TOOLED LEATHER

TOOLED LEATHER

A beautiful vintage  tooled leather wallet

A beautiful vintage tooled leather wallet

Leather tooling , also known as leather carving is one of my favourite crafts from the late 60s and 70s which is when the popularity of this craft hit it’s peak. Anyone who is into 70s vintage style will appreciate a tooled leather handbag, often peoples names were also stamped onto them.

A  vintage leather bag  with a name embossed onto it

A vintage leather bag with a name embossed onto it

Being able to stamp a name onto it makes it an ideal modern day gift for personalisation of items for friends or loved ones.

How amazing is this  tooled leather camera strap

How amazing is this tooled leather camera strap

One of the amazing things about carved leather work is that it is truly one of a kind. The leather can be hand carved or embossed with stamps. Even with using stamps, the placement will always be different if it is a truly handmade item. Some leather work will also be coloured in to create another dimension.

Tooled leather can also be painted or coloured in, like these one of a kind tooled leather  sunflower platform shoes

Tooled leather can also be painted or coloured in, like these one of a kind tooled leather sunflower platform shoes

The most popular leather colour seems to be light brown and then dark brown but you can also find black , blue, green, yellow and more. These are a little more rare to find.

Common themes on vintage goods animals such as horses and deer for a western feel.

A  vintage tooled leather bag  with horses on it.

A vintage tooled leather bag with horses on it.

Vintage Wrangler Boots  with Aztec Horses Pattern

Vintage Wrangler Boots with Aztec Horses Pattern

Western theme vintage tooled  leather glasses case

Western theme vintage tooled leather glasses case

Tooled leather bags  were even made in the shape of saddles!

Tooled leather bags were even made in the shape of saddles!

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One of the most popular themes in leather tooling is floral motifs.

Gorgeous  carved leather handbag  with flowers and stitching around the edges

Gorgeous carved leather handbag with flowers and stitching around the edges

Flower motif belts  in all kinds of colours

Flower motif belts in all kinds of colours

If the flowery hippie style is not to your taste you can find tooled leather goods with a harder rock edge too.

Black leather  rose hair barrette

Black leather rose hair barrette

Vintage Biker Vest  with Eagle and Desert Theme

Vintage Biker Vest with Eagle and Desert Theme

Some of the most beautiful modern designs are boho and feature mandalas and fringing.

Leather journal  with handmade paper

Leather journal with handmade paper

If you love the look of carved leather but do not agree with using animal products, there are vegan leather and faux leather options available too, you may have to look a bit harder but I have found a few for you below.

Faux Leather coin purse  with embossed design

Faux Leather coin purse with embossed design

What many people do not realise though is how many tooled leather goods from the past were ( and still are) made in prison.In fact one major leather supply shop in the USA specialises in providing the tools needed to over 15,000 inmates across America. Correctional centres may have leather workshops or other inmates who have been incarcerated for a long period of time may pass the skills on. These skills are highly encouraged so that when inmates are realised they have a skill set they can continue on with on the outside. One inmate has been creating cowboy boots since the 70s and has sold to people in high places like judges. Some jails sell the goods on their website. It in interesting to note tooled leather goods such as pistol caddies and handcuff cases amongst these.

The leather crafting movement is still going strong with one major leather supplies company having existed since the 70s and still providing the same original patterns since that time.

There is a lot of skill and time involved in this craft and I hope we never lose the art of leathercraft which has existed since medieval times. Hopefully I have given you a taste of more whether it is for vintage tooled leather or new handmade tooled leather!

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