Why did I get into leatherwork?

There’s a bunch of reasons why I got into leatherwork. I’ve talked about them a bit already. But they’re worth exploring further.

Reason 1: I wanted a nice leather wallet but I thought they were too expensive

I wrote about this here. When I started looking into leather wallets, I fell down a rabbit hole. I was surprised at how much it costs for high quality leather goods.

I’m not talking about the paper thin mostly plastic-leather wallet your aunty bought you from the surf shop. That might be a step up from the velcro piece of crap you were using for years beforehand.

But we’re talking hand cut, hand stitched and hand finished… You have to pay for that kind of quality.

Reason 2: I was looking for a distraction from a stressful job

At the time, I was finding that the work I was doing was incredibly stressful. I knew that I was probably going to have to close the business I had spent 10 years building and I also knew that, outside of my family and the business I actually didn’t have any other interests.

I also knew that somewhere… back in what seemed like my distant past I had other interests and hobbies.

I needed a distraction. It sounds weird to say it, but I needed to allow myself the luxury of having interests other than the immediate concerns of family and work.

And so I got into leatherwork. It was one of two things that I did at the time in the interests of my mental health. The other was joining a martial arts gym.

Reason 3: I wanted to spend less time looking at screens

My work in education meant that I spend a lot of time looking at screens. Computer screens mainly but also phone screens.

And to make matters work, any downtime I had was also often looking at screens. Mindlessly scrolling Facebook for example. Or watching movies or Netflix.

It was toxic and I knew it. So starting a hobby where I had to use my hands meant that I was looking at what I was making rather than looking at a screen. But that was only part of the appeal.

I was also spending a lot of time sitting down. Sitting at a desk. Sitting in a car. Sometimes sitting in a plane.

With the leatherwork, I could stand up and do it. I could clamp my leatherwork to a table or bench and stand up and work if I wanted to.

That was a bonus.

Reason 4: I wanted a new hobby and to develop some new practical skills

My education work was often inside my own head. I don’t mind this normally. But there’s a limit to what’s healthy.

Because a lot of the teaching and learning happened online I was spending more and more time on my computer.

I actually felt guilty allowing myself the time… the luxury of doing something that was outside of work. But more than that I wanted to develop some new skills that were physical.

In other words I wanted to feel like I was doing something practical and learning some real skills in the real world of atoms.

Reason 5: I wanted to make something with my hands

My grandfather was a master builder, a craftsman. My Dad is the same. It wasn’t his career, but building and making stuff has been his passion.

Getting into something like leatherwork made me feel like I was stepping into their shoes in my own way.

My grandfather and my Dad worked with wood. And obviously leather is different, but I felt I could relate to their work ethic… to the craftsmanship – the idea of doing a job well, for it’s own sake

So there you go. Five different, but related reasons why I got into leatherwork.

Anything you can relate to? If yes, join me…!

Author: Graeme Smith

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

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