New School Leather Tooling

Traditional south-west leather tooling has become a thing of the past. Over the years the number of leather crafters drifting away from the same old boring flowers and stag heads in terms of graphic styles has increased. The old styles have been replaced by subculture style leather work with heavy metal and gothic styles incorporating a more tattoo style influence. Tribal designs, skulls, horror influences like zombies and vampires ect. Stag heads and cow skulls have been replaced by dragons and gargoyles. In essence, new school artists have sought out a new medium and found it in a very old one. Leather crafting is a particularly challenging art form as the tools available are generally geared towards the old school style. But it’s nice to see the old ways shining through. The styles may have changed but the fundamentals of clean work and maddening detail remain. It’s nice to see the industry growing.

Movies, fashion and pop culture have been displaying many new forms of leather tooling and embossing in recent years. From Selene’s corset and Victors trench coat from Underworld to the many exemplory pieces displayed in shows like Spartacus and Game of thrones. The simple boring and traditional plate armor that one would expect from such period pieces has been embellished with tribal tooling and lavish colours and finishes that have been airbrushed as apposed to toll dyed by hand. Celebrities like Lady Gaga are known for adorning themselves in one-off leather pieces that are anything but traditional. This has given rise to a new breed of leather smith. One not bound by the simple and tedious restraints of conformity but rather one that pushes the boundaries of their talents and uses this age old medium to actually create something original. Bags, belts, cases, clothing, armour, all reimagined for a new age of style and expression.

Leather crafting and tooling may be centuries old in it’s roots but it’s still relevant. It has been adapted and indeed perfected for and by a new age of artist. The new school edge has met the old school techniques for a match made in heaven.

So, I want to see your work. Send me a link to your leather work. I want to see new school style but I want to see clean work guys. Show me your best!

~Ice

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