This week I have been learning a lot about the tanning process, and diversity within the leather industry. I was fascinated to learn how different sections of hide are used for different purposes, in addition to different methods for tanning and their effect on the function of the product they are used to make.
Some tanneries use veggie tan, an environmentally sensitive option for tanning hides, this process can be used on any leather to produce a variety of aesthetic results. Some of the leathers with a waxier finish can become virtually impossible to scratch, as the oils work their way back to the surface and smooth out any marks from abrasion. A process I had been aware of before, but hadn’t truly appreciated is milling.
Milling is a process where they tumble certain parts of the hide, giving them a range of suppleness. Some of leathers seemed to be milled soft enough to use as a blanket, while unmilled hides would be stiff enough to make a horse saddle from. However, the hides we are most interested in at Brynn Capella are milled just enough to have structure to use as a handbag, while still remaining soft to the touch.
This week I had the opportunity to visit a local tannery with Brynn called Horween Leather Co. Being the first tannery I had been to, it was amazing to see all of these unique leathers being produced. Tanning a hide properly is truly an art form. I have a new appreciation for leather goods and handbags as each component used to produce a bag takes so much time, training, and skill.