Monday, September 17, 2018

Barony Coronet - Aiden

I blame Eva for this one.

This was actually a pretty fun project to work on as it's been a while since I've done anything with leather working.

Long story short, I took on a commission to make a coronet who was to be honored with  Court Barony.  Thomas of Effingham put up with me asking a ton of questions about his idea/mock up until I had a running idea of what I could/could not do in a tight 3 week turn around.  I say a tight turn around because I was also making LARP props for myself due the same weekend and I also lost a few days of crafting due to new parent fun-times (because babies....seriously.  No regard for deadlines).

Eva let me bounce some artistic designs off her and I had a plan.  This plan (in my head at least) was going to be Jaws meets a Red Bull can.  The idea of the (sugar-free) Red Bull can design was a main component when Thomas detailed his idea to me.  I made a few artistic and logistical choices once everything was planned out.

Things to include:
- Sugar-Free Red Bull can pattern (teal and silver)
- Sharc Pit house theme (sharks)
- and inset "pearl"design using prefab rivets
- wave pattern (because sharks!)

Materials used:
- 4-5oz veg tanned leather strap, 1.75 inches wide
- stone rivets (commercially available from Tandy Leather)
- Liquitex paint
- gesso
- leather edge beveler
- leather punch
- various brushes

I had the good fortune to have a leather coronet pattern around already...and the terrible sense to decide it wasn't right and that I should make a new one and do a bunch of math for it.  If you've worked in the same room as me while I'm going a scroll layout, you know I have a hard time with that math.

General layout was going to be a"wave" patterned coronet with seven waves along the top and six pearls inset between the waves on the band itself.  I used my own baronial coronet (shown below) as a template for the wave.  Obviously my coronet is a little bit "daintier" in terms of band thickness, but I only used it for shaping.  The band length was done to I believe 23 inches with an open back since I didn't have exact head circumference.  I split the difference in circumference between my coronet (tiny noggin) and my husband's coronet (bigger noggin).

My coronet.  The front part is what I'm calling the "wave".

The wave was traced onto the back/rough side of the leather in the center.  The one wave pattern is 3 inches long from dip to dip of the wave.  From there, the other waves were mapped out laterally.  Vertically the lowest points/"dips" measured 1 inch from the dip to bottom of the coronet band.  The way this all worked out is that the banding pattern for the Red Bull can was three inches long as well. Each of the color blocks is 0.5 inches tall.

Design traced out on the rough side.
The excess leather was cut away using a box cutter and X-acto knife for some of the cleaning work.  Once cute out, the entire thing was coated in gesso as a base layer. I bevelled the inside edge for comfort and some of the waves to make them look even.

I chose gesso as it smooths out the surface and "covers up" any imperfections in the leather.  This is the process we used for leather masks painted with acrylics for our LARP events.  Normally with SCA projects, I'd use specific products used for their appropriate medium (leather dyes or leather paints for leather), but this was something I was familiar with and knew would hold up well.  After drying, the design was measured out and painting began.

Painting in progress.Yes the teal is REALLY bright.

I used a flat brush to make sure the edges of the lines were as neat as possible and used a size 0 round for touch ups.  If I were to do this again, I'd do a base layer of a light gray where the silver is because I don't like the coverage I got in the final product.  I was a bit nit picky with the brush strokes being seen, but eventually acknowledged it was a losing battle.

Next was the sharks!  I did some freehand sketches/mock-ups to see how they would look first.  Shark fins point inward to the center "Jaws" shark.

*cue the music*

Shark and fins were painted with liquitex paint as I didn't like the consistency my old (and probably bad) leather paint was giving me.  I did add it to the gray to add some contrast in the shading.

"I'm a shaaaaaark!"

Everything was sealed with a matte spray.  I used my precious stash of Neat-Lac (no longer sold to my knowledge) to seal the entire thing.

Now here is where catastrophe struck.  The last thing I needed to do was add the inset pearls (ie, go punch holes in your art).  I started punching the holes in the wrong spot with the first punch. I decided to punch them at the intersections of the color square, but was supposed to count them out from the middle of the piece and not start from the back.  I plugged the hole with the leather dot that came out of it with super glue, gessoed the area to fill in the gap and repainted it.  It's not noticeable unless your get right up in the coronet's business and look for it.

You can probably notice it because I pointed it out and the paint is still wet in this picture.

Once that was fixed, I added the decorative stone rivets and called it a day.  Thank you Aiden for mentioning your favorite color on your EK Wiki page.  It made my job easier!  

Finished coronet picture and detail of the open back:

Final project was Athena the Cat approved as she was snuggling with it while I was working on my other LARP project.