I had my mind set on that I wanted to work with a natural material, research it and use it in a new situation. After some contemplation I decided to choose leather. It is a material that has been used in many ways since the beginning of time and is, in my opinion, one of the few materials that ages well.
What is leather?
Leather is made from a hide that comes from animals, such as cows and sheep. The hide has to go through an extensive process to become leather, where it is for example, washed, dried, fleshed, tanned and staked.
What has leather been used for?
For centuries leather has been used by man for many things, everything from clothes to furniture to decoration. One of the things I found out in my production research is that, leather is in almost all situations used in combination with a support material, usually metal, wood or plastic, and I found it fascinating to challenge that factor.
Is it possible to harden leather? If it is, how hard can it get? Can it support it self in a structure?
There are many ways to harden leather or at least more than I thought existed. Some of these methods have been used for a long time, or ever since the stone ages but some are new. One of the old ones, “Cuir-bouilli” or boiled leather (in only water), is a method that was originally used to make armours for soldiers going to war. Cuir-bouilli was the method that gave me the best end results and it is the most environmental friendly of them all.
My result is a stool made out of only hardened leather and no support frame inside.
BA degree project 2011