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[1Sep17  Originally posted on 6/1/11 and archived at]


Our last A&S workshop in the Shire was a leather mask-making workshop. I was lucky to get in – there was limited space, and enough people were turned away that another class will have to be held in the fall.

The idea was to make a simple leather mask in period style. Lord Aurddeilen, as usual, provided an excellent overview on the topic. (I really need to get him to blog his projects and post his materials!)

I wanted to take this class for two reasons:

1) Having a leather mask is cool
2) Learning leatherwork is an essential step towards one day crafting excellent period book covers

It was much simpler than I thought it would be. Leather, ribbon (or other material for ties), scissors, water and your face are the bare minimum you need to get started.

Here’s the list of materials we were asked to bring as much of as we could – the leather and the rest were brought and shared by those in the Shire with some leather-working experience.

1. a non-wood, preferably marble cutting board.
2. a pair of heavy duty scissors.
3. an x-acto or sharp craft knife of some sort.
4. leather working tools, such as swivel knives, bevels, stamps, poly mallets, punches, etc.
5. a small bowl
6. a small sponge
7. some sort of paints and/or dyes with an applicator and/or brush to decorate your mask. If you want to add things like feathers or fancy trim, you will need to bring your own, along with the glue to attach them.
8. a piece of string, ribbon, or leather latigo to serve as a tie for your mask.
9. a pencil or pen.
10. 1 square foot of 4-6 oz weight vegetable tanned leather

We were given a basic template to share (which is what I stuck to) and each took our masks in our own creative directions. Some had noses, some not; some were fancifully cut and decorated, others stuck to more simple themes. I simply *played* with it – tried out a bunch of different punches, used paint pens and fabric markers to see how each worked out, had no particular goal in mind this time. Now that I’ve got a baseline feel for the work, I have some ideas of things to try – in both the mask and book-cover domains. I’m looking forward to it!


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