Posts Tagged ‘leather’

This past weekend Kelley and I attended Granite State Comicon as vending artists in their Artist’s Alley and Dealer’s room. I had a wonderful time and met some really cool people! With Halloween coming up, many of you asked if I had a store online or made custom masks. Yes, and yes! I sell my masks and other costume wear through etsy at http://www.etsy.com/shop/shaunart. I was waiting to list a lot of masks until after the convention was over, but now that I’m done with Granite State, I will be listing the bulk of what didn’t sell on my Etsy within the next few days. Be sure to check back!

If you need something very specific for Halloween, feel free to send me an email or message me through Etsy to start a commission. Get you commissions in soon, though! There’s only a month left before Halloween and I already have a few commissions in the works. The sooner you can place your mask orders, the better your chances of me accepting it for a Halloween delivery.

Thanks again to everyone who came out to Granite State Comicon, and to all the artist’s in our vending row who made the convention so much fun! Hope to see you all again next year.

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On Saturday, June 22nd, Faire Trimmings (a collarborative brand between Kelley and I) will be vending at the Pirate Rendezvous in Damariscotta, ME. Activities begin at 10 a.m. and continue until 4 p.m. The pirates invade at high noon, which is essentially a large parade and general storming of the fair grounds by costumed reenactors. All attendees are encouraged to come in costume, but there is no requirement to do so. The fair and parking is free, but you may choose to make a donation to the Lincoln County Family Holiday Wishes, a Christmas season food and gift drive.

This is a family friendly event and there will be tons of activities and merchandise geared towards children. However, because no one is ever too old to be a pirate, this event draws fair-goers and reenactors of all ages from across New England.

The Faire Trimmings booth, where I will be stationed, will be offering one-of-a-kind leather costume wear and accessories. You can find eye-patches, masks, armor, and jewelry to complete you pirate costume all in one place. We will also be offering prints of original artwork, and for the children we have facepainting and temporary tattoos. We even do caricatures!

For more information on the fair, you can check out their website at: http://piraterendezvous.com/

I am very busy preparing for the fair, but if I get a bit of extra time this week, I will try to post some process shots of my work and wares.

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I also want to let everyone know about the new masks that I have listed on Etsy. All handmade and one-of-a-kind. Click on an image to be taken to the listing.

Also available in the Etsy store is the option to add ribbon or a suede cord to any of these masks to make them ready to wear!

You can always add you own cord or ties to any of these masks, but the ribbon and suede that I offer is guaranteed to fit through the holes on the masks, as well as provide just a tiny bit of stretch so that the mask stays snug on your head without pinching.

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This weekend I will be having a crafting marathon with friend and future business partner Kelley, as we prepare an inventory for the 2013 fair and convention scene. Our goal this year is to nab booths at up to eight conventions, craft fairs, or renaissance fairs selling our leather works, jewelry, and fantasy artwork.

Kelley and I are both working artists who also have a passion for crafting. As my frequent readers know, last year I taught myself how to work with leather as a medium to make jewelry, armor, and other costume accessories. This year, I plan to make enough pieces to rent tables at venues where my unique pastime accessories would e appreciated. For years, I have seen the same style wares and costume accessories sold at fair after fair after fair, and I want to bring the fantasy community some new options at prices that won’t break their costuming budgets.

My personal focus will be on finding ties between costume wear and everyday street fashion, and crafting a set of leather costume wear which can also be disguised as a statement accessory when paired with your everyday look. What Kelley will focus on is completely up to her whims but she is a whizz with beaded pieces and has expressed interest in a line of nifty bags.

We are already signed up to participate in Connecticon this July as well as a small convention called Queen City Kamikaze Con at the Manchester New Hampshire high school on February 16th. This small convention will be an opportunity for us to judge what items sell to what demographic, as well as provide an opportunity to practice booth design, set up and take down, and display rhythm. I have sold at many conventions in the past, but it has been a few years and I’m not used to setting up displays with a partner. So I think a refresher con is a good idea.

We are looking at several other fairs and conventions in New England right now in which we qualify to participate in, and I will announce them all here when we are signed up and confirmed. Thanks for reading!

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I just added a boat-load of new pictures to the crafts gallery at Shaunart.net.  In preparation for the fourth quarter (the holiday season, crafting season, and an artist’s most profitable time of the year), I have completed a big round of crafting, making fall accessories from vegetable tanned leather. There are some really cute Halloween items in there, as well as general fall and harvest themed designs.

Though most of my designs are small, I have started getting into some larger leather cuffs, bracers, and masks. These items will be available for sale at my Open Studio event, happening today and tomorrow from 11-5pm. Anything left over after the open house will be listed on Etsy. However, if an item that suites your fancy does sell, I would be happy to make you another. No two handmade leather products are exactly alike, but I can make it as close as humanly possible! So let me know if you would like to commission a custom item.

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In less than two weeks, over 140 local artists of Lowell, MA will open their doors to the public for the 12th annual Lowell Open Studios Event. With over fifteen studio locations throughout the heart of Lowell, this two day event is a great opportunity for the community to buy original and reproduced artworks straight from the artists who created them. Artists all over the city are hard at work as we speak, building inventory for the event; with so much artwork to choose from, you are sure to find something to fit both your style and your budget.

My studio, #527, located at 122 Western Avenue will be open both days from 11-5pm. I will be selling original watercolors & prints, as well as one-of-a-kind leather armor, jewelry, & accessories. I have a number of great halloween items in stock, as well as several pieces designed specifically for the renaissance fair season! Complete your cosplay, steampunk, or renaissance costume with a themed necklace or decorated arm bracer. My studio is located at circle #1 on the map below. You can click on the map to zoom in.

To view more of my work, please visit http://shaunart.net, and to learn more about the Lowell Open Studios event (what artists will be there, and where to go to see live demonstrations), please visit lowellopenstudios.org.

Hope to see you there!

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The craft gallery at Shaunart.net has been updated with ten new leather pieces. All medium to large jewelry and accessories, each item was made from vegetable tanned leather: hand-cut, carved, and painted by me. You can find all of my leather items currently for sale in my Etsy shop, but my best work will always be featured in my crafts portfolio whether or not the item has already sold.

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I like how this necklace came out so much that I am going to write a feature on it. You can view the listing for this one-of-a-kind item here.

This is the first of what I am sure will be many maple leaf leather pendants. I cut this leaf from a pattern that I drafted myself, out of vegetable tanned leather from the butt of a cow (which is said to be the finest cut of leather, btw). I wet-formed the pendant by hand and curled the edges slightly into a soft bowl shape that feels great to touch.

I then painted the pendant with liquid acrylics using a sponge to get soft transitions and textures throughout. I then strung the necklace on a voile chain. As I said before, I am very happy with this product and if it doesn’t sell, I know that I would be happy to wear it myself!

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The other day I pretty much taught myself how make stuff out of real leather. Or at least, I began to teach myself. I’m sure there is a lot more to learn in order to master the materials, but the basics are pretty simple!

So, I bought a very small piece of vegetable tanned scrap leather on clearance. It was a fairly thick piece, so I figured that I could make some pretty hardy accessories with it. First, I used my sewing skills to make pattern piece on a simple white piece of printer paper. Again, I didn’t have enough leather for much other than experimentation, so I needed to keep my accessories small. I drew and cut out my pattern pieces, drawing on my knowledge of sewing and how three-dimentional objects are drawn flat.

Then I cut the shapes out of the leather using an exacto blade on a self-healing cutting board. I smoothed the edges by running my blade perpendicular to the edge of the cut leather. Then I formed the leather using only water and heat! Acrylic paint can also be applied to metal grommets to change their color as long as you seal them with a varnish as well.

It was really simple; all you do is get the leather thoroughly wet, until it turns a darker color and becomes soft and pliable. But not too wet, or it will be limp. Then you form the leather into shape with your hands. If you like, you can build an armature out of clay, plaster, or tinfoil. As long as the material can withstand heat, you can use it as a leather armature. I didn’t use an armature, and simple formed the leather with my hands and around my own body. Then, apply heat until the leather is dry. You can do this by putting the leather in the oven on an armature on low heat, or by using a hair-dryer like I did. It was super easy! If the shape is simple enough, you can just hold the leather in shape while you run the hair dryer over it. You want to move the heat around so that you dry the whole piece of leather evenly. When the leather begins to dry, it will start to turn back to its original light color. You want the whole piece of leather to stay the same color throughout the whole drying process, as in, you don’t want part of the leather to be dry while another part is still wet. Apply heat until the leather is dry, stiff, and back to its original color. You will feel the leather harden in your hands as you dry it. for a small piece, you only have to dry it for about ten minutes.

If you were working with a bigger piece, or one that had a complicated shape, I would recommend using an armature and the oven.

I then left my basically-completely-dry piece of leather out overnight in a safe place to let any remaining moisture evaporate. Just in case.

Then came the painting! I recommend acrylic paint. You can do lots of things with acrylic paint, and when it dries, it dries waterproof. You can use paint from a tube, which will be textural, you can use spray paint, with which you have less detail control but a very even coat, or you can be like me and use liquid acrylic inks in layers. The inks come in transparent and opaque, and you can mix colors and opacities to get the exact effect you desire.

You can apply the paint with brushes, or sponges of varying textures. There are rough natural brushes, which will leave strokes in the paint, or find synthetic brushes, which are my preference because they do not leave any brush marks in wet paint. Smooth synthetic sponges, like the kind you apply gesso with can also be used to lay down acrylic paint in a smooth and even coat. For a little surface interest, you can use coarse natural sea sponges for a worn or splatter effect. You can also splatter paint on the leather with a toothbrush.

You can decorate your leatherwork with jewels, glitter, beads, feathers, trim, fabric, or anything else that can be held on with glue.

To seal your leatherwork, and make it waterproof (which you want to do since water makes the leather loose its shape) you can use an acrylic varnish. You want a transparent varnish, so that your design won’t get cloudy, but it is up to you whether you want a matte or glossy finish. I chose a glossy finish for these items.

To attach pieces of leather to one another, you have to poke holes in the leather, and thread lace, string or cord through the holes. To lace the posture collar together, I first had to put grommets into the leather. Grommets finish and accentuate the holes that you make and can also serve as a decorative element. But if the holes you make are not important to the design, they can be left small and unfinished. You can make holes in the leather with a leather hole punch, or a lot of work. I’d imagine that a drill would work, but I didn’t go that route. I went with the a-lot-of-work-route. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I basically forced my way through the leather with sharp things and spread and shaped my holes to the exact size that I needed with a carving knife for ceramics. With the right tools, the hole making would have gone faster, but it just goes to show that you can still poke holes in leather without proper tools if you put a little muscle into it!

After making my handful of accessories from a super tiny scrap of leather, I am surprised that more people do not work with leather. It is honestly, the easiest material I’ve ever taught myself to work with. Like ridiculously easy for how expensive finished leather products can be to purchase! Leather forming is not hard, and no one should be intimidated by it! Just do a little research online, try out a practice piece or two like I did, and then go for it! Make whatever your heart desires!

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