The outlook for a career in leather craft is good; Keach points out that as long as people want products made from leather there will be companies that mass-produce goods and individual leather artists making one-of-a-kind items. Probably the most in-demand pieces are leather saddles, as well as belts, wallets, purses, and shoes.
Types of Leather Designs
Leather artisans create a variety of designs using tools to compress the surface of the leather. They rub the tools, which may have pointed, balled, or flat ends, over damp leather to create a pattern, texture, or design.
Another way to create a design is by stamping the leather with a copper pipe or filed large-headed nails. A leather artisan uses a mallet to press a stamp into damp leather. The artisan must be careful that the leather is just wet enough—leather that is either too wet or too dry will not hold the impression of the stamp.
Moist, natural cowhide, calfskin, or sheepskin are the best choices of leather for carving. In the simplest form of carving, the artisan uses a swivel knife to cut designs into the leather and a flat, modular tool to press the background. Leather artisans develop unique styles of carving since there are few rules to follow when decorating the leather with this technique.
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