Sunday, 5 April 2015

The difference in leathers used in Malden binders

I´ve often told about difference in Malden leathers. It is understandable that once one sees a certain type of leather in a binder they wish to purchase, and then when it comes and proves to have quite the opposite look... questions arise. It is natural for hides to come in varying nature, in my opinion it would be responsible for a company- any company to first note that leathers can and will vary, or then perhaps they should outline the type of leather to use altogether. 
Had I have promised a customer a silk shirt in satin weft for generous drape, and delivered shirt made of Pongee silk with completely opposite effect it being of rough, nubby texture, this would not have been acceptable. Also, had I measured and agreed to make a size 38 garment, yet the outcome had peen of size 42, this would not have been acceptable and would have deemed me quite the unprofessional, which would be bad reputation and detrimental for professional pride. 
When I ordered two ochre Malden binders in a5, I got one in satin weft and size 38, while the other was size 42 and Pongee silk. In proverbial sense.
The other was incredible dry, it had small tears in leather and while I opened it, I heard the leather tearing apart. It was visibly made of thinner leather and held within itself great promises of future silkiness after- what proved to be several months- of conditioning. 

I have great respect towards leather. I eat meat, I use leather. However, it does not mean we don´t need to respect the animal and the products it provided us with. Native Americans brush blood under their eyes (I do not know if this is true in all tribes but it was true with those with whom I talked with) after killing the animal and gives it thanks for giving its life to humans. In terms of consumption, I think all possible bits of beast should be used. You make hides, pelts, eat the meat, can do preservatives, boil glue etc etc. But you respect the process, you respect the outcome, dammit! When an animal has given its life for you fancy binder, bag, belt, coat, gloves, whatnot, do be decent and take care of it. When animal still has a heartbeat, it also has fat underneath its skin. This fat makes skin elastic, skin can stretch back and forth, it protects the beast from pesticides, diseases, sun, keeps the animal warm or cool. Just as with our species, humans, it is their largest organ and vital to surviving. When an animal is killed and it is separated from its harness, the hide goes through grueling process to make it pliable enough to serve us, the species of humans. The very thought that magically, we as "crown" of food chain, make it so that leather no longer needs the natural fats and oils and can sustain because of the awesome fact that a human is using it and all of a sudden it becomes something very else than the natural organ it once was, having its own requirements now denied and suppressed, is utter garbage and makes us assholes. And that is slightest of the cases. So condition yo´ leathers, dammit! If you are a company, pretend to have some respect, even if you really do not know the meaning of the expression. Trust me, the consumer will not know the lack of your morals, the consumer just won´t see cracking of the leather. Because it´s so hard not to notice it. 
If you are a person who never conditions your leathers... why!?!? Do you know that a leather product can outlive several generations, properly conditioned and will show beautiful patina, but will decay sooner if you just are not in a mood of taking care of something that died for you. Also, it makes you an asshole. Yes, I will judge. Forever. Should you care? Absolutely not but you should condition your damn leather products!

Above is picture of the two binders. The smaller and thinner one lays flat more so than its thicker, grainier and larger friend. Also, notice how the other pocket is of different colour. It is the same colour found on the outside. Best leather for this binder is found on the inside, on the zipper pocket.

The leather on the thinner one was and is thinnest on the upper corner here. It also is creased and pouching. After two years of active use, it still is.

I then applied natural oils (a mix I made back at the time. No chance ever to remember ingredients) to them- because of the dryness. This should be done every time for either dry leather, or leather that has not been conditioned for a long time. After the naturals, I applied medium brown leather creme. The difference in colour got significantly different. After this, another coat of natural oils was applied. All of this got sucked straight in the leather.

I was trying to demonstrate their difference by holding them up, but the coarser and thicker binder wanted to spread up (the hussie) and the flimsier one was having none of that and kept falling down. Perhaps the beast it came from used to be Victorian in previous life? So I opted to show the pair how to compose oneself  and stand up straight.

For several days I applied oils and cremes and leather conditioners to them and especially, the thinner one was beyond thirsty. The binders sucked all oils straight away and I just kept adding. How does one know when the leather is saturated=conditioned enough? The natural fats linger on before whooshing into the leather. Like any organic creature, leather needs moisture and it will feed itself until all is fine and dandy. Picture from above is a week after conditioning with natural oils with no pigment. I could see their true colours coming through as more moisture was given to leather

This picture above  is of the pair as they are. They still are getting conditioned, however they no longer are creaking or breaking and are saturated. The finer one is silky, buttery and soft. Even if I have decades working with different materials, including leather, I could not predict this level of softness after the dry, sandpaper-like feel. My friend kept hugging it and said it was an equivalent to a plushy toy for adult. This interaction made me very uncomfortable and we ended up in a friendly, yet determined enough tug-of-war when it came to possession of the thing. Ever since I´ve  kept it at quasi-safe distance from her.
I needed to cut out some material because the rings were useless and gaping, also I made it into a binder that holds 12 cm x 21 cm. notebooks. It is a home for my book projects and indeed, the colour is very espresso. All very naturally so.

The other below is to be seen on pictures on prior posts. I used it as my "one planner" but logistic challenges emerged when I need to use it on the go. Such generous and gorgeous floppiness needs two hands, I dropped it a few times too close to comfort and made it a home to Commonplace Book and Dear Diary. We now have received a new harmony as my planning needs have found a new home in a TN, which agrees more on opening, making appointements and taking notes on the go. 

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