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Capitonnè: how to do it?

Capitonnè: how to do it?

The capitonné is an embellishment that makes the surface of the sofa, an armchair or something else, pleasantly undulating, enhancing the softness of the upholstery. Through the use of technical tools used by artisans for the production of capitonné, a series of buttons are applied equidistantly on the covering, recreating a series of “pillows” placed side by side. 

  Country:  


Embossed leather

Embossed leather

Embossing is an artisanal technique that consists of working with malleable materials to obtain an ornamental figure in relief. Leather embossing is the practice of making leather into craft objects or works of art, using shaping and colouring techniques. This embossing is practiced by hand. The leather has to be worked on both sides. In one of them is drawn, and then embossed on the reverse.

It is made by working with burins of different sizes and shapes from the underside of the piece, arranged on a soft surface that allows the progressive deformation of the worked surface. In this way, the artisan works in "negative", sinking more those areas that should have greater relief on the other side. The final details of the relief are obtained by working on the front side of the piece, outlining this with finer chisels to obtain a greater definition.

Embossing in leather is used for covers of luxury bindings, portfolios, frames for portraits, seats and backs of chairs, screens, etc., with traditional decorations already gilded, already colourful, pyrographed with metal applications and enamels, gems, etc.

The embossing of leather is an art practiced in Muslim Spain which The embossing of leather is an art practiced in Muslim Spain and achieved great fame in cities such as Cordova, from where the name Cordovan comes.

  Country:  Andalusia, Spain


Figures made with wood and skin used for shadow theater

Figures made with wood and skin used for shadow theater

The figures for the shadow theatre were produced using sheep skin and wood or vegetable fibre, especially the fibre form a type of pumpkin that was dried and then could be used to carve the figures. Sometimes the figures were carved on sheep skin and then attached to wood to make them roboosed.

The figures then were painted with natural colours to have the required appearance. The production of the figures is continuous up to date and many are used as souvenirs and they are produced using new more easy materials. 

the figures were usually representing everyday people and imaginary charakters such as kings and dragons and they were used to make up stories to entertain people.

  Country:  Cyprus


Hand carding and combing sheep's wool

Hand carding and combing sheep's wool

Combing and carding are two related techniques for preparing wool.

With respect to sheep’s wool, the two techniques are used for making either worsted or woollen threads respectively.

Combing is a technique whereby wool is passed through a series of straight, metal teeth in order to lay the fibres parallel to one another.

Carding is a technique whereby two hand cards are used. Hand cards are typically square or rectangular paddles. These cards have numerous wire teeth set into a paper, leather or metal ground.

The teethed cards are used to separate the fibres, to spread them into a web (but not in parallel lines as in combed wool) and to remove any short or broken fibres as well as impurities.

  Country:  Poland


Hand spinning wool on a distaff with drop spindle

Hand spinning wool on a distaff with drop spindle

The famous Romanian traditional textiles are known to be the result of a hard work and some very special craft skills. In the Romanian villages, women were trained into traditional fiber arts (weaving, hand spinning wool, hemp, cotton, flax) from an early age. Nowadays, the few keepers of ancient customs and traditions are old rural people. 

A traditional artisan master shows us the working methods of the past. First the wool must go through a series of preparatory processes, cleaning, combing, carding by hand or with a wool carding machine. Then, the wool is wrapped and tied on the distaff and it is ready to spin.

  Country:  Romania/Bucovina


Highlander’s belt

Highlander’s belt

Highlander’s belt (in local dialect: oposek) is a highlander’s decorative broad leather money belt tied with several metal buckles.

The belt is one of the most important elements of male folk costume worn by Highlanders (Gorals) in Polish area of the Tatra Mountains, Podhale region.

Unlike other regional groups in Poland, Highlanders from Podhale wear traditional outfit (or its elements) on a daily basis. The object shown in the picture comes from the Podhale village of Zab (named Zubsuche until 1965).

It was probably made in the 19th century but its manufacturer, place of completion, and time of last usage, are unknown. In 1961 it was purchased for the ethnographic collections at the Dr Tytus Chalubinski Tatra Museum in Zakopane.

  Country:  Poland, Podhale, Zakopane


Leather manufacturing in Florence

Leather manufacturing in Florence

The video shows the work of an Italian shoemaker, during the realisation of tailored shoes. The shoes are made entirely with leather and requires different phases of work: the cut of the leather, the shape of the shoes, the finishing touch and the decoration. 

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Leather shoes called "krpce"

Leather shoes called "krpce"

Krpce are a typical Slovak oldest folk leather shoe. The history of origin goes back to 9-10th century.

The material used for its manufacture, is a natural leather.

Krpce can be weared by women, men and children, too. The top of these shoes is cut out with one piece of ground leather. Further garbage processing gives them the desired shape on the foot. For increased abrasion resistance, they have a padded and stitched outsole made of durable leather. From a practical point of view, it is not advisable to have a bare foot. Walking (even dancing) is more comfortable if thicker socks of sheep's wool are dressed. The whole manufacture process takes around 2 hours.

The video offers an example of the great manufacturing skills of the Slovak folk shoes, called krpce.

  Country:  Slovakia


Leather work made in Belgium

Leather work made in Belgium

The video shows the technique used to work the leather. First of all, the leather is cut in order to give the right shape; then it is painted; finally, the last finishing touches are made. The video shows the creation of a leather belt.

  Country:  Belgium


Romanian Sheepskin Coats

Romanian Sheepskin Coats

The traditional craftsmanship of Romanian sheepskin vests goes back to ancient times. The early occupation of skinners (coriarius) is attested on funerary monuments from the Geto-Dacian period. Today this craft is 
is rarely encountered, and the coats are mostly used in popular costumes. The leather coats,  tweaked and ornamented, they became are very appreciated and expensive celebration clothing for important events.

  Country:  Romania, all region


Saddle crafting technique

Saddle crafting technique

- The item represented is a horse saddle. Flaps, girth straps, and stirrup leathers are typically made from animal skins taken from cattle, pig, sheep, or deer; cowhide is the most common skin used in saddle making. Saddle trees can be composed of several materials, including beech wood, fiberglass, plastic, laminated wood, steel, aluminum, and iron, and of course leather and skin.
- The technique used is the old traditional handmade technique for creating saddles.
- In medieval times, Spain became one of the most important exporters of the Western modern saddles for Spanish colonies in America during the colonization era. 

This video shows all the steps necessary for creation of the saddle.

  Country:  Spain


Saddlery and harness

Saddlery and harness

The saddlery is the art of working various leather goods or saddles for horses. A garrison is a piece or arrangement of cavalry saddles, pack saddles and rigging. The saddler works handcrafted leather objects, masters in the art of transforming a piece of leather without any form except that of the animal.

To this artisan work it is necessary to have specialized tools such as the softwood board for cutting work, measuring tape , hammer to tap the leather and rivet the hardware, knives for cutting, 'chaira' or sharpener tool for sharpening the cutters, etc., as well as templates, tweezers, scissors, punches, ruler, compass, wooden scratcher, letter figures and numbers markers, and riveters,

Other materials are often used in addition to leather, such as canvas, fat wool called yarn with which garrisons are made or drawings on mounts or colored clothes and threads.

The word 'talabartería' means saddlery, having its origin in the term talabarte, "belt with shots to carry the sword or sabre”.

  Country:  Spain


Sheep fur carpet manufacturing

Sheep fur carpet manufacturing

First references of this fur products go back to the period of 18. century when they were used to protect people against the weather.


Currently wool products such as carpets are very popular in Slovakia. There are some types of them, for example "alpaka" which is 5 times warmer as an original fleece. Another type is "moher".


The most important phase of processing is soaking as without it, the pelt is brittle. The second step is degreasing pelt from fatty tissues. The third, the most sensitive step in this process is scouring, where the pelts are immersed in a special solution to preserve the wool. Fourth step is pickling, the pelt is soaked and salted again. At the end stretching and drying are used, where the pelts are under the tension with clips and it is necessary to do it outside. The last step is customization according to the customer's needs. The fleece of the sheepskin has an excellent insulating property and it is resistant to flame and static electricity. His exploitation is versatile.  In Slovakia we also have sheepskin coats called "kudmen" with a handmade folk embroidered theme on it, sheepskin-lined boots, hats and many other useful products.


The presented item in this video is 100% sheepskin carpet. This video offers an example of the great skill of sheepskin processing in Slovakia.

  Country:  Slovakia


Sheep Skin bag

Sheep Skin bag

The skin from the goats and sheeps was used to make heavy duty bags for everyday use. The bags were used mainly from the sheperts and were decorated. 

  Country:  Cyprus


Skin of Ubrique

Skin of Ubrique

Juan Luis Casillas, an artisan from Ubrique (Cádiz), was the first leather worker to receive the Artisan Mastercard from the Andalusian Government in 2012. He has worked in his workshop for decades. He began to work in this trade when he was 14 years old, and started his own business at the age of 21. For Juan Luis Casillas working with leather is much more than a job: it represents the idiosyncrasy, the culture and the history of the village where he was born. That’s why, beyond economic aspects, he tries to teach the secrets of this trade to the next generations, so it doesn’t disappear. The designs of Casillas Piel are highly valued outside Spain, where they sell 90% of their production.

  Country:  Spain/Andalusia/Cádiz


Smell of leather

Smell of leather

José Manuel Domínguez, from Valverde del Camino (Huelva), grew up surrounded by the smell of leather and the sounds of buckles. He is a leather artisan and a saddler.

His hometown has a tradition for these trades, which have been developed by his family for generations in their workshop, Artesanía Berrocal.

He is the third generation and was awarded with the Master Artisan Card by the Andalusian Government.

José Manuel claims that leather speaks and tells him how to work with it. Now, he is teaching how to interpret that language to his nephew, who is in charge of preserving the family tradition.


  Country:  Spain/Andalusia/Huelva


The costume of Gille de Binche

The costume of Gille de Binche

The video shows the creation of the carnival costume of Gille, very popular character of the carnival of Binche. The costume is made with linen and it is composed of a blouse and pants. It is decorated with the emblems and the colours of Belgian flag. The most important part of the costume is the hat, made entirely with big feathers, put together one by one by artisans. 

  Country:  Belgium


Traditional highlander's moccasins - KIERPCE

Traditional highlander's moccasins - KIERPCE

Traditional highlander's shoes called “kierpce” made of leather. These shoes have been made of genuine, hard leather since the early Middle Ages, thanks to which they are durable. The Podhale highlanders used leather from the cattle to make these moccasins.

Kierpce were commonly used until the 20th of in the Carpathians and the Balkans.

  Country:  Poland, Podhale


Traditional techniques of leather processing

Traditional techniques of leather processing

- The item represented is a leather bag.
- The technique used is the old traditional handmade technique for creating leather bags.
- The main material used is leather obtained through tanning and rawhides processing of animal skin.
- Spain is famous for this excellent leather crafting for the creation of all types of product with excellent quality. The origin of the use of leather is located in the city of Urbique in the 19th century. More than 75% of leather goods, from bags or others goods like mobile phone cases, mouse mats, handbag styles like hobo, tote and baguette are produced in Ubrique.

The video shows how a bag is made out of leather and all steps taken to create it.

  Country:  Spain