The panels were created on a sheet of mylar that kept everything dimensionally stable and allowed me to sand easily. To create the effect first made mostly random base and sanded until smooth from both sides, occasionally brushing on the very dilute PVA and letting it dry, occasionally laying on another thin piece of leather. Then laid-on the cut out shapes and sanded some more, mostly from behind, finishing off lightly from the front so the whole panel is smooth.
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Paul demonstrated this technique at the Guild of Book Workers Standards of Excellence Seminar in Portland, OR (2004). Download the handout for that demonstration here, or go to Paul's website for a more extensive tutorial.