My Medicine bag

From original to aged to restored

My leather Medicine bag after 4 and a half years of being worn, immediately after it's first conditioning, the once curled leather fringes now being relaxed and flat, the leather cleaned and smooth.
My Medicine bag. Originally bought to be my Jack Stone bag, everyone kept calling it a Medicine bag, and so I spoke with my spiritual Cree Ancestors, who helped me in turning it into a Medicine bag as well.

I wore it almost daily (just not at work really), from 2019 all the way through to 2023, where over the years of being worn, getting wet, drying out, being rained on, being swam with, it began to get brittle, and the tips of the fringes began wanting to curl up and break off. I came to the conclusion that it was time to condition the leather.

I began hunting for leather balms in England, and found this simple beeswax balm, and WOW did it make a change!

As you can see from the original pic, it went from a bright yellow new leather, to being worn and coloured from years against the skin and in the weather, which was all fine and such. Several years after, the fringes (clearly stretched from their original length) began to curl and get brittle, the tips of some of them even being lost to time. I made several attempts to flatten them in a book, but age would have none of that, and they began to get curly and kinked.

I didn't think to take a photo of the Medicine bag right before conditioning it, but found a picture that I had taken about two months earlier (see pic 2) to show the change. If you zoom in on the pic, you can see the tips growing cracks, and this pic was likely taken after taking the time to try to straighten out the strands for exactly that picture lol. If left, they would get much curlier. And so, we ordered the balm, and gave the leather a good cleaning with water and paper towel, scrubbing it down thoroughly, and left it to dry overnight. The next day (the November 7 listed below), we gave the entire bag a thorough conditioning, rubbing the beeswax deep into the leather, every crease and edge, every surface and strand. And WOW is there a difference. I can almost feel the leather relaxing after years of being hunched over and bent, and the balsam should seal the surface from regular moisture and rain. I get many compliments on this bag, so it would be sad to see it fall apart and crack, and I'm so glad that I took the time to clean and condition the leather for the years to come. Should it need to be replaced down the road, I plan to copy the same pattern, but this one will do us for many years yet, with regular conditioning.

As per the instructions on the back of the balsam, I gave it two applications of the conditioning, with buffing of the surface after each application. I carefully worked it into each individual fringe and over the entire surface and drawstring, and the leather feels so much smoother and more relaxed. I will keep up the conditioning several times a year as per the instructions on the balm, which will hopefully keep my Medicine bag in good condition for a long time to come.

Bought February 16, 2019, reconditioned November 7, 2023
My Medicine bag after first being purchased, with bright yellow leather, shorter unstretched fringes, and with several religious items seen above it.The Medicine bag several months prior to being conditioned, showing curling, cracked fringes, creases, and being much darker in general after years of regular wearing.
A closeup of the fringes immediately after the first conditioning, showing them being much straighter and flatter, and the kinks towards the tips relaxed and smooth.The full Medicine bag, with the leather looking a bit cleaner, and all of the fringes smoothed out and straighter.
My Medicine bag being worn after its second conditioning, with the fringes being much smoother and swaying gently to one side, and the rest of Kabutroid's Spiritual wear being worn around it as well.

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