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My passion for leather began with having a small-holding on the edge of an industrial area on the Essex / Suffolk border – not your average ‘good life’ setting . But, in a relatively small area, we grew our own food and reared animals.
I became increasingly conscious of the energy that is required to produce food, and more interested in where our food and everyday materials come from. It fundamentally changed my perspective – hopefully for the better.
I particularly hated the thought that any part of an animal slaughtered for food might simply be wasted. I began to experiment with my own sheepskins by attempting the gruelling task of alum tanning (using salt and a lot of elbow grease). My idea was to preserve the skins for use as rugs or basic garments. Unfortunately I had limited success! However, it gave me an appreciation of the skills required to turn otherwise wasted materials into usable products. Here was where I began to learn the traditional skills required to create beautiful, responsible, functional items made for the demands of modern life without ever compromising on quality.
Over time and with much encouragement and support from friends and family – I have been able to turn my passion for creating, into a business. Everyday I am inspired by my natural surroundings of Somersets amazing countryside, and with my dog, I spend many an hour scribbling down design ideas whilst listening to the birds sing in the trees! I hope my inspiration comes through in the natural tones and intrinsic quality of the materials I choose to use to create my unique pieces.
I was hooked. Leather is an incredibly versatile and durable material. It presents a challenge of equal artistic and engineering merit.
My commitment is to continue to employ traditional saddlery skills in the development of contemporary design, using saddle stitch and other hand stitching techniques, keeping heritage craft skills alive and well.
My Studio shop is based at the Black Swan Arts centre in Frome, Somerset. I enjoy meeting my customers here and at various independent markets and am regularly in attendance at the monthly Frome Independent Market. As well as producing a small line of stock items I regularly take commissions and am a maker in residence at the Malt House Collective in Stroud, Gloucestershire.