This excellent early 18th century style shot bag is donated by Darrel Lang. This bag is of a style that would come from a professional leather worker, perhaps a shoemaker or harness maker raising a little extra cash. It is totally hand sewn, each and every piece, using veg. tanned leather, waxed linen thread, and hand dying. The precise hand stitching is itself a decorative element. Darrel finishes each bag with neat’s-foot oil and bee’s wax, giving that rich warm finish. Hand forged iron hardware completes this fine bag.
(Written by: Heinz Ahlers)
Eighteenth century artisans, while experts in their respective trades, were nonetheless known to regularly broaden the scope of their business operations. It’s a practice that’s quite familiar to their 21st century counterparts. One fine addition to the 2016 CLA fundraising auction bears mute testament to the age-old custom of artistic diversification: a straightforward shot bag by Michigan craftsman Darrel Lang.
“When I make a shot bag,” explains Lang, “I try and produce something that a harness maker or cobbler of the colonies might have made on the side to make a little extra money.” Lang’s creations consequently reflect the crisp artistry of early America’s professional leather workers. This handsome shot bag is appropriate for today’s reenactor, but is likewise ready for the demanding conditions of the hunt. “I keep my bags simple in design,” says the artist, “but make sure that construction of the bag will hold up under use in the field and in the woods.”
Lang’s exacting craftsmanship ensures that the fortunate owner of this bag can confidently go afield with a fine piece of art. Deftly crafted from vegetable tanned cow hide, the bag is entirely hand sewn, hand dyed, and then carefully protected with neatsfoot oil and beeswax. The rig is closed with simple brass button, and the bag’s strap is fully adjustable by means of a hand forged iron buckle.
All in all, this shot bag is a well built reflection of Darrel Lang’s no-nonsense creative ethos. “I want people to use them,” he says, “as they would have been used in the 18th century, not just to hang on the wall.”
(Written by: Joshua Shepherd)