The Beauty of Hand Tooling

Every La Marca handbag is part ‘old’ and part ‘new’ – traditional methods combined with modern design.

It takes many years to master and the techniques are passed down with families. Some of the craftsmen making La Marca handbags are now in their 60s and have worked at tooling leather all their working lives.

Tooling is the art of cutting and chiselling elaborate designs into leather using hand tools (knives, chisels and mallets). In Spanish it’s called “cincelado” or “cincel”.

The leather is lightly dampened with water then pressed onto a metal stencil to provide a basic outline of a design.

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Using a razor sharp knife, the outline is now cut ‘into’ the leather – but not cut through it, which would destroy it.

Next, the craftsmen create shading, depth and detail to the design, using chisels struck with a mallet. It adds a 3-dimensional quality, bringing the flowers to life.

It is truly artisanal – a traditional hand crafted art form that cannot be mechanised.

Other kinds of ‘decorated’ leathers may be stamped, perforated, sprayed or laser cut into patterns  – which is all done by machine.

Hand tooled leather has a particular look, quality and feel which can only be crafted by hand.