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Leatherwork and Tanning (ePub)

Hobbies & Lifestyle > Art > Decorative Arts & Crafts P&S History > Clothing & Fashion

By Lynn Huggins-Cooper
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Series: Heritage Crafts and Skills
File Size: 2.3 MB (.epub)
Pages: 105
Illustrations: 32
ISBN: 9781526724496
Published: 25th July 2018


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This book offers a whistle-stop guide to the history of leather craft and tanning. The story begins in prehistory when people discovered, perhaps by chance, that skins exposed to smoke or accidentally soaked in autumnal puddles lasted longer. Skins were a valuable resource, used for clothing, shelter, blankets and vessels. This book looks at evidence showing us how leather craft continued to be of prime importance across the globe throughout history, in economic and functional terms.

The second part of the book brings us up to date, via interviews with modern day leather crafting artisans. These leather crafters generously allowed the author access to their studios and discussed the way they use and adapt traditional methods, techniques and tools for the twenty-first century. Photos of their creations and their working environment offer a unique window into the world of leather craft.

Finally, if you are inspired to try your hand at this fascinating and most ancient of crafts, this book also has a resources section. It includes a valuable list of suppliers of leather, dyes, tools and tanning materials, as well as information about training courses, useful websites and more – everything you need to get started.

Lynn Huggins-Cooper looks at leathercraft through the centuries, from the ancient world to the modern day, and I must say that this book opened my eyes to the ways people have used animal skins for almost everything. The book concludes with some interviews with artisans, and a look at the methods and materials. And should the idea of leatherworking appeal to you, there’s a list of suppliers, training courses and books.

I chose this book to find out about dog poo collectors and ended up spending a few hours learning about an ancient craft that is sadly dying out. These skills should be preserved.

Ripperologist, January 2019 – reviewed by Paul Begg

Georgians take up only a short chapter in this slimmish volume - one of Pen & Sword's excellent Heritage Crafts & Skills series - but a lot of interest is packed into relatively few words.

Jane Austen's Regency World, November/December 2018 - reviewed by by Joceline Bury

An illuminating look into heritage industries that go back to prehistoric times. Starting with an analysis of the industry today and the risks facing it, the book goes into great detail about how leatherworking and tanning has evolved through difference periods in history. . .

... If you want to understand the history behind these ancients crafts, then this book is highly recommended as well as extremely accessible - especially if, like me, you have no prior knowledge of the trades. If any of your ancestors were involved in leatherwork or tanning, then this book will give you a great glimpse into their day-to-day life.

WDYTYA?, September 2018 – reader review: Emma Williams, Bristol

About Lynn Huggins-Cooper

Lynn Huggins-Cooper is a widely published author. When she is not writing, she is in the studio creating art for exhibition. She is a textiles artist, working in natural and found materials, and mixed media, and her work is influenced by the 360 hectare woodland that begins at the bottom of her garden. She is a member of the Heritage Crafts Association, and the International Felt makers Association. She is also a mentor for Applied Arts Scotland. She lives with her husband in the north-east of England.

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