Creativity takes many forms. I realized that a long time ago. I’ve been able to channel a lot of my creativity in two ways: writing and when I hit a wall with the writing, in creating show leads. Gone are the days of a plain black or white nylon lead.
Lately, I’ve been making a lot of leads for two major reasons. The first is when I sit and stare at the screen with the edits for my second book, I find it’s better to get up and walk away from the part that’s frustrating me and do something where I can actually see immediate results than to continue to fret over why I can’t make a scene work. The second reason is I’m sharing a booth at the Collie Club of America National specialty for the leads and I need to have leads to put in that booth. (If you’re in the LaCrosse, Wisconsin area, stop in during April 3 – 6 to see the creme de la creme of the collie world.)
|A lead made with Canyon Echoes beads|
So, over the last month, more than fifty leads have been made. These leads are made of synthetic leathers, natural leathers (both cowhide and kangaroo), and a combination of kangaroo and sparkly nylon cord. I think I even have a black nylon lead beaded up in the mix. A while ago, someone said that these leads look like jewelry, to which I replied “We dress ourselves up to go in the ring, why not add a little bit of “bling” to our dogs, too.”
|(Ignore the date.) One of the first I did that came out exactly as I wanted it.|
Making the leads has been an interesting learning experience. When I first started, I felt that the more bling, the better. Not so much now. The leads are lighter, less beading, but with enough bling and pop to catch the light and sparkle. I’ve found an artisan in Arvada, Colorado (Canyon Echoes Artisan Beads) who makes the most exquisite glass beads I’ve seen. For those beads, I will only put them on a hand-braided kangaroo leather lead. The first few leads I made of the ‘roo and the cowhide didn’t have a strength core of sinew running through the middle. I learned the hard way that if a dog makes a sudden lunge on those leads, no matter how strong ‘roo is, it will snap. I had to remake a few. Back braiding the lead for the snap and the handle took a little bit of time to master. Anchoring the beads was another learning experience, because the leads are braided all the way through before I put the beads on them. (Doing this has reduced the amount of stretching under the beads.)
Just like any craft, though, the more leads I have created, the more I master the art. And, with that being said, I’m back to finishing the edits on the second book. I want to be able to send that edited work back to my editor at The Wild Rose Press before I leave for the Collie Nationals, so that’s one less thing I have to worry about there. I have 17 dogs to show over four days and I know that will pretty much take up every waking hour while I’m in LaCrosse.