This next bracer is for my lovely girlfriend who goes by Artemis in the SCA. The lovely lass cooked up an entire set of Turkish garb for her second event. Her first event she wore medieval garb that she just happened to have 'laying around'. You can see why I'm so fond of her.
So first things first: To find out if she even likes archery! Luckily, Tournament of Armies was just around the corner and Artemis was coming with me. Well, she was sorta the wheels of the operation, so I guess I was going with her. Anyway the night before I wanted to cook her up a bracer for shooting 'cause, ya know, that's what I do.
|De Ja Vu: The feeling that all of this has happened before...|
I should mention this bracer actually started before Thorun's, but I finished it after. You'll see in a little while. Anyway I cut out a quicky bracer from some leather, not really even sized for her but it came out pretty good. I added a little beveled border around it, just for some flash.
|This is the part that keeps it on her arm!|
So this is what she took with her to TOA. Basic, but personal. She shot quite well on my old green-stringed bow (named Petunia), after some practice she was hitting the paper with all six arrows at 20 yards. She's a natural, and I aint just saying that 'cause I know she'll read this later.
Ok so TOA is finished. We head home, and I crash for 48 hours. I had been to an event every weekend for a month. Remind me never to become Royalty, because that gig must suck for wanting time to yourself. Anyway I get home, I decide to get back into the leatherworking again. So I tool up Thorun's bracer (as seen in the previous post), then set to work on my lady's.
I talked with her a bit, and she is really into the idea of falconry. I must take her to an event where they have some demonstrations of these birds. But in the meantime we talked about heraldry and things to put on the bracer. Her name, a badge or device she might want to register or even just a heraldric charge. I suggested (like an idiot) that a falcon would look really cool. She agreed.
|Birds... why did it have to be birds...|
As you may recall after Isabella's bracer, I swore no more birds. But then again I swear a helluva lot, don't I? The feathers are tricky, a lot of sharp points that I'm not used to doing with leather. Give me rounded edges any day! But this heraldric falcon was a LOT easier. Far more straight, clean lines. Also, I suggested maybe adding something in Arabic at the bottom, again because I am a chump. She thought that would be awesome so I went looking online for something Arabic to do with archery and found this from the Hadith of Sahih Muslim, Book 20, number 4711:
It has been narrated on the authority of Ibn Amir who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) say - and he was delivering a sermon from the pulpit: Prepare to meet them with as much strength as you can afford. Strength is in archery, strength is in archery, strength is in archery.
So I decided to put "Strength is in archery" through a Google translator and it spat out a reasonable looking piece of Arabic script. I copy/pasted it into Photoshop, arranged the heraldric falcon and the script then sized it using measurements I took from the bracer. My friend Alex was kind enough to print it off for me, then it was time for tracing!
|De Ja Vu: The feeling that... OH GOD! THE AGENTS ARE HERE!|
Wetting the leather and taking a (nearly) empty ballpoint pen left quite an impression. It looked gorgeous when transfered onto the leather! I really shoulda grabbed a picture of that, but by then my lady had showed up at my house and insisted on watching me work.
|She even took the camera from me!|
I traced over the edges with the swivel knife and carved out the eye with my stitching groover. The arabic script was a pain, but I eventually settled on the idea of using the grooving tool again to carve off the leather of the script. It was difficult work, and probably not the best tool for it but it gave the lines some definition that they wouldn't otherwise have.
|Much easier to read now, eh?|
After that, I took the bevel stamp to around the edges of the falcon. It wasn't as hard as I thought, as I've had a bit more practice. I also took the bevel stamp to the outside of the wing, to make it seem raised against the body. Then I took a very small texture stamp and stamped some texture into the feathers, the talons and the beak. It worked very, very well.
|Pretty darn spiffy, wouldn't you say?|
I learned a lot on this project. One of the most important things was not to get the leather too wet. I wetted it down a few times, but I wanted to remove some of the tooling marks from it so I drenched it in water. Problem was, this also removed some of my tooling with (or made it kinda indistinct), so I had to go back over it again. Not a horrific mistake, but one I won't make again.
Another issue was with the Arabic script. I was really struggling with a way for it to stand out besides just a series of cuts in the leather. I tried a bit of bevel stamping, but it looked not so good. I like the effect the grooving tool made, though and I might do that again in the future.
So there it is, a new archery bracer for my lady Artemis. I am most proud of this one, not just because of the work or how it turned out. I'm most proud that I got to do something awesome and unique for the lady I care so much about.