Life and leather
Heyup, it's been a little while, sorry about that.
I lost my Grandpa at the end of April. He was a wonderful old crafty, cackling, cynical old badger.
As a child I used to marvel at the labyrinth of sheds on one side of their garden - there were at least four, possibly all interconnected, but I was never brave enough to venture into the cobwebbed depths to check. Mostly they were full of bits of wood, plant pots, gardening supplies, mysterious wooden shapes and tools and piles of random objects that clearly hadn't moved for some time. The main workshop though - that was all work benches and vices and innocent looking cupboards full of hoarded modelling supplies, tools, and more assorted nails and screws than anyone could possibly have a use for. I remember one model boat (maybe ship?), something military I think, that seemed almost as long as I was tall, with little red glass beads for lights.
I didn't spend much time in the sheds - the garden was a wondrous place for a child, full of interesting nooks and crannies, little almost hidden paths between hedges and vegetable plots and flower beds. There was a stone walled well with a knackered old rubber bin lid covering it. There were bee hives. There was the old tree with the swing that Grandpa made for us. That was the thing about the sheds - someone would have a need for something, and he'd disappear into the sheds for half an hour then emerge with some newly crafted solution. I still have the box he made me one visit, to keep my rock collection in. I still recall the time my sister and I persuaded Grandma that Mum and Dad would definitely be ok with us coming home from the craft centre with a pet bunny - Grandpa promptly went into a shed, and whipped up a quick wooden frame and chicken wire run so we could let the bunny out in the garden.
Grandpa liked computer games, although he forever seemed to be somehow breaking his computer in weird and wonderful ways that Dad would then spend numerous frustrated hours trying to fix.
Grandpa loved the garden. He did not like the crows stealing his strawberries - and they did not like his air rifle.
I loved him for the way he would just talk to me as a person, whereas all the other adults talked to me like a child. We freaked everyone else out one glorious afternoon, by spending several hours in a fascinating conversation about death and all the different ideas people have about what happens 'next'.
I don't remember if he favoured any particular theory, but I guess now he knows. I can at least say that in a small way, he continued as a gardener in death as he was in life, as we buried his ashes at the base of a sapling, so the tree can be a memory of him for many years to come.
...so yeah. Life, and indeed death, happened. It rather threw me off for a while, as it was unexpected.
The thing about life is that it goes on, so although part of me feels that a post about Grandpa should be just that, another part of me feels he'd scoff and tell me not to get hung up on it but to carry on regardless with minimal fuss. And y'know what? He's the only person I've ever known to fit the expression 'skin like tanned leather', because he was lean and tanned from so many shirtless hours in the garden.
So. In the last couple of months I also reached the end of a couple of ongoing projects, which has left me feeling a bit adrift. I ended up switching from 'art mode' to 'leather mode', and had been tinkering with some leather projects up until the point we had to deconstruct my work area.
You see, the rickety old conservatory we inherited when we bought our house is where I've been keeping all my leather kit (along with a bunch of other craft stuff) but we decided this was the year to have it replaced before it could just fall down on us. And so I had to fully clear out the old conservatory, pretty much just piling everything up in a corner of the living room. The actual take down, removal, and then construction of the replacement conservatory all happened over four days - just as we then headed off for the second Empire event of the year. So we came back knackered as usual (in a good way) from Empire, and I've been slooowly sorting through the pile and moving stuff back into the new conservatory.
I got some new shelves along the way, so my leather kit now has more space and is a bit better organised, woo!
The observant among you may have noticed that I added a leather work section to the site last month - getting that sorted used up all my site management spoons at the time, which is why I'm only just writing about it!
Right, I think that covers things for now, so here's a picture of one of the leather bits I've worked on recently - a pair of autumn themed vambraces made with Empire's mage armour category in mind.