Tanned Leather

There are two main types of tanning methods used today. The most widely produced is Chrome Tanning it's a quick method taking only a day to tan a whole cow hide. Most of the leather used for shoes, clothing and upholstery is now produced by this method. The leather is characterised by their light weight and high tensile strength. They are soft and stretchy and developed of the speed of machinery and mass production methods. This leather is not suitable for hand stitching. 

Vegetable tanned leather is cured by soaking the hides in a liquor made from an infusion of ground tree bark, twigs, leaves and water. The different trees used determing the length of time for the tanning process as wells as the characteristics and colour of the leather - its density, flexibility and the ease with which it can be cut. The leather produced is hard to define - its smell, how it feels when you run your fingers over the surface , the way it flexes and changes colour with time and use, makes it a very special material to work with and to own.

A bespoke leather designer producing hand stitched leather articles

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© Tessa Smith-Winnard, all images copyright 2015