Sting Ray Leather

28 May 2006

Last year I came home with a piece of sting ray leather, black with whitish imbedded grains down the center.

My collaborator, Grace A. Meacham, fell in love with the piece and wants to make a leather jacket with it. It is a small piece, about 22″ long by 6″ at the widest part. It is irregular in width with a narrow waist about 1/3 of the way from one end. Near the white part it is very thick and stiff.
We have been working on this for a while and my task was to get some silk to go with the sting ray, to make the rest of the outfit—such as a skirt or pants.
I am trying a stitched shibori pattern that reminds me of the white grains in the center of the leather. I chose two silks, light weight (because that is what I mostly have) both doupioni shantungs. I tried the stitching both on the bias and on the grain. The only sample I’ve ever seen was done on the bias. I dyed them with an acid dye that gives a true black on silk. Here is the first sample with my hand for scale.

Both the bias and straight grain sample were successful in resisting and I like the pattern. The dye did not penetrate evenly around the stitching so there are lighter rays emenating from the white spots–a little distracting. Also the quality of the black is an issue, it has to go with the black leather that will be the bulk of the jacket.


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