This is the first of monthly blogs written by Blue Rock Horses riding students. This month’s feature article is written by Miss Anna Kate Cox.
Blue Rock Horses students enjoyed crafting leather last Saturday. It was a very windy day, and when we arrived we were glad to get inside the small leather shop. We were greeted by the owner of the shop, Wayne Groves, who introduced himself, the shop, called Tricks of the Trade, and his wife, Barbara. Tricks of the Trade, like any leather shop, smelled like leather, which is a wonderful aroma.
The shop was also very neat and organized. He showed us the tools that he uses to make leather things. There were several hammers, including a maul, a cobles hammer, and a mallet. There was a huge machine called a stitcher, which sewed leather together. Lasts are used to help make shoes. Learning about leather tools was very enjoyable.
Next, he took us upstairs to show us all of the different animal skins. We passed them around and all tried to guess which animal the skin came from. Mr. Groves told us several very interesting facts. He told us that if you get leather wet, you can stretch it out into different shapes, he also told us how you keep leather healthy and nice-looking. You need to use soap & water to keep it clean, let it dry thoroughly, and oil it regularly. Most interestingly, he told us that small skins are called pelts, the medium-sized ones are just called skins, and large animal skins are always called hides. Also Leather can come from cows, sheep, snakes, alligators, sharks, lizards, foxes, bears, pigs, minks, reindeer, and many other kinds of animal skins.
The next thing we did was make a shepherd’s pouch. We sewed two pieces of leather together, and when we were done sewing, we had the strap attached, the buttons put on, and the pouch fixed up.
Then, Mr. Groves showed us how to make a bracelet out of a leather mystery braid (it’s hard for me to explain how it’s done).
We stayed for a while to chat and have fun, and suddenly it was time to leave. Mr. Groves gave us some leather key chains, and then we said goodbye and left for home. We had such a great time making shepherd’s pouches and mystery braided bracelets at Tricks of the Trade.