Friday, November 15, 2013

Yeah, I know...

I really owe an explanation for my long absence.

It's coming.  2013 has been a very long year. So was 2012.

2014 is going to rock.  Seriously.

I'll tell you about it as soon as I can wrap my brain around it and formulate something read-worthy.

xo Cam

Leather Gallery

Welcome to my tooled leather gallery!

Camille McClelland
aka. WonderCam
aka. Leather Whisperer

This is not a complete gallery of my work, but the most complete collection in one place.

Enjoy and Happy Tooling!

xoxo Cam

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


"When I was a kid..."

We all have at least one story of when we felt bullied. 

I remember one time in Sunday School class there were not enough chairs.  A girl I looked up to suggested to the class that I could sit in one of the small baby chairs.  It hurt my feels enough that I've never forgotten about it, and yet, I know she wasn't intentionally trying to be mean.  If anyone else had said it then it probably would not have bothered me.

I've been thinking about the power that comes with popularity.  The power to sway opinions that can make or break someone.  I remember being so afraid of this one girl in high school.  Not that she was mean..  Not that I ever had a conversation with her.  ever.  She seemed nice enough.  She was confident, and radiant, and so stylish.  Always in the spotlight with her accomplishments.  I don't have a negative thought about her individually.  But she still scared me. 

For me it was the power she held.  What if I did try to talk to her or be her friend and she rejected me?  What if I did or said something embarrassing and she saw it and told someone.  Such power.

This whole post makes me feel so uncomfortable.  Brings back all those high school insecurities.  What if there are people like THAT girl who came across my blog and thought it was stupid for a grown adult woman to still be hung up over stupid high school popularity?

I'm not so afraid anymore.  I have life experience that has taught me who I am, and helped me to understand my own worth.  Sure, I have my self esteem ups and downs...  here is a secret-- everyone does.  Even THAT girl. 

I wonder... does THAT girl even know the power she held?  I would hope not. Power can do nasty things to good people.  Power instantly results in a feeling of superiority.  Are any of us really superior?  Hell yes.  Of course.  Not overall.. but in individual talents and accomplishments there is a resounding yes. 

For example, a lawyer must attain a certain level of education to earn a law degree.  I do not have a law degree.  I have not been to law school.  I have only been to one semester of college.  So... does a lawyer have a superior education in comparison to mine?  Yes.  Does that make the lawyer a superior person to me.  Yeah, no.. I don't think so. Not that I have anything against attorney's and not that I consider myself superior, either.  We all have our strengths and weaknesses.. and that's what makes us unique, and and in many ways, provides an identity to hold onto. 

Where did all this come from?  This video...  I watched it.  Then watched it again.  Then called my kids in and we watched it together, and then talked about how it made us feel.

You should watch it.. right now.  It's from this website: and was created by Shane Koyczan.

I wish I could say that I know Shane personally..  because I am so impressed with him.

There is great responsibility that comes with popularity.  Power.  Power to make or break a person.  Bullying must stop here, where the power exists to stop it.

xo Cam 
(I can't stop watching it)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Handmade U With the Leather Whisperer - April 2013

This is my good friend, and fellow Brave Girl, Rachel .

Rachel is AWESOME.  One of the most authentic, down-to-Earth people I know.  I met Rachel in February 2010 at Brave Girls camp and we have stayed in touch since.  I have visited her in Omaha and she has been back to Idaho.  She's just one of those people you want to know... especially with what I'm about to tell you...

Rachel has started an Art Retreat called "Handmade U,"  college themed "semesters" with intense art instruction. The classes are designed to start at beginner level instruction, but also include intermediate and advances techniques to reach all skill levels.  The setting is intimate and comfortable at the Hilton Garden Inn in Downtown Omaha. 

For the "Fourth Semester" April 4-6, 2013 I will be teaching along with  Dawn Devries Sokol! I am so so excited, and honored to be invited to instruct.  Dawn will be teaching a Doodlicious Tapebound Journaling Class on Friday (seriously, she creates the most amazing journals, I can't wait to learn from her!)

This is Dawn, and a couple of examples of her work:


I will be teaching a class I'm calling, "Introduction to Leather Whispering"  We will go over all the basics of leather tooling, tips and techniques; and the class will include making a cuff, and a set of three tooled leather flowers. I'll provide step by step instructions, along with a written guide.  (My instructions will be WAY easier to follow than an Ikea "some assembly required" guide.)  But first...  I gotta figure out what the cuffs going to look like.

I know you've prob seen enough of my stuff to last you... but here's a few more pictures of some of my favorites.

If you are attending Handmade U...  Tell me what you want, and I'll work with popular demand.  I am so excited!  This is going to be a blast.  Oh, by the way... coincidentally, Rachel coined the nickname "Leather Whisperer" for me.. and it stuck.  :)

Handmade U is selling out fast..  I hope you make it!

xoxo Cam

Friday, December 28, 2012

2013: The Year of ACTION

I recently participated in a couple independent assessments called DISC and CORE.  They are the kind of assessments that measures the individuals strengths and weaknesses. 

The weaknesses part kills me.  As predicted, the assessment rated me very high on the perfectionist scale (clearly, this is not a grammar, spelling, formatting, or punctuation scale), which means having to stare down my flaws...ugh.  Kill me now.

My weaknesses ranged predominantly in:

having to make hard decisions
and...what if people don't like me 

Anyone who knows me at all... knows this is SO accurate.  I would rather wait months, sometimes years, hoping a difficult situation will resolve itself, rather than address the issue head on... especially if the solution involves a hard decision that could result in someone not liking me.  (Egads!  not that!!)

There are so many things I have been procrastinating.  Changes I have needed to make for:so:long, but I was to afraid of the repercussions.  Afraid of hurting people I care about, and afraid of facing my fears.

It's time I stop being such a wimp.  I'm going to confront the hell out of 2013. 

I made a lot of decisions in 2012.  Free-ing, lighten-the-load, push-the-weight-off-my-shoulders, kinds of decisions. I feel so good.  They were not easy decisions to make, but the feeling that comes when I've made a decision I know is the right decision-- that is freedom and self-respect.

But, you know what I figured out in 2012?  It's completely possible to make BIG decisions.... and then go right on living exactly as you always have... without making any changes at all.  Sort of diminishes the whole point, but it's so much easier to not actually do anything. Life still sucks, but it's easier. Do I want an easy, sucky, life?  Yeah, not so much.

Action.  It's time to start DOING all the things I've been talking and thinking about. 

I have been procrastinating long enough...

Now, I am going to make a decision to have a hot long bubble bath....  And Im actually going to do it. 

See ya later,


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Custom Hand-Tooled Leather Cuffs... the latest

This weekend I had a bit of time to catch up on some custom back orders.. I'm still a bit behind, but making headway.  Hey...  Good things come to those who wait, right?

... Or wasn't there something about a squeaky wheel......

Here's what I've been up to.  These are all SOLD custom orders... 


This next bit...  Makes me giddy.   A couple months ago Brave Girls Club asked me to come over and tool a cuff on time lapse.  This four hour+ process was trimmed down to a little over 8 minutes.  Its a bit hard to see the detail, but if you want to know how I do it..... 

I've got moves... 

Love Cam
(Thanks for sticking with me)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Virtual Gallery Walk Day 4

Artistic Inspiration: Then and Now

I have been thinking a lot lately about what inspires my art.  Everything.  Simply everything. 

I must listen to music that speaks to me while creating art.  Calm soothing Norah Jones, Adele, Peggy Lee, Billy Holliday,  Sara Bareilles..

What else. 
1970's color palettes
Original flowers sketched in pencil
Any original handwritten book containing sketches transfers or photographs 

Check out this book I picked up at an antique store:
MaryAnn Caughoan... August 1926.  You inspire me. 

Mixed Media Art inspires me.  I love that there are NO rules and that most mixed media art remains in a perpetual state of incomplete.  Mixed media combines my love for three dimensional design, texture, and two dimensional display art.  The detail in mixed media captivates and draws me in. The combination of old, new and re purposed items combining together to create a unified finished product.

Life experience inspires me.  I love to create art that matched what I feel in my soul.  Sometimes it's a portrait of despair and sometimes a portrait of hope, but mostly it's a portrait of what I know life can be.  It's taken me a long time to get to the place where what I feel on the inside matches what I create on the outside.  It means letting go 100% of expectations, preconceived concepts, comparison, fades and trends.  It means using the colors that really speak most to you.  The textures that inspire you, and leaving the rest.  It's impossible to create what you feel on the inside if you are attempting to impress or duplicate someone else work or style. 

I have a friend who created the most beautiful art.  I love her work.  It's very bright and cheery.  I often find myself picking her color palette, and following her style... and it inevitably leads to feelings of frustration.  I really feel like my soul gets a little put off and angry when it wants to speak and be heard, and I'm expending my energy in the wrong style and color. 

Technique is one thing, style is another.  I love to learn new techniques... but the style must be my own.  I spend a good amount of time in thrift stores going through bins of old rubbish sewing notions, patterns, business ledgers and forms.  Anything that can be used as a tool or supply. 
The tree is made of tissue paper and Mod Podge.

I am inspired by vintage tooled leather.  I'm not particularly fond of the traditional style, but I love to look at tooled leather and discover new techniques, techniques make my hands go crazy with anticipation of getting a hold of tools, using the tools to combine what I've learned with what I know.  Each piece is a journey into unknown territory, always expanding and developing the talent.  I fall more and more in love with leather every time I create.

I created this cuff for a time lapse video.  I am very excited to see how it comes out.  I'll be sure to post a link when it does. 

xoxo Cam

Please check out all the other amazing women involved in this inspirational project.   I feel so privileged to be included with them.