What Was It Like Getting Started Learning A New Craft? 3 Things To Consider

What Was It Like Getting Started Learning A New Craft? 3 Things To Consider, thisisgraeme, Graeme Smith, Leatherwork

Starting a craft – what was my mindset before I started?

If you’d asked me five years ago whether I would be able to produce beautiful handmade leather MacBook sleeves, journal covers and wallets I would have laughed.

My background is teaching, but not anything technical or hands-on. So I know which end of the hammer to hold but I’ve never been particularly skilled at manual tasks.

I’ve had some success building simple things, but never to what I would consider a high level of quality or success.

I got interested in leatherwork because I wanted to own a nice leather wallet and I couldn’t justify spending several hundred dollars to get one.

Solve your own problems

That was the problem I was trying to solve. A classic case of scratching my own itch.

Well… I’ve probably spent a lot more than that now. But now, nearly five years on, I can make you a hand cut, hand stitched, hand finished wallet that would possibly out-live you. A heritage product, in other words.

Here’s a picture of my current wallet. It’s looking a bit beat up now, but in the leatherwork world that’s what we call ‘patina”.

And when you’re making heritage products like this, they just look better and actually get better with age.

Teach others

And because I’m a teacher by trade, I know how to teach others to do the same.

It’s funny because I’ve resisted this part of it… the teaching part… for a long time. But the truth is that its really just a natural progression.

There are better leatherwork craftsmen and women out there. But there is no one with my unique skillset. And this includes being able to communicate the ideas and techniques to learn leatherwork.

But when I started, I had no real preconceived ideas of what I was setting out to do. Certainly not that others would come to see me as some kind of an expert.

All that I knew what that:

  • I was spending too much time in front of a computer
  • I wanted to work with my hands
  • I loved to make and build in the real world of atoms

The first couple of things I stitched together were so basic… so rudimentary that it’s kind of embarrassing now.

I had no one to teach me so I bought books and read online. I watched a few YouTube videos. And I started buying tools.

Just start experimenting

But mainly, I just started experimenting.

It was a unique process of finding problems and then solving them. But not abstract problems that existed in my head. These were practical problems and the leather, the needles and the knife would give me feedback in real time.

I made a lot of mistakes and I still do.

But along the way I documented what I was doing. A few years later I had more than 10,000 followers on Instagram.

This still amazes me and I’m very grateful. Now I’m shifting my focus slightly to include teaching others what I’ve taught myself and learned along the way.

Hopefully, this means I can speed up the journey for a few people. And provide the guidance that I wish I had when I was starting out.

How To Make Cool Stuff – 50 Minute Craftsmanship Masterclass & eBook

Why You Need to Have a Hobby - Morning Brew with Hunter Drew Episode 50 Graeme Smith

Embrace the Way of the Craftsman

Do you remember what it was like to hang out in your grandfather’s workshop? Do you want to know how to literally MAKE meaning in your life and the lives of others? Do you want to get in touch with the idea of doing a job well for its own sake?

Making, building and creating ARE thinking and you can learn to do it. You can learn a craft and even make the nice things that you want to have. Embrace the Way of the Craftsman and discover how today.

NEW – How To Make Cool Stuff now comes bundled with FREE 50 Minute Masterclass

  • As well as this ebook and some other freebies, you’ll get my 50-minute masterclass – Exploring Craft and Craftsmanship

Read more here


Click the link below to find out more about How to Make Cool Stuff – Learn new skills, do a good job and embrace the Way of the Craftsman

Learn how you can kickstart your leatherwork hobby with the right tools for cheap

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Make your own cool stuff out of leather

If you’re reading this it’s might be because you imagine what it’s like to make your own cool stuff out of leather. Just think of it… wallets, bags, all kind of accessories… There’s so much cool stuff to make. Here’s what you’re thinking right now:

  • What’s something creative I can do that won’t break the bank?
  • Do I really want to get started with leatherwork?
  • What tools do I need to buy?
  • How do I avoid spending too much money before I know whether I’ll like it?

Pay what you want for this short guide and I’ll answer all your questions. Read more here and check out SMITH BROS on Instagram.


Click the link below to find out more about Smith Bros Leatherwork Quickstart Tools Guide

Using Medical Scalpels for Craft and Leatherwork

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Because an insanely sharp knife doesn’t have to break the bank

Everyone has their own idea about what to use for cutting leather and other materials. But we can all agree on one thing – a craftsman needs a good blade. Whether you’re starting out or not there is nothing worse than blunt tools.

  • Are you tired of sharpening blades?
  • Are you sick of snapping the tips off Exacto knives?
  • Have you been wondering what to get to replace that rusty Stanley knife?

Pay what you want for this short guide to using medical scalpels for craft and leatherwork. Read more here


Click the link below to find out more about Using Medical Scalpels for Craft and Leatherwork

Follow Smith Bros on Instagram

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Follow Smith Bros projects on Instagram

Follow Smith Bros projects step by step on Instagram. I make all kinds of stuff from short, fun Sunday afternoon projects to much longer more involved work.

You’ll be able to see the exact tools and techniques that I use to create cool stuff that I love to make and use.



Author: Graeme Smith

Education, technology, design. Also making cool stuff...

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