly has the advantage of eliminating the middle man for a better price for materials. There is another advantage for me to meet the tanneries – I was pleased to speak to the suppliers to answer my questions:

How is the leather tanned?

How is the process you are using to tan the leather minimising the impact to the environment?

What is the story of your tannery?

How does your tannery dispose of chemicals?

I am happy to report many of the stall holders welcomed these questions and I learnt a lot about current technologies and the progression of vegetable tanning to meet modern needs of leather. It is also worth considering that while chrome tanned leather is not as environmentally sound most countries have very strict regulations for the disposal and use of chemicals.

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beautiful coloured cow skins produced using vegetable tanning and very environmentally friendly dyes

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Texture

It was my expectation to be impressed by leather textures at cuir a paris… and impressed I was!

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sheep skin blocked onto wool

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cow split blocked from a mould made from crumpled paper

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fur quilted in plastic

fur quilted in plastic

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sheep skin embossed with large bubble shape

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sliced cow hides in vibrant metallic gold and shimmering matt finishes, the under colours added a beautiful dimension

Prints / Pattern / Colour 

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pin hole perforated leather made to order in france!

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a reoccuring colour of brick browns

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these are all synhthetic leathers, some are made to look like leather but I prefer the interesting techniques used which dont resemble leather at all

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a stunning example of how vegetable tanned leather with natural dyes can compete for the attention of the discerning fashion buyer

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printed scene on entire leather cowhide

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organsation of samples / catalogues and all things collected at le cuir a paris

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This event was so huge I needed two full days to get around it!

There will be a future post on this blog to cover interviews taken with participants of Bespoke showcase.

Until Next time,

-April

Deeahne – Leather Carving and Tooling

I am one person who spends most days being very busy. This kind of busy becomes a bit hectic with a very little person as my side kick (daughter) so to get some of my recent projects underway I really needed some help. Carving leather is such an incredible craft and I will admit that while I have carved in the past I can acknowledge the fact that shoe making is enough of a challenge and some things are better left for another lifetime. I also love that my illustrations can be translated into a carved surface so lovingly by Deeahne, and then I get the leather pieces back – this feels so exciting a bit like unwrapping a highly anticipated present. I find the “break” from illustrating the imagery to receiving the carved pieces again allows me to be much clearer when it is time to paint them. I can see the imagery with a fresh pair of eyes.

Deeahne was introduced to me by a friend and it was nice to know someone so lovely and talented was working so close to where I live in the mid North Coast of NSW. There is a bright light that shines out Dee, I really appreciate all the work she has done for me.

I enjoyed speaking to Deeahne so much about her craft I decided to interview her for this post:

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Deeahne with Corneilia the cockateil

How did you come to find out about leather tooling? What made you decide to practice this craft?

When i was a child in the 70’s my mother and a lot of her friends had hand tooled and hand made leather bags, belts and sandals.Hand tooled and handcrafted items were all the fashion back then, i  always remember the smell of them and to this day i still find the smell of hide soothing. Maybe its the old memory of human survival being so entwined with herd animals ie: bison, deer, buffalo, cattle, goats etc. How entwined our ancestors lives and to this day a lot of Indigenous peoples lives from various continents are dependent on these animals for so much: food, clothing, shelter warmth, such basic stuff for so long. For so long humanities very survival was dependent on these animals and not just in the physical things they provided, like sustenance and nurturing but also the spiritual connection, the spiritual sustenance and nurturing these creatures have provided and still provide us to this day. So over the years my partner and i have stumbled over old hand tooled relics in Op Shops, old bags and wallets and the energy and craftsmanship and nostalgia has fascinated me for years. Eventually we bought a leather kit about two years ago and have been tapping away ever since…

Leather is a versatile material to work with, what do you like about leather? What are the challenges?

I love the sensuality of vege tanned leather
i love the smell
i love the peace the act of tooling evokes
i love that you can wet it and then leather will retain the marks and sculptured images bevelled into it
i love that it was once a creature used for its meat and the by product is its skin, and its skin housed a body and a consciousness, has eaten plants and felt sunshine and has walked on this earth, i actually feel it is honoring the animal  to create something beautiful  from its skin. So that’s where the challenges come into it for me as well. i would like to be able to access Veg Tanned Leather, that is environmentally responsible and has ethical treatment of its animals as a priority at the moment our supplier is buying skins from Argentina, although Vege Tanned Leather is supposedly “Eco Friendly” in that it uses plants and bark for the tanning process and not nasty chemicals i wonder how Eco friendly it all is also i have concerns for the environmental impact of large scale cattle production and of course the ethical concerns of how the animals are treated respect is a big one for me so  i am also hoping there could be a tooling alternative devised in the future for example “Cork Leather” that could be grande to explore!!
oh and another challenge with doing leather work and any art that requires sitting and focusing for a long period of time is to remember to STAND UP move around and stretch and even alternate with a standing work bench space, i get very physically fidgety after a while so stretching taking a physical and energetic break is very important i’m going to purchase an exercise bike and a trampoline so i can cut sik physically……yay!!  i’d like something i could hang upside down on tooo that would be fun …
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You must have quite a few tools in your collection! To the untrained eye many of these look the same–How are they different? Any favourites?

 We love our leather tools some of them are very old and you cant buy them new anymore so they come with they’re own energetic history. I just had a friend give us a box of old leather carving tools she found at a garage sale, the old woman that sold them told the story with tears in her eyes about how her now deceased husband had collected them one by one over the years and how he made rocking horses for children and used the tools for stamping and carving the leather bridles on the horses……we LOVE this hand made box and its 84 tools!! Over the past two years we have been buying them new and old off ebay and online leather tool shops its always exciting to get them in the mail! They all do all kinds of special things there is a trillion types of leather stamps performing various functions for leaving all kinds of impressions in the leather…Bevelers….Smooth Bevelers…Lined Bevelers..Backgrounders…Flower centres..etc etc…Different picture stamps…swivel knives …mallets…leather cutting shears…etc etc
I LOVE them ALL!!

ok so i give you some real  basic steps say you want to make a book mark or something easy like that

1. Buy some vege tanned leather
2. cut to size
3. Decide on a design and draw it up on tracing paper
4. Wet the leather with water or carving solution
5. Place stencil of tracing paper on top of the leather draw over lines on stencil so as to leave a visible impression in the leather
6. Use a leather Swivel Knife to cut into the line impressions
7. Use a leather beveling stamp tool to stamp around the cut impressions and bring out the design
8. The rest is up to personal taste and what you want to do with the piece. ie background bevelers….borderlines…dyeing …painting…etc
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You mentioned to me the first time we met you were self taught, do you have any resources or mentors that have assisted you?

I can say that my biggest mentor has been the desire to do it which has been building up over the years. i have a vague memory of making a very simple project in primary school and once someone gave me a leather wallet with a horse carved into it when i was a child. These things have probably etched in my memory. So we have accessed information online and have acquired a few old books that give you step by step instructions, other than that it has just been my experimentation and enjoyment which has expanded the interest into a creative hobby. Also having an artistic eye and inclination helps, i’ve always loved to draw and paint and immerse myself in music always. We like having days where a few friends get together and tap under the trees ….its sweet.

You have a special studio space set up – how would you describe it? What impact do you think this environment has on your work ?

We live in an old farm house and we have a room where we store all our tools and gear but our studio space is basically our house and the  timber veranda that looks over a picturesque dam and is surrounded by old Tallowood trees and rainforest pockets. Lots of Native birds and mammals visit us and surprise us with charm and songs daily. We also have lots of company from our menagerie of domestic animals ie/ Rescued chooks , very funny amazing  Ferrets!! , guinea pigs, cats, gouldion finches, rescue dogs, hand raised cockateils, quails, Siamese fighting fish …yay!! There is a lot of humour, distraction, heartfelt warmth, feeding, cage cleaning and lots of furry feathery kisses!! We feel very blessed to live amongst it all natures natural abundance. Firewood just falls from the limbs of the trees…..and it is extroadinarily peaceful….we pass thru a green tree tunnel at the opening of our road….and when you pass thru that, everything vibrationally changes….the temperature drops and the trees surround you leaving the hustle of human behind except for the sound of the neighbors dogs and sometimes our roosters in those moments me and my partner look at each other and sigh..’ hmmm its quiet in the country….(sometimes not!!). So i’m sure this energetic peace we have experienced here has an impact on the leather work we do……yes we are close to the seasons and the elements, and to the feathers and fur and carving leather is about  as ancient as all that.
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Deeahne and Huckellberry

Modern machines have taken the place of many of the jobs previously completed by hand. Embossing processes and laser cutting can create depth in leather in similar ways to carving / tooling. How do you see what you do in reference to this?

Well to me something made by someone with warm hands a heart beat…breath…dreams…something made with someones intention for beauty or communication something hand woven, something drawn, something carved…with emotion…with honouring and enchantment will always be far superior than a mass produced article, but that is just my inkling. I gasp when i see or feel these beautiful things like hand carved canoes, old 70s macrame, birds nests so delicately put together – and so many varieties of birds nests……so amazing. Woven bags made from sea grass, a hand made guitar, a cave that has been carved for years by the relentless and salty sea. These things make my heart beat and my senses come alive and trip me over with the wonder and awe for life xx  I thank machines though they have given us a lot, but for me its important to be immersed in the balance…and access the skills and heart and craftsmanship of our ancestors with respect for nature and then environment whilst using technology for our best eco ethical  and humanitarian way.

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Thank you to Dee for participating in my first interview!

Until next time
-April

Recent Paint Palettes

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The last few weeks have seen my family and I make the epic journey from Australia to Canada (and back again of course!). Life has been full and with only two weeks before I head to Melbourne and then Europe there are many boxes to tick on a long list of things to do.  It seems all of my projects are either coming to a close or in the early stages of infancy – too early to write about. I came across these images I have been taking of my paint palette and decided to share them in this post. At the end of a painting session I would often admire the marks and colours — some days I couldn’t resist the urge to take a photo

until next time

-April

Assortment of sharp blades

I have a lot of hand tools and cherish the specialized jobs each is assigned. Recently I went through all of my knives and scissors with a student; introducing the role of each one was a satisfying process.

Here is an assortment of my scissors and knives:

Good scissors:

Good for: fabric, thin leathers, tight curves

Origin: This pair may have been the beginning of the scissor collection. My dear friend and at the time studio mate gave these to me for my birthday (can you see my name engraved on them?) These came with a lecture about scissors and the importance of: not cutting paper with the good scissors/ not dropping the good scissors/ sharpen the good scissors by a professional/ oil the good scissors/ cherish the good scissors. Spirale Kretzer brand, country of origin unknown.

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Curved scissors:

Great for: triming lining and fur, cutting circular shapes, making pom poms neat and even

Origin: I bought these in London, the brand is: Tekno, made in Italy

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Skiving Blade:

Great for: slicing leather to create thinner edge for sewing/folding/layering.

Origin: purchased from Tandy online, brand unknown

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Scallop Scissors:

Great for: creating a scalloped edge, a lovely raw edge in leather

Origin: These came from Italy via ebay, Touro Tesoura #DCH89R, made in Italy

 

photo(26)Pinking shears:

Great for: cutting leather with a zig-zag edge. I have used these a few times to finish a raw edge for an inside seam on a shoe.

Origin: These were found in a second hand shop on a road trip, town forgotten just over the NSW boarder; brand and country of origin unknown.

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Clicking knife:

Good for: Cutting patterns, paper, card, leather

Origin: This was part of my kit when I commenced my studies at TafeSA. The finger guard around the handle was the very first thing I cut with it and has somehow followed me around all this time. Brand and country of origin unknown.

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Leather scissors with teeth:

Good for: cutting leather especially glossy or super thin leather that requires some grip, the teeth hold the leather in place so there are no nicks or slips

Origin: I purchaced these in London, Tekno brand made in Italy

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Leather shears:

Good for: Cutting thick insole or sole leather

Origin: Purchased in Paris. Brand and country of origin unknown.

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File blade:

Good for: Cutting thick sole or insole leather particularly to trim it back.

Origin: This knife was once a file. It is very special since it was MADE by Pete (can’t be beat) who works at Rocketbuster boots in El Paso Texas. During my internship there back in 2010 I spent some time watching Pete pulling the boot uppers over the last, hand stitching the upper to the insole, create the toe box, hammer in the wood pegs and attach the soles. Although Pete and I didn’t share a language in common we seemed to get by drawing pictures to ask questions and pointing while nodding. One day he just got up from his chair and made me this knife.

 

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Pete is so amazing at what he does – below is a photo of him stitching a cowboy boot upper. It is hard to describe how wonderful it is to watch him work. His hands seem to have a mind of their own, a cemented memory of all the actions in each process and this is mesmerizing to watch.

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Pete at work, Rocketbuster boots, image from rocketbuster facebook fan page

Until next time

-April