The Making of the Leather Tote, part 1

Many of you who stuck with me these past six months are probably tired of my “talking” about my TOTE – the project I have been waiting to create since starting my leather workshops with Amblard Leather Atelier back in August. You can safely say that the TOTE was the reason I took the class and have been waiting – impatiently – to get to it. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed all the smaller projects until now – and completely understand Beatrice Amblard’s skills-building agenda. Let’s just say that I have learned many invaluable techniques and am THRILLED that I am finally at the project of my dreams! 😀

So I decided to chronicle The Making of the Leather Tote and share some of them with you! If you are interested, may I suggest following my blog?

It literally took a full day to design a few components (based on some set parameters), cut the paper pattern, and then cut all the leather pieces. I believe there were 30 pieces in all.

Of-course I went with green, Lichen, and green, Aloe – dark on the outside and light on the inside, both in grain leather, with black hardware (will have to take a picture to share later) and black linen thread. (The brown you see top of the picture is only the backing and won’t be visible).




Channel Setting

After realizing that nine of the last 10 entries were all about leather, I think it’s time to write about something else… 😉 Guess with my new passion, I have neglected to share many of my metalsmithing pieces!

I continue to take classes with the fabulous Lisa D’Agostino at the Community Education Program at College of Marin – a Bay Area Community College 30 minutes north of San Francisco. Every seven-week session, we work on a project that hones our skills on a different metalsmithing technique – various stone settings (and there are LOTS of them!), forging, fold forming, etching, enameling, riveting, cold connections, casting, mold making, tool making, etc. etc.

This channel setting project started with carving a wax piece. It was the first time working with engravers and I enjoyed the process very much – probably because it feeds on my anal-retentive tendency! Here is the back of the wax piece.


After it was cast in sterling silver, there was quite a bit of cleaning up and fitting the stones in the channel. I picked peridot – my favorite semi-precious stone. No surprise there for it’s green! 😉


Instead of a simple pendant like everyone else, I decided to create an interchangeable “bail” for my glass beads especially since I rarely wear necklaces unless it’s to showcase my glass work. I added a curved tube for the chain and a loop to hang the bead. This picture also shows  the channel setting well.


Here it is – complete with one of my Celestial Series glass beads!


Leather Clutch

As promised, here is my latest finished project – a hand stitched clutch – at my Intermediate Workshop at Amblard Leather Atelier! I have to admit that I tried my best to zip through this project so I might start my TOTE! Fortunately, it contain fewer new techniques than some of the other earlier projects – curved gussets, padded construction, inside pocket, and magnetic closure.

I again picked dark green smooth leather on the outside and Aloe grain leather on the inside to match my wallet (and zipper pouch)! 😀




The TOTE has commenced!!!

Leather Wallet

More than half way into my Intermediate Leather Workshop at Amblard Leather Atelier and realized I never blogged about my projects!

This Leather Wallet project had many tiny parts and the most complicated construction to date. I went with my go-to dark green and paired it with a neutral grey, both in smooth leather. The lining and the zipper pocket were in Aloe grain leather.



This wee gusset was definitely one of the more challenging skills!


I have since finished the next project – the Clutch – and just started my TOTE! Finally! Will share pictures of the clutch project shortly…