Monday, November 08, 2010

The Hand Cut Leather Lace Process



USA based Artist and Designer, Virginia E. Berry (Me) uses 100% Genuine Leather glove weight Lambskin in her precision, freehand cut and pierced leather jewelry and purses. This technique is referred to as leather lace. It is a play between positive and negative space; a 3-d rendering of a high contrast image.


Mesmerized by a book on Asian Cut Art, Chinese Chung-hua and Japanese Kiri-e at my Grandmother’s, I taught herself to create cut paper art at a young age. I also finds inspiration in Mexican PapĂ©l Picado and cut paper art found in other cultures. My designs draw from traditional Asian motifs, Art Nouveau and Art Deco design.


Leather lace requires the steady hand of a surgeon, one slip and the entire piece can be ruined. I draw out my design ideas on paper and use these to develop my pieces. Then, using the drawing as a visual reference guide, I use delicate knives and piercing utensils to freehand cut the design into leather. This is a careful, highly detailed process. Once the basic design in in place, I go back through with a close eye and makes sure all of the cut lines are crisp and smooth.


I started developing my hand cut leather lace technique in 2007. I've explored many tools and have sharpened my methods, always based on freehand cutting and freehand drawing. Leather lace is extremely lightweight and soft to wear. It is very flexible and amazingly durable. I have done durability testing and make sure my cut lines are thick enough so that you cannot tear them with your hands. Trust me, we've tried. To view my full leather lace collection (more to come in the next few weeks), visit and view the bracelets & necklaces.

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