Bob Blea

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About Bob Blea

  • Rank Regular
  • Birthday 06/21/1967

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Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Fort Collins, CO
  • Interests
    Leatherworking, cooking, my kids.

LW Info

  • Leatherwork Specialty
    Floral Carving and notebooks.
  • Interested in learning about
    Case making, wallets and saddle making
  • How did you find
    web surfing

Recent Profile Visitors

16,186 profile views
  1. Card wallet

    I was really impressed with the edges on the pockets too. That's what caught my eye. Nice work.
  2. More Hawaiian Tooling

    Very neat design. I like it.
  3. Really nice belts Dwight! And thank you for the tips!
  4. Rocky Mountain Leather Trade Show...

    I'll be there at least Thursday and Friday.
  5. Back Quiver Carving

    That's pretty cool!
  6. Is Google is killing art?

    Stewart there is nothing wrong with the way you are doing it. The first functional thing I made in leather was a check book cover and I wanted a floral carving but didn't have anything in the books or craftaids I had at the time that fit the space or looked like what I wanted. I 'adapted' a carving pattern for a small case by photocopying it and tracing parts of it till it fit the space. I was able to put it together so it sort of worked together. Before computers a lot of camera ready artwork for ads, flyers and posters was created this way. If you don't have the ability to draw (and some people just don't, their brains aren't wired for that activity) the way you are handling it is a creative solution that creates an artwork that didn't exist before you came along.
  7. Is Google is killing art?

    I hear you there! I never could paint people that looked close to proportional. I haven't been able to carve them either. Human brains are so hardwired to recognize faces that any little oddity stands out to us. Even Al Stohlman's carving of people look a bit creepy to me. I stay away from carving people, but anything else is fair game. It gives me great respect for Renaissance artists who painted or carved human forms so spectacularly.
  8. Medusa Holster Complete plus fancy packaging.

    That is a first class holster and packaging! They are definitely going to be wowed!
  9. Is Google is killing art?

    I draw all my own floral designs these days and I'm even learning to draw Celtic knots, though more complex designs for things including traditional animals are a bit beyond my skill level at the moment. I'm an example of what @Sheilajeannewas saying. I had previous experience painting in oils and acrylics before starting with leather carving, and that previous skill definitely helps. But I started off working from Stohlman designs and Craft Aids just like everyone else. When I first tried painting in high school art class, after some basic lessons in shading and blending colors, our teacher had us pick a picture from a magazine (pre Internet days) and do our best to duplicate it on canvas. We drew a grid across the picture to help us draw the picture on the canvas and then mixed and dabbed paint right on the picture to get the color shading right. It was literally doing our best to make a color photo copy of the original picture (the goal was to try and make a realistic painting) but it was also a huge learning experience in how to paint in oils. That's the way everyone has to begin, duplicating what you see either in a picture or a still life. Even if you start off with a Stohlman pattern or a craft aid or some line art your downloaded from the Internet, you are bringing some part of yourself and your style to the piece. At first, it's not much of yourself because you are still learning, but hopefully over time you develop your skills more and your own way of using the tools or producing effects that become your style. I still look at the works of leather carvers and incorporate elements from their designs into my own. It's how I grow and develop. I do see a lot of leather items for sale that have some of the original Stohlman / Tandy designs on them with no improvements or their maker's own style. They look dated and nothing makes them stand out from the crowd. I'm driven to improve my designs because I don't want to just blend into that crowd.
  10. Clean antiquing/highlighting

    WyoSheen is a lacquer and I've been told that 'Brushing lacquer' from your local hardware or woodworking store will work the same way. I've never tried it myself but the people I've heard this from are pretty good leatherworkers so I trust them. But try it on some scrap first. Bob
  11. Clean antiquing/highlighting

    Ha! Don't feel bad. I had many years of antique job 'surprises' before I saw someone else post the idea about using the sponge. It didn't ever occur to me either. Much improved on the beveling in the latest piece. That looks pretty cool.
  12. Clean antiquing/highlighting

    @Boriquabrought up a good point that I forgot to mention. I let my resist coats dry at least overnight before applying a second coat or trying to antique. I found that rushing this step just leads to problems for me, but I have heard of others that apply a lacquer resist, let it dry briefly and then antique with good results. I prefer not to take the chance. Also, Boriqua mentioned letting the Feibings pastes and 'waiting for it to set up'. My experience with the Eco Flo products is to apply and then wipe off as soon as possible. If you leave it in my dry climate it will dry quickly and not want to come off, but also the longer it sets the more it penetrates and colors your leather.
  13. WOW is a tough goal for any of us to reach. I see lots of really fantastic carvings online now, particularly out of Asia. Some of the artists there are doing really incredible work. I see makers who have perfect stitching and beautifully clean lines in their assembly. Like @YinTx it gets to be overwhelming for me because I know I need to work on my hand stitching, my edges, my carving skills, my dyeing skills, etc. It does seem like there isn't enough time in life to learn all I would need to know to really master anything in this craft. But I also believe that the way we look at our work is different than how the average person looks at it. We look at all the technical details and they see the overall item that doesn't look like anything they have seen in their modern mega-mart. For me the WOW factor comes from custom making items for people. Most of the work I sell is commissioned and they have something very specific in mind. I get the WOW from them because I spend time to find out exactly what they want and take the time to make it to their imagination as much as possible. The final product isn't flawless and I see lots of things I want to improve, but if the customer is thrilled then it's a success. I was in a Robert Beard class once where he said that he wasn't paid for the QUANTITY of his work, he was paid for the QUALITY of his work. I've always kept that in mind when I'm making anything for a customer. Seemed like good advice to work by. Bob
  14. Clean antiquing/highlighting

    Hi Gabriel, I use Eco Flo antiques and I've had some success with them, but not without a few mistakes and projects that needed to be salvaged along the way. With some work they can be good ways to antique a project. I never had any luck using Resolene or Super Sheen or Satin Sheen as resists though. The antique always seemed to penetrate them. I've settled on Wyo Sheen (now sold by Barry King) as my resist of choice which is a lacquer based product (like Neat Lac.) Still I have to put at least two coats on and I test the piece with a damp sponge before applying antique. If the leather darkens at all then the antique will penetrate the resist and it needs another coat. Finally if I do see streaks or unevenness on the leather I found that baby wipes work really well to remove those streaks. Not sure what is used as a soap in them but it turns out to be really effective on streaks even when it's penetrated the resist. I have saved a couple of projects using these and now always have a package handy whenever I antique. Looking at your example, I see a bit of blotching in the untooled areas that is probably the antique getting through the resist. In your bevelling the antique is highlighting marks your beveller is leaving. It looks like you might be tilting your beveller more to one side because in places it always looks like the left side of your beveller is leaving more of a checkered impression than the right. The antique is designed to be captured in the checkering of the beveller so its going to show off those imperfections. Practicing smoother beveling will help with that. Running the baby wipe over your Celtic knots might make them look more even by removing the discoloration. I frequently do that on mine just to take off some of the antique and give them a lighter color than the rest of the project. Finally, one other tip. Tan Kote By Feibings can also clean up antique mistakes. I have seen it used on both Feibings antique paste and Eco Flo products where it removed streaks from the project and make them look much more even, much like the baby wipes. I haven't tried it myself but I watched it being applied and it seemed to help on a project long after the antique had dried. This notebook is one I made with all the techniques I mentioned above. The darkened area at the upper right is because of my lighting, not darkening from the antique. Overall this one came out very even.