ah, spring!

While my absence from this virtual world is slightly less dramatic than that of, say, Henry Anthony Wilcox, I’m still sorry for being so absent. I’ve been swamped.

Enough gibbering, here’s some pictures.

She really has a pretty face….

and sexy legs…

As a matter of fact, she’s the whole package….

The tooling finished, it’s time to bring in the background to those rich marcasite bones! This calls for an airbrush, a lot of dye and some serious time in the sun.

One of the things that make Black Beauty so cool is the amazing mounting job they’ve done up at the Tyrrell. If you ever have a chance to go, TAKE IT. The Fossil Prep and Collections Symposium was held there in 2013, and I was just blown away by the sheer awesomeness. Canadian bowling is also something that need to be experienced….

Then started the balance of keeping true to the grey ‘matrix’ and the black bones. Without flattening the tooling. Highlight with blue, deepen with purple black. Then repaint. Again. Once more for good measure. Now fiddle with it a bit. Ok, done. well, done? yes. Done.

Pictures to come, maybe tomorrow, now that I’ve arisen from my deep slumber….(for all 3 weeks of Winter we get here in this part of the US.)

look at those sexy legs…

Because, for a T Rex, you really are better served digging on some strange pelvic boot and cool femur morphology than those silly little arms…

*whistles* hey there, cutie

With such a nice backside, you’d think the face wouldn’t really matter. You’d be wrong.

and a pretty face, too!

The first time you hold a tooth of one of these beasties, it’s damn intense. I remember when I was a volunteer at the Field Museum working in the fossil mammals collection. This annoying creature busted into our lives, took over our collection space and generally was a nuisance and a trip hazard. But it was all worthwhile the first time I felt those serrations on those honkin’ huge teeth. Shocking how, even though I was familiar with SUE, feeling the teeth made it so much more real.

OK, maybe it was that I took WAY too much cough syrup that day and had a slight robo-max hallucination/ disassociation with reality going on.

Anyhow. Serrations. Of course.

Steak Knives

And finally, the tooling is complete.

such a pretty specimen!

I know I’ve been a total slacker and not keeping this project updated enough, but I have a TON more pictures and will be posting them every couple of days. There is one little detail of a surprise that I don’t want to post until the customer has this bag. Oh, and maybe I’ll even talk about the Leatherworkers trade show I went too, and the 8 hour class on hand sewing I attended!

Dyeing is killing me

OK, not really. Dyeing the bag was actually very fun- I like distressing finishes. Stippling the new formulation of the Tandy line of waterstains is awesome- they layer beautifully. The new hi-lite (replacing the Antiquing) is the most forgiving stuff I’ve ever played with. It even washes off your skin, instead of leaving you looking like you’re developing leprosy. The kicker comes with the finishing. The new formulations of dyes don’t play nice with the old formulation Satin Sheens. How you ask? Well, they sorta dissolve the hi-lite and pull it out off all the nooks and crannies, and redistribute it in pools….really, not attractive. Before you ask, yes, I let the hi-lite cure for 2 days before finishing it.


(And saving the day for the finish was a combination of the old Satin Sheen and the amazingly finicky but tough Restolene!)

nearly there!

Pretty bird! err….dino

I have a bunch of pics for the sewing stage, which is about 1/3 of the way done. I’m off to construct a strap today, and edge finishing!

Photo album

Yeah, I know- no witty title, no silly monologue. So sue me. Errr, wait- I was kidding, I swear!!!

Deep in the recesses of memory come thoughts and memories of myself as a younger and more carefree soul. Ah, for those days! Before I had seen all that I have seen. Alas, through all those years a handful of fellow travelers have joined their paths to mine, and forever we are linked- come what may!

And holy crap let me tell you, the RELIEF that comes from marrying them off! I may finally start to sleep again.


So I made a very pretty photo album to bribe my newest chosen family member into the fold, begging her to please PLEASE marry my dear friend.

So, basing the design off of the amazingly talented Sergei, I grabbed my shiny and HOLY OMG spendy new bevelers and started on the design.

New tools, off to a good start!

As always, I bevel out the most prominent parts of the design. Except with the Kazakh Baroque style, this changes frequently due to the HOLY CRAP complexity of the design.

One of the things I really love about this design style is the amazing depth it brings. The top image is after all the beveling is complete. The lower image is how it looks once you’ve beaten it with a few strategically undercut bevels.

ok, so maybe there is some texturing and swivel cuts in this pic, but still!

More photos to come later. This was a great project, and the bride and groom loved it- she even ordered a matching iPad case for him for Christmas. Photos of that to come soon, too!

What I did on my summer vacation

Well dear readers, it is time to explore the dusty traces of this blog, and peel the aged veneer back to show yet more wondrous and terrible things.

Something I’ve been fixated on for a while now is odd feeling I get when confronted with ancient art. From the stone age cave paintings with their Therianthropes, Shamans, and Sorcerers to the Ukok Princess and her tattoos, along through strange disquieted eras that produced the fanciful interweavings of human and creature present in the Staffordshire Hoard artifacts… and the body-art of the bronze age Picts.

Combining some of the tropes present in the Staffordshire Hoard with some Pictish imagery, I came upon a card-case design for a friend of mine. It’s not finished yet, but just to give a taste to what I’ve doing with my months of silence.

design cut in with a swivel knife
Once the leather is properly moistened, the design get cut in with a special knife.

half complete!
About half way there

This stage is now complete.

The band closing the case will be a snake eating its tail. The part that holds the card deck is wet molded leather, laid to dry in the blistering sun.

so pretty!

Color, shading and texture.

Painting this was fun. Antiquing it so that it looked all dirty and hyper-3D was a heart attack a moment, but worth it.
I used Royalwood Irish Waxed Linen thread in Country Red to sew it together. The crow head was cobalt, magenta and unbleached titanium dry brushed over Mars Black. Skin started out straight unbleached titanium white, and I bled in some deeper brown shades. The feather still needs some touching up- too much of the blue got eaten by the black gel antique.

Base color applied

Base Color laid down
I don’t have a picture of it, but I also painted the textured background areas with unbleached titanium.

Bone Machine

Magenta and Cobalt, decided to let the gel antique do the heavy lifting of adding the black color. This way I can selectively remove the gel.

Shiny leather
I will get better pictures soon, I just don’t feel like pulling out the SLR right now. Cell phone camera pics it is! I love how the red thread looks.

It turned out OK, but I still want to add some color, keep it from looking too flat.