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First Edition: Saddlers, Cases and Satchels

August 2, 2010

Leatherpress began in 2005 with the aim of making leather satchels and bags the traditional way. My mission was to create a unique series of bags that were completely handcrafted. Using the finest saddlery leathers each bag was cut, stitched and assembled by hand.

The project began when i first started making my own bags, but soon people asked me to make them special one-off pieces.I didn’t intend to produce many bags, just a few for myself, but the more I studied and practiced i began to explore a tradition that was rich in design, skill and beauty. So I decided to explore different leathers, shapes and discovered how endless the possibilities were. Each commissioned work emerged from hand drawn designs and patterns, and went through numerous hand held processes to produce a truly personal bag.

During this time i began designing my own collection of bags and this journal aims to catalogue some of this work. Its also a way of recording and documenting the design and making process. Equally I wanted to explore and celebrate the work of artisans from previous generations, especially the Victorian era case-makers and saddlers who have shaped the way I think about my work. They were true innovators and helped develop an aesthetic and level of craftsmanship that few people today can emulate.

What fascinated me most were the old work bags, postal satchels, tool and kit bags used by electricians, plumbers and railway workers. They’re an integral part of an industrial working culture that’s now long gone, but the bags have endured longer than their owners and makers. The skills of these makers are also passing away, and sadly even fading from memory. For ‘old trades’ like saddlery and case-making the skills need to be passed on, literally handed-on, to newer generations for it to survive and grow. I’m hoping that this blog will go a little way to helping this fine old tradition continue for a while yet.

A saddler once told me ‘ten days to learn, ten years to master’. He said that’s what he was told as an apprentice: even when you think you know it, the leather will tell you otherwise, and you have to work at it again and again. It’s as much about the process as the result. The relationship between hand, eye and leather takes a long time to develop. It can take years of practice and pain before a row of stitches looks and feels right. With a bit of persistence and hard work the results can be wonderful.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. BlackRain permalink
    January 18, 2012 8:03 pm


  2. leatherpress permalink*
    January 20, 2012 12:47 am

    Thanks so much for your comments….glad you like them. have been a wee bit quiet these past few months but hope to add some more beautiful things as they come out of the hand..thanks for passing by 🙂

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