Pleasant to Behold

“And, pray, what can be pleasanter to behold? Talk, indeed, of your pantomimes and gaudy shows; your processions and installations and coronations! Give me, for a beautiful sight, a neat and smart woman, heating her oven and setting in her bread! And, if the bustle does make the sign of labour glisten on her brow, where is the man that would not kiss that off, rather than lick the plaster from the cheek of a duchess.”

William Cobbett – Cottage Economy 1833

Sporran in Progress

I have been wanting to make a few sporrans based on the classic 18th century style.  This type, often referred to as a Rob Roy style, is a fairly simple, single pocket design that can have a number of variations.  The one I’m making here is from 6 oz full-grain hide and should outlive it’s owner, even under hard use.  A versatile belt pouch like this was originally intended to be worn with kilt or trousers as built-in tailored pockets are a rarity in history.

At 6.5 inches wide by 6 inches tall it can hold a fairly complete fire and survival kit in a handy position on almost any belt.

As with most of my leatherwork, this bag is hand sewn using a double-needle saddle stitch for strength and longevity.

The dye is wet in these photos, looking a bit uneven, so I’ll try to shoot a few more in better light when the weather improves.

The bellows design I chose stays flat but will expand to fit more gear as needed.  Look for a follow-up soon.  It is listed on my Etsy page so it will, hopefully, be finding a new owner in the near future.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/LostWorldCrafts

Practicing Primitive Daily

Primitive is a loaded word for some people.  To me, it means simple and lacking industrial materials.  That’s not to say primitive cannot be complex or fine work; in fact, it’s often just the opposite.  Sometimes even, it involves recycling the detritus of the modern world, such as tire rubber for shoe soles.

18th century style.

18th century style.

Looking at my high-graded and favorite camping gear I came to the realization a couple of years ago that by removing a few modern items my kit looks about 250 years out of date.  That made me kind of happy.  I’m not really a reenactor but I do occasionally participate in period events.  It seems my tastes really do just lean toward a quieter, handmade, preindustrial world.

An overview of traveling gear. I see this format on the web a lot so I'm stealing the style from far batter photographers than I.

An overview of traveling gear. I see this format on the web a lot so I’m stealing the style from far better photographers than I.

The Blind Fiddler

The Blind Fiddler 1806 Sir David Wilkie 1785-1841 Presented by Sir George Beaumont Bt 1826 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/N00099

The Blind Fiddler 1806 Sir David Wilkie 1785-1841, Tate Gallery Collection.

“An itinerant fiddler is playing for a humble country family. David Wilkie focuses on the listeners’ different expressions. Only two people seem to respond to the music: the baby and the boy on the right, who is imitating the fiddler by playing the bellows.When this picture was exhibited at the Royal Academy some critics thought the bust on the shelf represented a dissenting minister, and concluded that the family were nonconformists. The power of music to stir the passions of those supposedly suspicious of pleasure was thought to add to the painting’s subtlety.” From the Tate website 2007.

So many historic details in this painting: basket, copper work, cookware, walking stick, spinning wheel, stools, hats, dog, pipe, key, cup, and shovel.  A snapshot of late 18th – early 19th century rural life.