The Meditation of Making Belts

Many things to say about making belts, which I can talk about later. Now  however, it is the meditation of making belts. Start with a beautiful clean side of leather; black, dark red, brown or tan. Strong and powerful, and ready to work.  As I am.  

Make a straight line, clean leather without brands, scars, etc.  Begin making the strips, using a tool designed hundreds, if not thousands of years ago, to cut the leather into strip of various widths to fit the buckles. Start the blade, pull the edge toward you and watch the leather divide into a perfect strip, continue walking backwards, pulling the tool, watching the leather part for a strip 7’ long perhaps.  

Step 2 is to bevel the edges of the strips, take off the sharp edge and round it using the same tool used by craftsmen for a hundred generations or more.   All craftsmen, artist, bakers, etc. may have similar meditational work they do.    Using the beveler we start at one end, push along the edges, taking off a small ribbon of the sharp edge, rounding the surface.  We push, and walk and push and walk and push and walk until the end.  Flip over and do the under side, push and walk, and push, and breathe and walk until we flip it over to do the other side, and continue, belt strip, after belt strip, after belt strip.  Each an effort at perfection and efficiency. 

The next step is to blacken the edges it create a beautiful look of colored leather and black edges.  Most magnificent.   And here we put belt after belt in a row on the workbench. With a dauber and black dye ink we coat each belt edge, keeping it off the front surface, but blackening all the edges. We focus in the dauber as it is pulled across the edges, a mechanical meditation, inch after inch, foot after foot, steady and unwavering. Until we are done. 

There is beauty in the meditation of making something by hand. 

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