Traditional leather braiding

Leather Braiding
   Argentine Tradition


The origin of leather braiding, wich raw material is rawhide-contrary tyo saddlery where tanned River Plate area ( Rio de la Plata) aroun 4 centuries ago. In the beginning, it was used by native Inhabitants and the “ gaucho” ( South American cowoy). 
The leather braiding is the most traditional Argentine art. The technique has been orally transmitted by the “ gauchos ”, who have passed down the tradition of untanned leather manufacture from one generation to the next. 
This River Plate traditional and exclusive creation is highlighted by the artisans every time they give birth to a work of art.
Rawhide is leather in its natural state, completely ecological, without chemical components wich modify its nature. It keeps the natural color
and every feature of the animal skin. 
The process is a slow and hard an it is fundamental to follow every step to obtain a high quality product. The leather braider´s work begins by
choosing the raw material: the rawhide. This is very important because the rawhides always show marks and damage generated by different reasons. 
All this long and hard process is fundamental to the excellence of the end product. It enables to accomplish superb leather thiness is the next
phases wich results in the extremely delicate and exclusive products. 
Usually, yhe untanned leather is combined with colt leather. The latter gives birth to the leather strips (“tientos”) wich is the basic material for braiding.
Is really important get a neat and soft work for marking necklaces, bracelets and these kind of pieces. 
To braid different tones and colors, the leather strips (“tientos”) are dyed with natural pigments.
The leather strip braiding is called awl braiding since that is the name of the tool used to make it.
The awl braiding was not widely used by the “gaucho” owing to its fragility.
This is a very attractive handicraft wich requires great skill due to the fragility of the thin strips.
The technique is applied to the collection art pieces rather tan to everyday use Ítems.
With the passage of time, the braiders´ rudimentary tools have enabled them to set a  technique to develop this beautiful craft, so characteristic of our culture.
When making knives, the handles are worked with the same standards as the ones applied to all braided pieces.
All the silver pieces are assembled under the same criteria and standards.
Only by following a meticulous process, an excellent end product is guaranteed.
The measures are carefully checked to assure that the lines of continuity of the blade and the handle match.
The perfect alignment of the blade and the handle is always intended.
This step is fundamental to make the end piece a high quality handicraft.
The alignment determines how the piece is perceived: aesthetically perfect and proportioned.
Throughout the process, the achievement of the highest quality handicrafts is intended.
An excellent knife not only has to show continuity between its parts but also “bolster balance”, wich provides equilibrium between the
weight of the handle and the blade.

VOCABULARY
Rawhide: Cow´s skin, delicate superior cap immediately under the hair.
Rio de la Plata: Viceroyalty founded in our current territory in 1776 by the spanish conqueros.
Native inhabitants: aborigens tribs wich werw populating our current territory before spanish
conqueros arrival.
Gaucho: Treditional argentinian personaje, dedicated agro tasks. Is a descendant from
aborigens and half-caste.
Leather braider: Craftsman who makes braiding crafts. In spanish “ Sogueria”
Colt leather: horse leather
Tientos: Thin colt leather fibers used for sewing and embroiding.
Awl: Tool used by the leather braider for briding.