Leather Purse – Green Snail
Leatherworking is one of the world’s oldest crafts. Ever since humans could use tools and hunt they have been using leather to make a huge range of goods; clothes, jewellery, tools and armour.
Leather can be made from the skin of many animals, but by far the most commonly used is cowhide. Most cowhide is produced as a by-product of the meat industry, and accounts for approximately 5% of the value of a farmed cow. The hide itself has very few uses, and if not made into leather would (in the vast majority of cases) be discarded. In order for a hide to usable it must first be put through a tanning process. This is a process that has been in use in one form or another for thousands of years. Vegetable tanning uses tannins which occur naturally in the bark and leaves of many plants. Tannins bind to the collagen in the hide and coat them. Hides are stretched on frames and immersed for several weeks in vats of increasing concentration of tannin.
Vegetable tanned leathers are not uniform in appearance, each piece of leather becomes a unique item in itself, possessing its own rich shade. Vegetable tanned leather is extremely strong and takes natural dyes very well. This form of leather is also far better than chrome tanned for moulding and carving designs. These products are tanned use vegetable tanned cowhide.