Nowadays, the working techniques used are essentially the same from the past, but naturally updated in some aspects of the procedure with time and according to the working requirements, fashion and price.
The creation of the picture is the most important and difficult phase of the work. The design is then traced onto tracing paper and we put this paper on the piece of leather. Before we start transferring, we have to moist the leather with a sponge. We transfer the design carving the leather with a stylus, keeping it moist because our marks will be easier to make on wet leather and they will remain when it is dry.
Once we have transferred the design, we start to carve properly on the leather (always moist) following the desired technique. Here, briefly, are some of these techniques:
Incision: This is achieved by using a swivel knife to make a groove, which can be widened using a stylus.
Modelling: This is a relief achieved by pressing the leather with a spatula and, although it does not go through the surface, it creates a range of shallow grooves. Thick leather works best with this technique.
Embossing: This is the best known leatherwork technique we use in our production process. The relief is deeper than the thickness of the leather, so not only the smooth part is worked, but also the back, pushing upwards with a ballpoint stylus until the desired relief is obtained.
Gophering: This is actually a common task in a number of techniques used to supplement main ornamental work, and so not really a technique in itself. It is carried out using bevellers or iron stamps with small geometric engravings, in relief or recess, which when hit on the opposite side leave a shallow mark in the leather which decorates smooth surfaces.
Mosaic: This is a decorative technique using small fragments from different leather skins in a range of sizes and colours, used to give the desired shape to the design in question, usually in conjunction with the classic technique of Roman mosaic.
Colouring: Since the tone of most leather is very light, they are often coloured to make them more decorative, either entirely in monochrome or in polychrome with different colours that enhance its beauty. These have traditionally been obtained from chemicals such as iron sulfate, potash, caustic soda, picric acid or walnut stain to make the dye, although nowadays the latest alcoholic dyes, acrylic paint and oil paints are also used.
Metallization: In “Guadamecies”, the main characteristic and beauty lies in the metallization of the surface, once it has been treated with silver or gold leaf, which remains indelibly attached to the smooth side of the leather using a special substance known as Mixtion. The leather is left to dry out, and after a few hours, it has reached the stage known as 'bite'. Then the leather is polished, and the varnish, oil paints or wax are applied over the metal to obtain the patina finish.