How Leather Sculptures Are Made | How It’s Made

How Leather Sculptures Are Made | How It’s Made


♪♪ THE USE OF LEATHER AS AN ARTISTS’ MEDIUM DATES BACK TO THE MIDDLE AGES, WHEN IT WAS CRAFTED INTO FIERCE ANIMAL SHAPES THAT WERE THEN AFFIXED TO BATTLE HELMETS. FAST-FORWARD SEVERAL CENTURIES, AND SOME ARTISTS ARE REDISCOVERING LEATHER AS A SCULPTING MATERIAL AND REDEFINING THE ART OF SCULPTURE. THIS IS LEATHER RE-IMAGINED. IN THIS STUDIO, COW HIDES BECOME ART INSTEAD OF A SOFA OR PAIR OF SHOES. IT’S ARTISTRY OVER UTILITY. THE ARTIST STARTS BY DEVELOPING A PATTERN. HE DRAWS IMAGERY WITHIN A PAPER FISH SHAPE. IT REPRESENTS THE LIFE CYCLE OF A RAINBOW TROUT. HE PLACES THE PATTERN ON A COW HIDE. AND USING A SCRIBER, HE LIGHTLY ETCHES THE FISH SHAPE INTO THE LEATHER. USING A RAZOR BLADE, HE FOLLOWS THE ETCHED LINES TO CUT OUT THE FISH SHAPE. ♪♪ HE DAMPENS THE ENTIRE PIECE WITH A WET CLOTH. THIS SOFTENS THE LEATHER TO PREPARE IT FOR THE DRAWINGS ON THE PATTERN, WHICH WILL BE TRANSFERRED TO IT. HE PLACES THE PATTERN ON THE DAMPENED LEATHER DOUBLE. USING A ROUND-TIP TOOL, HE TRACES THE DRAWINGS. THE TOOL MAKES LIGHT IMPRESSIONS ON THE SUPPLE LEATHER. FOLLOWING THOSE LINES WITH A SWIVEL KNIFE, HE CARVES THE IMAGERY INTO THE LEATHER. WHEN THE LEATHER STARTS TO DRY, HE RE-DAMPENS IT. THEN, WITH A WEDGE TOOL AND MALLET, HE DEPRESSES THE LEATHER AROUND THE MAIN ARTWORK. THIS RAISES THE IMAGES ABOVE THE BACKGROUND. HE HAMMERS A DISC-TIPPED TOOL INTO THE LEATHER TO MAKE A FISH-EYE INDENTATION. THEN, USING AN ACTUAL STONE, HE LIGHTLY POUNDS THE ROCKS IN THE IMAGE. THIS TRANSFERS THE STONE’S TEXTURE TO THE LEATHER. HE ALSO USES THE ROCK TO CREATE SHADING ON THE TROUT AND THE FOLIAGE. FOR THE FISH-SCALE DETAIL, HE POUNDS A TOOL WITH A CRESCENT-SHAPED TIP INTO THE LEATHER. HE WORKS IN A LINEAR FASHION, ROW ON ROW, TO PUNCH TIGHT SCALES ACROSS MUCH OF THE ART. THIS CREATES A TEXTURAL SYMMETRY THROUGHOUT THE PIECE. TURNING TO A SECOND MATCHING FISH SHAPE, HE SHAVES LEATHER FROM THE BACK OF THE FINS TO GIVE THEM A LIGHTER, MORE REALISTIC LOOK. HE APPLIES GLUE TO THE EDGES. THIS PLAIN FISH SHAPE WILL SERVE AS THE BACK OF THE SCULPTURE. HE APPLIES MORE FINS TO THE GLUED AREAS IN THE UNDERBELLY OF THE FISH ART. HE THEN BRINGS THE TWO SIDES OF THE FISH TOGETHER AND GLUES THEM, LEAVING THE BOTTOM FINS AND THE MOUTH OPEN. USING AN INDUSTRIAL SEWING MACHINE FOR LEATHER, HE STITCHES THE FISH TOGETHER WITH HEAVY NYLON THREAD. THIS FISH ART IS NOW READY TO GO FROM FLAT TO 3-D. HE STUFFS POLYESTER FILL INTO IT. THE LEATHER HAS BEEN MOISTENED AGAIN SO THAT WHEN IT DRIES, IT WILL SHRINK TIGHT TO THE FILLING. AS HE STUFFS THE LEATHER, HE USES A WOODEN ROD TO DISTRIBUTE THE FILLING. HE THEN GLUES A CARVED LEATHER FISH MASK ONTO THE FACE. THIS ADDS DRAMA TO THE PIECE. HE TRIMS THE MASK. THEN HE APPLIES A RAINBOW OF COLOR TO THE TROUT, BEGINNING WITH A SILVERY SHADE OF WHITE. HE PAINTS AN OLIVE-GREEN SHADE ON THE TOP OF THE FISH SCULPTURE AND A PINKISH-RED HUE IN THE MIDDLE. THIS REFLECTS THE COLORS OF THE RAINBOW TROUT. HE DABS BLACK PAINT ON THE FISH SCULPTURE TO REPLICATE THE SPOTS NORMALLY FOUND ON TROUT. HE THEN MARKS THE FISH SCULPTURE EXTENSIVELY WITH SILVERY-WHITE SPECKLES. HE DEFINES SOME OF THE ETCHED LINES WITH THE SAME PAINT TO MAKE THE IMAGERY BOLDER. THE ARTIST SIGNS THE LEATHER FISH. MAKING THE ENTIRE LEATHER SCULPTURE TAKES OVER A MONTH. NOW IT’S READY FOR PUBLIC VIEWING.

27 thoughts on “How Leather Sculptures Are Made | How It’s Made

  1. Y'all should checkout this video about an African guy creating his own clothings/apparels using fish skin / leather.

  2. Show show show show. Lindo trabalho !Parabéns Grande mestre. Um Super laik laik laik laik laik laik. Paulo Cesar de (Poços de caldas MG Brasil )

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