The Great Weathered Leather Experiment Results: Different Strokes for Different Folks
A little over a year ago I had an idea. Give away twelve bracelets to twelve people. The bracelets would be as raw and natural as possible. The instructions were to do what ever you want to it, just take a picture every month and send it to me.
In the following year we have learned a lot. Oil and sun will darken the leather. Oil more so than sun. Some bracelets got zero conditioning. Some were soaked in oil. We learned that natural oils (coconut or olive) worked well. Mineral oil or other petroleum based treatments tended to do some harm in the long run. Natural oils and fats age. Mineral oil breaks down into solvents and destroys the natural fats in the leather. Coffee does not stain leather as much as we thought (or hoped) it would. Chicken poo and grape jelly just add to the character.
Lastly I was able to demonstrate my favorite thing about vegetable tanned leather. Leather is a natural material. It changes and ages just like we all do. As you carry it through the journey of your life, it will carry the story of what you've experienced. Twelve bracelets all identical, given to twelve people. One year later each one is completely unique. Pretty cool.
While our documentation of this experiment is over the Great Weathered Leather Experiment continues in every item I make. If you are interested in following along, check out the board I've started for Wright and Rede in the Wild on Pinterest.