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Start to Finish

Some shots of the earrings I worked on last week – part of my Dryden collection of cradle-to-grave goods.

I’ll drop these in the shop sometime tomorrow afternoon.

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Done and Done

Where did I leave off with this? Oiling I think, right? Right.

I tried to sand the hide down four days after oiling, but there were still too many spots where the oil hadn’t dried and the sanding process was a little gummy when it was supposed to be more flaky.

I let it sit another few days until it had completely dried out and was crusty, then went to town with a coarse-grit sandpaper, followed by a finer grain one.

After that, I cut off the hard edges, mixed up some sandalwood dye (this came in the kit I used) and applied it to the dehaired side with a rag. The result?

The dyed side is a sort of speckled light tan. The colour is not at all uniform and I like it because it highlights the grain of the leather.

The underside is a soft, beautiful white. The whole thing is totally unlike any of the leather I have picked up at Tundra – the factory-tanned stuff requires much more magic than I have space for in my studio. It’s thick and soft and slightly spongy, but still somehow hard to bend so I think it’s going to be used exclusively for smaller pieces of jewellery that don’t need to flex.

I did a few pairs of earrings yesterday and tried out a watered-down blue paint on one.

It came out all right and I plan to mess around with more and darker colours next week.

So. In the beginning, I thought the whole process would take a week or two. It ended up taking closer to 24 days. The kit I used was great for first-time instruction – it came with a comprehensive book and a DVD so you can read and see what’s supposed to happen at every stage – and I definitely recommend it if you’re interested in the trials, but not the errors, of home-tanning.

For my next attempt, I’m waiting on this book to arrive in the mail because I’m curious to know what other techniques/results I might use/get.

In the meantime, I plan to have some of the cradle-to-grave pieces in the shop early next week. When it comes to pricing…if I accounted for all the work I’ve put in here, the resulting items would be among the least affordable out there. More than saffron or gold or this bagel. So I tweaked my pricing formula in a major way. Still a bit more than what’s currently in the shop, but definitely not break-the-bank expensive.

So. That’s it. I still can’t quite believe I have this stuff to work with. When I first came up with the idea (the hunting, the tanning, the whole deal) two years ago, it seemed like such a pie-in-the-sky plan. A pipe dream I didn’t know how I was ever going to accomplish. I owe so so so much to my uncle and company (including the incredible hosts at Northern Woods in Dryden), I don’t even know how to put it into words. They spent a fortune of time teaching me and I can only hope I was clear enough about how grateful I am for their efforts.

That’s all for now. Enjoy your weekend!

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The Dryden Droplet

Another antler piece.

I love how simple this one is. Like a single pearl strung on a chain, only for the girl who likes to mix a little grit with her glamour (have you noticed yet how much Amy adores alliteration? Have I made that joke before? Probably, but it is the best poetic device and I do love cheesy jokes, so why not once more?).

More of my favourite brass chain.

You can find this in the shop starting now.

And finally – stay tuned tomorrow for the final chapter in “home-tanning hides” as well as a few of the first pieces I plan to make from it this year.

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