Letters from Christie: Winning at Chess.
The past couple of weeks have been very successful within the workshop. I have spent all of my time at work and very little time within my workshop at home. I am looking forward to summer holidays when I can really put the new bench to good use and find any improvements and changes I want to make for the future.
I have been mainly focusing on my military exams this month. This was to be my second of three exams which consisted of making a selection of military items and then my favourite part... an item of our own choice! I spent along time thinking about what I wanted to make. I thought about different types of bridles or items of saddlery with fancy stitching to really show off what I have learnt over the years, I just couldn't choose!
I then spoke to my support team at home and in which they suggested making something completely opposite end of the spectrum to what I am used to. I took the challenge on (similar to the chocolate box challenge) and decided to make a complete chess board with pieces and decorative box. The colour decision wasn't hard; I instantly fell in love with the Sedgwick’s red bridle. The quality of the hide and colour is phenomenal, especially against a black background, and how to make it any harder? White stitching of course! It was a challenge to cut the pieces out by hand and working out how to box stitch the pieces together, using as little glue as possible. I was really happy with the finished product.
Christie's leatherwork. Chess board made from Sedgwick bridle leather.
Alongside the chessboard I wanted to push myself even further and to incorporate my love for horses. I saw the horse head mask on a leatherworkers Facebook group and thought that is something I could have a go at making. Firstly, I intended to make it into a table ornament with just the horses' head. Once I had stitched the piece together it didn't feel like it had the same character as the mask I had previously seen, so it was finished with a full human head harness. This was the most challenging item I have produced due to it being stitched into a 3D shape. A lot of my work consists of stitching a flat piece of leather; so I had to work out how to hold the pieces to tightly secure them with a variety of stitching.
Now with the military exams successfully passed I can look forward to the society's competition. I am also looking forward to completing my level 3 bridle and saddle next year.
As the Army Team jumping season is coming to a close, with Chepstow International and Arena UK in September, Millie is looking forward to a well deserved holiday. My other horse Marley will be back to compete with me over the winter, with many successes, I hope... fingers crossed! I am excited for having a bit more time to spend behind my bench and maybe looking into doing some shadowing for bridle fitting after completing my introductory bridle fitting course.
Thanks for reading.