In my quest for the perfect dog collar, I was surprised to be unable to find one with the rustic durability of leather, an interesting design, in a size and shape that would suit my dogs, and for a reasonable price. I thus endeavoured to craft one myself. With the aid of books, friends, trial and error, and the Internet, the support of my loving husband, and a lot of new tools, I garnered the skills to craft my very own personalized collar, which my Saluki still wears to this day. I had so much fun that I continue to come up with new designs and custom-craft collars for other dogs through Etsy.com.
Leathercraft is a far cry from a new invention. I won’t bore you with a history lesson, though knowing that the first known leather pieces date from 1300 BC gives you an idea of how long humans have been using this versatile material for purposes ranging from clothing to horse tack to decoration and more. I’m sure that people were doing leatherwork well before that date, though leather – like almost everything else does have a finite life span.
Leather is made from animal hides through a process called “tanning”, and is a byproduct of the meat industry. I use vegetable tanned cowhide for most of my projects, as it has properties that make it well-suited for tooling (carving) designs, and takes on dye very well. I occasionally incorporate other kinds of leather for purposes such as linings and backings for filigree designs.