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What is English Bridle Leather?

Wednesday, May 2, 2018 11:47:53 AM America/Detroit

English Bridle LeatherEnglish Bridle Leather is a firmer leather than other leathers - used for hundreds of years in the equestrian world - hence the name. It is made from the highest quality vegateble-tanned cowhide. The deep consistent colors of the hides are acheived by dying the hides in drums. When the dying process is complete, the leather is then "hot-stuffed with waxes which gives it a very rich and durable finish.

Once the leather is completed, it will be stiff, but over time with wear and breaking it in, it will become soft and supple. But the added benefit is that it has a lot of strength. This is why artisans like Royden Leather Belts uses the leather for all of its belts and journals.

Each tannery has their own formulas for tanning their hides, which are used to give the leather a different feel or look. English Bridle Leather develops it's patina over time - not as instantly as saddle leather. In other words, it ages like fine wine.

English Bridle Leather is typically used for high-end leather goods and equestrian gear. and it is the ideal type of leather used for high-end products like the Royden Leather Belts for example. It's highly durable, strong, conditions well, and has a nice look because the dye reveals the grain of the hide.

Cheaper leather bels from overseas and sold in discount stores sometimes have cardboard in the middle - sandwiched between thin leather strips. You can be sure that when you get English Bridle Leather, you are getting something all natural. The leather is leather all the way through - and it's durable.

Bottom line - it's a rich, beautiful looking, great feeling leather that just doesn't wear out.

Posted By Chris Chantland

George Northup - A gentleman Artist

Saturday, February 24, 2018 2:53:46 PM America/Detroit

George NorthupI first met George Northup at one of the private dinner parties just before the Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival in Thomasville, GA. I instantly liked him - a lot. He took time to chat with me - a relatively unknown artist just starting out on my first major show. We chatted for some time that night and I vowed to keep in touch with him, because eventhough I wasn't all that famliar with his work - I just really liked him.

George didn't have an arrogant streak in him. He had every right to be - his work is up there with all of the greatest wildlife sculptors. A couple years later, when I started Sporting Artisans, George was one of the first artists I invited and I was very happy when he said yes.

I didn't have a sale for him the first couple years. Then a call came in requesting more information. I hadn't spoken to George but maybe once in two years, and when I called, I had to remind him who I was. But true to George's character, he was instantly and genuinely nice and gracious and started chatting with me again about his art, my art and what he was planning to do next. We made the sale. In fact, the people who bought the first George Northup piece off my site bought two more later - but better than that - the customers became good friends.

I thank George not only for the sale, but better yet the friends I've made through his work. That would be fitting as it is definitely true to his nature.

George passed suddenly last summer. It is a heartbreaking thing for me. I just loved calling him and chatting - and he'd take the time everytime to give me advice on what I should do to get into a gallery - or tell me that he knew some folks that he could put me in touch with. But beyond that, he was just plain wonderful to talk with. 

His daughter has launched a gofundme page to celebrate the fact that my story is not unusual. She writes: "George especially loved to support young, often struggling artists.  He encouraged and mentored many, many artists who went on to fill their greater dreams in the profession, and he introduced them without hesitation or reservation to the amazing circles of art influencers and professionals whose respect he had earned over decades, and who could help them.  

In honor of this great generous spirit, and to fulfill his noble wish to become a patron, the George Northup Young Artist Scholarship has been formed to support one or more art students as he would have wanted."

Please take a look at this gofundme page and consider a donation. But like me, keep George's work in your eye and his memory in your heart. 

Posted By Chris Chantland

A Great Discovery: Italian Marble by Studio Vertu

Friday, November 24, 2017 7:30:03 PM America/Detroit

I've always loved the rough look of almost anything when it comes to decor. It just lends that earthy, classic vintage feel and when you use it, it looks better the more you use it.

So I got this idea by seeing another artist's work, and started searching for Italian Marble items that might be a good fit with my own artwork. I'm good at diligently searching on the world wide web, but got sidetracked by a web site featuring items for the wine enthusiast. There they offered  - beautiful, elegant and classic Italian Marble coasters. I loved the look. But who made them?

More searching and finally - I found Studio Vertu. Not sure if these were the folks who made the wine coasters I liked. But I liked what they offered on their own site. I called the folks there - very friendly. The owner - Marlane - and I chatted for 30 - 45 minutes and we discovered we both had the same passion - for beauiful works of art hand-made with careful attention to detail. And we also shared the fact we are both artists/artisans who have struggled getting our start.

Studio Vertu Montage

Marlane had some lean years at first, but she's gowing her company without sacrificing the art part of it or the friendly familyatmosphere. And last but not least - her company - Studio Vertu - makes  beautiful Italian Marble coasters, trivets, wine stoppers, ornaments and more - and they are the same company that made the coasters I loved on the wine web site.

Studio Vertu prints a wide range of wonderful art on their products - from horses, to dogs, to flowers, sports, nautical themes and more. Some vintage. Some contemporary. Some whimisical. But all that look good in Italian Marble.

What I like best is that Studio Vertu is a perfect fit for Sporting Artisans because they can make custom products. So check back here often, because soon there will be more of these works of art made from marble from the quarries of Italy by Studio Vertu. 

Posted By Chris Chantland

This is not your father's graphite

Monday, November 6, 2017 12:56:08 PM America/Detroit

Cole Johnson large graphitesI talked to Cole Johnson the other day about his new work. He's getting ready for the Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival, but took the time to chat with me about his new graphites.

The latest include some very large pieces done for the Astoria Gallery in Jackson Hole. Cole said he never calculated beforehand that he'd do such large work - they just came about because of a creative impluse. The image size for these large graphites is somewhere around 9 feet high!

Cole creates these works by purchasing high-grade watercolor paper in rolls. He'll take a piece of the roll, wet it, lay it on the cement floor in the basement, and then let it air dry so that the curl is taken out of the paper. Then it's hung in a special method Cole has devised so he can stand and work on the project.

Cole uses a combination of graphite and charcoal to get the look he wants. The deep blacks are a result of the fact that charcoal tends to absorb light rather than reflect it, the way graphite does. Because graphite reflects, he uses graphite for areas to convey wetness on the animal for example.

Also used are powders and other techniques Cole has perfected over the years, making him one of the nation's premier graphite/charcoal wildlife artists.

Once the piece is finished, he carefully rolls it and ships it to the gallery, where it has to be inspected to make sure no damage was done in shipping. Then the gallery takes careful pains to frame such a large piece, using high-grade pexiglass because it is so large.

Prints of Cole Johnson's work can be purchased at Sporting Artisans. You may also commission an original work from him. 

Posted By Chris Chantland

New graphite - "Wagin' Train"

Thursday, November 2, 2017 2:54:47 PM America/Detroit

This is the ongoing progress of my newest graphite. Have no idea what to call it yet. Usually I have a title long before I am completed. The scene is from the GA FL owner's trial, held every year for the past 100 plus years near Thomasville and Albany, GA. 

I've been fortunate to attend quite a few of them, and was privileged to do the painting for the 100-year anniversary. Many of these owner's and participants have become friends, so the added bonus is depicting folks I know. Although in this work, I only know the people who own the wagon in the background.Wagin' Train Graphite 1

Posted in Works in Progress By Chris Chantland
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