60 Things I’ve learned from two decades of Larping and making Leather Armour

1. I could have been so much kinder to my hands.

2. There are better ways to age leather than running over it in a Ford Fiesta.

3. Larpers are the best, most welcoming and loveliest people on Earth.

4. There is such a thing as too much mead.

5. I need a bigger kitchen.

6. Earl Grey is very forgiving.

7. Leather is not forgiving.

8. Art should be seen.

9. I would have made a great blacksmith.

10. I would have made a terrible plumber.

11. Getting leather stain off your hands takes three weeks and 20 hours of scrubbing.

12. Gaffa tape holds the universe together, but we’d be safer it if was held by rivets.

13. There are 2000 shades of brown.

14. Creating a good Oxblood dye is harder than actual alchemy.

15. My skin is at least part wire/part wool now.

16. There are some weird people on the internet.

17. Leather is easier to work with than most ‘film stars’.

18. Someone always thinks things can be gotten cheaper online.

19. Things are not always cheaper online.

20. Exposure appears to be a form of currency, but I can’t seem to find anywhere that takes it.

21. I have a lot of empathy for people who did what I do before electricity, the internet and Earl Grey.

22. I need better light in my kitchen.

23. I hate shiny new armour.

24. I need to get out more.

25. I enjoy being invited to events and panels.

26. I am a low maintenance guest.

27. My contact details are on my website… OK, OK I’ll stop now.

28. Facebook has a lot of experts.

29. Airport security love inspecting my armour, especially if I am very late for my flight.

30. Vulfpeck is the perfect band to make armour too.

31. I’ve signed more NDAs than half of MI6.

32. I wouldn’t do anything else.

33. I often try and work out how I would have done something a hundred years ago.

34. There is nothing better than a good job well done.

35. I take pride in every piece I make.

36. I am always pleased when I see people wearing my designs at events.

37. My 5mm leather armour will stop a claymore.

38. I miss being deep in character and knee deep in the mud.

39. There’s no party like a LARP party.

40. My friends have no idea what I do.

41. I’m sure my friends think that I think I live in Middle Earth.

42. My armour in on your screen more often than I am allowed to tell you.

43. I’ve dyed my hands and arms so often, I think my skin colour is a shade darker than it is.

44. Wire wool is worse than glitter for getting everywhere.

45. I sometimes think I would have made a great rogue.

46. I love it when people show me their own embellishments and personal touches on my kits and designs.

47. There are far too many acronyms and abbreviations in my life… HEMA, SCA, LARP? I often wonder what they all mean (…except not really).

48. SEO sucks – I know we’re supposed to put statements like ‘Black Raven Armoury make the best LARP Armour for re-enactment events and Renn Faires’ into our website, but every time I try and do that, it just sounds contrived.

49. I owe my life to coffee.

50. I do my best work at midnight.

51. If I had a time machine and could go back and tell my teenage self what I do for a living, he’d be really pleased, but sad I wasn’t in Star Wars.

52. There are actually 28 hours in a day. At least that’s what it feels like when I pull all-nighters.

53. Actors are generally smaller in real life… except Gwendoline Christie and Peter Dinklage. They are actually taller and shorter respectfully.

54. I can’t watch shows like Game of Thrones or Vikings without freeze-framing on the outfits and trying to catch the details.

55. There is a secret story behind each and every Black Raven Armour. It could be in the art, it might be the journey behind it, but buy me a pint if you meet me and maybe I’ll share them.

56. You’ll never believe where we get our finest leather from.

57. I don’t even own my own set of armour because I am too busy making it for other people. =(

58. My first real work began 27 years ago with a sheepskin Jacket I found in a flea market.

59. I have begun recording the first of my proper tutorial videos where I’ll teach anyone interested how to make their own exceptional leather armour and accessories.

60. My beard is real.


Author – Neil Campbell.