Sometime in late 2021, I came across this Reddit thread where a leatherworker-and-new-archer /u/krebkakes had made some keychains as a gift for the people who gave them their first archery lesson. I’m always on the lookout for innovating extras and gifts for archers at tournaments. (Most available options are not that special, and I try to avoid those.)
These look great and I reached out to see if they were interested in making any more of these. Not everybody who makes a craft wants to suddenly start a factory making batches of them for random people on the internet.
We were fortunate that it worked out, and they accepted our commission to make a batch for the JOAD shoot-down segment of the ITAA’s 2022 Indoor State Championship. Every podium finisher in that shoot-down even will receive one.
An innovative part of modern leatherworking that I hadn’t considered before is that leather patterns in the past either needed to be hand-carved, or stamped with metal or wooden stamps. This artist 3-D prints their stamps, so they can rapidly test several ideas on scraps. The target circle stamps only last a handful of stampings before they get warped and need replacing, but that’s not a giant ordeal.
For the the ITAA logo stamp on the reverse of the keychains, the artist was able to create several options, so we could use the one that looks the best in real leather instead of guessing and hoping.
Having proven out the design, the artist is investing in a metal target-circle stamp that will last far longer, and investing the rest in their archery hobby!
These keychains are everything I hoped they would be. They look wonderful, they feel high quality in the hand, and they strike a great balance between modern and traditional that mirrors the whole game of archery itself.
Thank you, /u/krebkakes, for all of your hard work. And thank you for sharing your talent and creativity across many of your skills and hobbies to delight all of us!