|I started handmaking leather belts in the mid 1960's.
I grew up not far from Walsall in the west midlands of England, then a thriving leather town with many tanneries, all producing high quality leather using traditional oak bark tanning methods. Generations of craftsmen and women worked in the industry, and at the turn of the 19th to 20th century over a quarter of the population of the town worked in leather, either in the tanneries or in the many, mostly small workshops, producing leather goods.
The town was famed all over the world for the quality of it's leather, and particularly the saddles, bridles, and horse harness made from it.
I still buy from the same company whose door I knocked on as a nervous 15 year old, and asked if I could buy some leather to make some belts and bags. They still supply me with top quality hides tanned in the traditional way, from which I continue to make hard wearing, hand made, leather belts.
All of my leather belts are handmade by me. I cut, carve, stamp, stain and finish each one individually, and, apart from the plain bridle leather belts, no two are the same. All tooled belts using two or more embossing tools in them have a deliberate mistake in their pattern, which is not always easy to find but is always there. A signature.
I used to make a wide range of products which I sold through retail outlets in Wales and the borders; bags, boots, sandals, gunslips, guitar straps,dog collars, etc... Having smaller worshop space now, I concentrate on belts. Guitar straps and dog collars will become available soon.
Since Margaux came into the workshop a few years ago to make her own start in leather work she is developing her own distinctive style, which will also feature from the end of 2014.
Throughout the summer season we can be seen most weeks at Kenmare Country Market (weather permitting !) County Kerry.