What is the Cuoio Collection from Florence Italy?

Cuoio Collection from PierotucciIt seems almost impossible that the same supple leather that is used to make leather jackets and gloves can be applied to create rigid boxes for holding pens, business cards, cigars and reading glasses.  But using the antique traditions of the Cuoio Collection that have been passed down from father to son for generations, skilled artisans can create a hard sided box like a piece of art from cuoio leather. This is a tradition which can easily be dated back to Caterina de Medici  when she apparently  made these leather boxes “all the rage” in the 1500’s in Paris when she included them in her trousseau.

These boxes are examples of  beauty and skilled craftsmanship,  evident in the simple lines, the seamless appearance and the smooth texture of the leather.  Perhaps the most stunning aspect of these uniquely formed leather goods is that they are produced in exactly the same manner as they were over 50 years ago – no high tech, no fancy computers and no synthetic material or colors. Though some would be apt to mix the work of “pelleteria” – that is the cutting, assembling and sewing of leather bags, wallets and belts with that of “cuoio sagomato” – they would most certainly be making a gross error. The raw material may be the same – but the similarities definitely stop there.

shoe-lasts for molding wet leather

+ The unfinished leather is cut to the predetermined size and is then soaked in water.

+ Then one edge of the leather will be thinned out so as to make a cleaner seal where the sides lap over on the final product.

+ Depending on the size and shape of the final product, the wet leather is then molded to a wooden form which is commonly called a “last” and tacked on with small nails or tied so that the leather stays in place.

What is a last?  It is a shoemaker’s model for shaping or repairing a shoe or boot.  But not only a shoemaker, it can be a model for shaping or repairing any type of leather article.

attaching the leather to the last+ The leather is folded and smoothed over the form to make a snug fit and then the edges are glued together with a special glue mixed into a starch paste.

+ Once the leather is formed to the molds they are baked at low temps until thoroughly dried.

+ The now formed leather will be cooled and then the seals where they were glued together are washed to remove any excess glue. Any left over glue will alter the final color of the product.

antique-leather-tools for adding color+ Then the ropes are untied or the tacs are taken out and the dried leather is carefully pulled from the form. Excess leather is cut off at this time and now is the time when defining curves are added.

+ The leather case is now painted with the appropriate color. It is then smoothed with a heated roller and finished with a buffer until it shines.

+ The edges will then be sealed and the exterior of the object is painted and embossed with the Pierotucci name.



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