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Having gathered materials for re-purpose I limited myself so that I would be able to focus on getting a good model done. I ran into problem after problem with these nylon dog collars. I was unable to hole punch them, drill through them etc…The only way that I was able to manipulate them was by cutting a straight line and burning the edge to stop the material from unweaving. This was problematic for me as it it dictated the construction of my casing. I tried to embrace it and looked for opportunities to highlight some of the existing features. I was able to get a decent enough looking model out of this process, although the mechanics are not fully developed and I really just need more time. I would like to explore other materials for my finishes and maybe other methods of construction. I feel very strongly about the idea and I plan on further exploring possible outcomes. 

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In Japanese it is referred to as “Honzame”, in Europe as “Shagreen”. Stingray has been utilized worldwide for centuries because of its beauty and durability. It is by far the most durable leather used on the planet, often referred to as “immortal” and jewel of the sea. Stingray will not burn, break or fray, yet it can be cut with a standard pair of scissors. Perhaps most famous for its utilization on Japanese sword handles, it was also very popular and widely used on American and European swords and daggers. In Egypt when the tombs of ancient pharaohs were discovered, stingray was found to be used as armor, decoration and ornamental embellishment. More recently, stingray can often be seen in subjects from the “Art Deco” movement. Such pieces include furniture, crafts, eyeglass cases, parasol umbrellas, handbags and many other products. Today, stingray is still used for many of the above as well as knife sheaths, knife handles, wallets, belts, handbags, boots, and other accessories. Most recently I’ve seen both pool cues and Harley Davidson seats wrapped in luxurious stingray.”

via Home Page – Stingray Leather Products.

Then and Now

Tanning hides has an environmental role that is often overlooked. And yet it enables a by-product of the food industry to be recovered and made into something special instead of ending up as another waste product for disposal.

An age-old art

Leather-making is one of the most ancient of human activities: indeed, we have always used the animals that we have hunted and bred to obtain clothing or shelter. In the early days, though, temperature posed a problem, as the hides tended to rot in the heat and stiffen in the cold. A way of preserving them was needed.

Fats began to be used, most probably, to lend greater strength and flexibility. Smoking and tanning with aldehyde – derived from the fumes of burned foliage – certainly developed into widely used techniques, but it soon became clear that the best results were achieved with curing.

Over time, the procedure became increasingly sophisticated, and different techniques developed in different places: alum tanning, for example, became established in volcanic areas, while vegetable tanning with tannin took root near oak woodlands

From the middle ages to modern times

During the 8th century, under Moorish rule, the Spaniards developed leather production, which became famous throughout Europe as cordovan. Leather-working skill, however, was not the exclusive prerogative of the western world: in “The Million”, Marco Polo recounted how the Mongols used flasks, blankets, masks and caps made of leather, often finely decorated.

Later, around the 12th century, the depilatory effect of quicklime brought such an improvement in the tanning process that no major changes ensued until the next century. Nonetheless, two innovations worth mentioning, which speeded up the process considerably and were applied in industrial production too, were the use of chromium salts and the replacement of the traditional vats with rotating drums, besides the discovery of new types of tannins.

via Discover history of leather tanning – Conceria Mastrotto.

I am finding a lot of information about how bad the process is to create leather, I can’t imagine that it is worse than the alternative. Replacing leather with plastic products doesn’t seem right either, why would we swap a natural product for something that we know is major problem. Plastic lasts forever, but that is the problem. There is no real value in it, unlike leather that can be used and re used until it eventually breaks down. If we are going to kill the animal to eat it, we should use as much of the animal as we can. Maybe a better issue would be how we can safely treat the hide to get the effect that we want. This seems more reasonable considering how long humans have been wearing animal furs.

Is “Sustainable” Leather Really Better for the Environment? | Ecouterre.

I want to proceed further with this model. It will be made to carry a cluster of sketchbooks freely, as well as hang from any rack you so desire.ImageImageImageImageImage

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