July 17, 2017

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Burning a map of the world

I am very excited about this project! The customer came to me with the idea of a world map burned on a full size cow hide. At first I was like “Do you have any idea how big that will be?” She assured me she did, so I found the perfect piece of leather, 72 square feet of wonderful tanned leather from Tandy Leather in Fort Worth, it was worth the drive up there to pick it out myself. They have an excellent show room, and extremely helpful staff, but there is no way I could have described what I wanted over the phone. Hands on is the only way I want to pick leather out. Anyway, I borrowed a room from Jesus Rivera at the Art Forem here in Waco, my windows don’t allow my house to get totally dark until very late and I just couldn’t wait. I tacked the hide to a nice big wall and set up a little projector. This allowed me to trace about a half a foot of map at a time, move the projector, line up the map and trace some more, from Alaska to Russia it was slow going. Then I brought it home and burned all the country and continent lines with my trusty Walnut Hallow Versa-tool burner.  After that, the customer and I decided to shade in the countries. All this heat caused to leather to draw up and pucker. As I considered my options to flatten it back out, I worked on the edges. I used show polish to dye and darken the edge adding scratches and holes to make it look about 100 years old. I even accented one of the fold lines. My sander with some blue jean material mounted on it saved me from hours of hand rubbing the polish into the leather.  With some helpful information from Youtube I put the whole thing in the dryer, this heated it up enough that the leather fibers relaxed and took a great deal of the pucker and draw out of it. These pictures are from before the dryer treatment. Before I mail it off to this wonderful customer in Colorado, I will take many more pictures.

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