Vegetable tanned leather, what is it and why do I use it?
A distinction is usually made between chemical and natural tanning methods.
Almost all my creations are made with vegetable tanned leather.
I consciously chose to use the long-term and expensive process of vegetable tanning.
The sustainable / nature-friendly process plays an important role in this, but another reason is that many creations of Earthly-designs cannot arise from a different type of leather.
No other material can be shaped and edited in such a way that the creations are getting my typical signature.
This is caused, among other things, by the different nuances and shades when painting the leather.
You cannot achieve these beautiful nuanses with other raw materials.
After chemical tanning, the leather is virtually dead and therefore no longer able to breathe.
Furthermore, due to the more gentle process of vegetable tanning, the average lifespan of the leather is considerably higher than that of chrome-tanned leather.
Leather is a natural product with all its peculiarities and nuances.
A natural product that can of course also spoil, therefore people have previously developed appropriate methods to stabilize raw animal skins and make them more sustainable.
This process is called tanning.
Because about one-third of the skin consists of protein (collagen), tanning also causes protein vessels not to stick and harden during drying, but remain flexible due to the tannings.
The tanning process consists of various processing steps, after which the leather will have an almost unlimited shelf life.
There are various processes for this, such as chrome tanned and vegetable tanned, synthetic tanning and tear tanning.
Sometimes different tanning methods are combined to obtain certain properties for the end product.
In general, this method is used, which means that the skins can be preserved by the action of preservatives.
Nowadays, chemical tanning with the help of chromium salts is widely used.
This ensures a faster and more affordable process than before, also because it requires less material.
Chrome tanning also makes the skin smoother.
Moreover, further processing is very easy and requires less expertise.
Is the tanning and purifying of the skins in a natural way, so without using harmful chemicals. The process is used to stabilize the skin.
It is a traditional, artisanal process that uses the tannic acids found in some plants.
The substance gallic acid is often used, the strongest antioxidant found in nature. You can also find this substance in tea, wine, extra virgin olive oil and cocoa.
Other natural tannins are so-called catechins. These antioxidants are also found in white tea, chocolate, fruit and in many plants.By using the branches, leaves or even some fruit in certain specific techniques, this process is made possible.
Unfortunately, with this process, the suppleness of chrome-tanned leather is not usually achieved.
The actual tanning process takes between one and three months. In addition, it is a more expensive process.
The color of leather, before dyeing, generally shows which tanning process has been applied.
Vegetable tanning colors the leather brown, tear tanning colors the yellow, alum tanning white and chrome tanning silver gray.