friday 6th may 2022

elvis has left the building


a number of commissions have been delivered and collected from the workshop this week, including the large, black saddlebag. In fact, while out shopping, wearing her own, cathy bumped into the recipient, also wearing hers!


the spring green satchel has been picked up, and was really appreciated; happily, the slightly new shade was loved even more than the original it replaced. 


the tiny toldbol bag in unfinished tooling leather has been delivered in time for the customer's trip to portugal. it was sprayed in silver, and designed with experimental, simple, quick-release catch fittings. the result? "Big E" - a small but mighty piece of holiday bling.


a replica pair of opera bags are the next commissioned items on the workshop bench for this week ahead. 


it's heptonstall repair again this saturday, 10am - 1pm, held at the school.


there is another jumble sale on sunday 15th june at hope baptist church, hebden bridge, 12 midday – 3pm, fundraising in aid of ukrainian relief.


upcoming workshops include:

saturday 7th may, morning   brooklyn studios         taster session

friday 13th may                     craft house, burnley   belt and hip flask

saturday 14th may                sheffield museums     key fobs

21st and 22nd may               creative with nature    backpack

saturday 28th may                salts mill, saltaire        tool roll



friday 29th april 2022

new to you


it's been a busy week in the workshop with replicas, replacements, repairs and new commissions:


one of our brooklyn studio students made a replica of her mother's leather opera bag. she made hers with a tan outer and a rich, dark purple gusset. it has been so admired recently, that she has now commissioned cathy to make one for her daughter and another for a friend.


some years ago, one customer had cathy make a satchel in a particularly unusual dark green. when it was unfortunately stolen from her van, her father asked cathy to make a replacement. that particular green though has been a bit tricky to source and replace.


one scottish customer, bequeathed a large, leather, working waistcoat, asked cathy to adjust it to fit him better. he is intending to use it under his fisherman's jacket when out on his trips on the lochs.


a large, black saddlebag commission has been completed and is now ready to be collected.

a brother and sister came to the workshop to celebrate his 40th birthday: she made a journal cover, and he celebrated by making a belt pouch for his keys...for his train!


today we have a student over from the wirral, making her boxer dog, ernie, and new collar and lead.


there is a jumble sale this sunday at hope baptist church, hebden bridge, 12 midday – 3pm, fundraising in aid of ukrainian relief.


upcoming workshops include:

saturday 30th april     salts mill, saltaire       tote bag

sunday 1st may         creative with nature    roll

friday 13th may          craft house, burnley   belt and hip flask

saturday 14th may     sheffield museums     key fobs

21st and 22nd may    creative with nature    backpack

saturday 28th may     salts mill, saltaire        tool roll




friday 8th april 2022

brave soles


it's been wall-to-wall workshops all this week with students confidently taking on increasingly complex projects: last friday we had a father-daughter combination in the workshop making a backpack and tool roll/pencil case; at the king street studios, lancaster on sunday, a small, intimate group made aprons, including one black apron for gardening, and a yellow one for print-making; a semi-retired husband and wife couple redeemed their ce leather goods christmas voucher to each other by making his and hers belts.


brooklyn studio class projects continue to come along nicely: this week, the adventurous slipper making has now lined them with soft pigskin, and is ready to attach ankle straps and sew the uppers to the soles.


this week has also brought the chance to be alongside some skilled artisans and craftspeople - including a blacksmith, a sculptor and an avian vet.


upcoming workshops are:

16th april, artworks, halifax, aprons

24th april, craft house, bingley, tool roll


we have a poorly pup this week: miss jupiter is seeing the vet about her upset tummy as we speak.



friday 1st april 2022


workshop season


workshop season is going especially well at the moment: at the whitaker last week we made black, pigskin leather aprons (featured); a husband and wife made leather candle holders on saturday; at brooklyn studios monday class the slippers continued to come along nicely to the next stage. there was an ipad case, and small saddle bag with cute button keyring in matching purple leather.


cathy herself is working on a saddle bag, and has a new commission for another tiny one in silver leather. she is currently researching what her materials options are. she is also restoring a friend's father's wallet, using linen thread for the thonging.


the following workshops are coming up:

3 april      king street studios, lancaster     aprons

6 april      artworks, halifax                         aprons

24 april    craft house, bingley                    tool roll

30 april    salts, mill, saltaire                       tote bag



friday 25th march

action! distraction


there is plenty to do in the workshop including starting a lovely order for a leather obi belt (for a japanese kimono), but what with the distractions of the bright daffodils, brooklyn studios' twig-wielding nesting jackdaws, the nourishing new intensity of the sun's warmth, the excitement of the Happy Valley film crew's presence in hebden, and a special request to repair an unusual item... we don't seem to be able to focus much ;-)


hopefully this weekend's courses will bring some clarity:

saturday candle-holder making at brooklyn studios; sunday aprons at the whitaker.



friday 18th march 2022

tell it like it is


this week cathy has received a craft courses students' choice award: the gold certificate of excellence is awarded in recognition of excellent student reviews.


so what have students said?



there are interesting tools and techniques available to use and practice with; cathy's courses offer a great introduction to working with leather in a hands-on, creative workshop; cathy herself, in addition to being knowledgeable and talented, is also supportive, patient and kind; the courses are relaxed, fun and the final product is very professional; our four-legged welcoming committee, Jess and Jupiter, also got a special mention.


today's featured image is the makings of one student's phone case.



last saturday was the heptonstall repair cafe, and the following sunday cathy and a student friend made a group in rawtenstall making leather candle holders with the ukrainian flag for a candlelit vigil of solidarity for peace, held at the cenotaph in whitworth memorial gardens.




friday 11th march 2021


roots n shoots


creeping towards the spring equinox, we are aware of the lengthening and intensifying daylight. the first shoots are well established, with snowdrop and crocus bulbs having brought early colour; the daffodils are getting closer to showing their happy faces. this morning, we spotted four herons rummaging around the forest floor for their lofty nesting materials.  all this budding, bursting and nest-building is bringing fresh hope too.


through one-to-one classes, cathy is supporting the student who is making slippers, and has been very much enjoying the memories of her shoemaking days. it has caused her to reflect on how much those early roots with John Lobb Bootmaker have informed so much of her subsequent work - the preparation of leather, the finishing of edges, but most importantly, the taking of time, paying attention to the thorough completion of one creative stage before moving on to the next. It is fifteen years since cathy's last pair of shoes, and some time since she has coached another one-to-one, passing these wonderful skills of her trade on.


it's heptonstall repair cafe this weekend.


upcoming courses are:

19th and 20th march, tiny satchel at creative with nature

aprons at the whitaker on 27th march.



friday 4th march 2022


r & r - returnings and restorations 


there has been plenty of variety this week - students have been making all sorts, including aprons, dog collars and leads, satchels and tote bags (featured). one long-term student is even experimenting making some slippers. a good proportion have been returning students for their second or third times.


cathy herself has been providing some straps for vintage car picnic baskets. there are a few items awaiting restoration and repair, including wallets and satchels. 


we have been in contact with some great, new venues and are looking forward to letting you know of those workshops dates later in the year.


upcoming workshops and repair cafes include:

19th & 20th march, tiny satchel at creative with nature

27th march, aprons, the whitaker, rossendale


12th march heptonstall repair cafe


we'll look forward to seeing you at some of the above.




friday 11th february 2022


loving restoration


this week's project has been restoring a precious, fifty-year old thank-you gift: our client brought along her beloved attache case to one of the heptonstall repair cafes, leaving it with cathy to fix. she had been given the box while working in the late 1960s as a diabetes nurse. the box has a wooden frame, a sectioned, leather interior and was covered in grain-embossed paper. cathy spent a lot of time perfecting the leather pattern, hand-stitching where possible and machine-stitching the finer areas. It has now been beautifully restored with smooth, luxurious, red, nappa lambskin leather. the hinge, weight and clasp of the box are now wonderfully cohesive, and it is  satisfyingly pleasing to open and snap shut. it has been given more than a new lease of life.


come and see cathy at heptonstall repair cafe this saturday between 10am and 1pm. bring your repairs! 


aprons workshops at creative with nature on saturday 19th february, and salts mill on 26th feb; tote bag at the craft house, bingley on sunday 20th feb.



friday 4th february 2022


buckle up


we're in the thick of workshop season now, and everyone is having fun: at salts mill, a mother and daughter made clutch bags, one other student had previously attended the dog collar course at the craft house, bingley; a husband and wife pair made dog collars for their beloved mable and molly; one of our monday brooklyn studios students is making a bag with the unusual bird buckle featured here.


upcoming courses included apron-making at creative with nature on 19th february and tote bags at the craft house, bingley on the 20th february.  


cathy made a trip to pontefract this week visiting a closing workshop - and came away with a useful lever press and template leather knives for cutting shapes. more lovely kit!


you will find cathy at heptonstall repair cafe on 12th february 2022. see you there with your items for repair.  



friday 28th january 2022


in the belly


it's been one of those steady-away kind of weeks: brooklyn studios monday courses have run as smoothly as ever. our regular students are often joined these days by new ones bearing their gift vouchers. one such student from york produced a black, pigskin leather apron with his voucher. his profession in stained glass meant he designed his apron shiny-side-out so that tiny shards of glass wouldn't stick in the suede side. 


one new customer has been in the workshop making some attractive, leather labels embossed with his initials for his up-cycled furniture.


cathy and charlotte from the stitch society have a lovely collaborative commission to design and make sheepskin gillets - options being considered are merino, tuscana and shearling sheepskins.


while cathy and her other students continue with their regular projects such as belts, bags and dog collars, and the calendar is full with leather courses throughout the year at venues around the region (including new dates at the craft house, bingley), there remains a sense of making space for other new beginnings; feeling the quickening of the earth's hidden potential of imbolc, eagerly awaiting the return of snowdrops, spring bulbs and the lambing season.



friday 21st january 2021

tingley bingley


workshops have been particularly thrilling this week - the first of the craft house ones in bingley kicked off with dog collars and leads. that group of four students enjoyed each other's creative company so much that they agreed to arrange another event at the same venue in a month-or-two's time - as with a salts mill tool roll group who have already rescheduled their next apron course for this saturday, 22nd january at brooklyn studios. this week, brooklyn studio students have been making a ruby red leather dog collar (for ruby the lurcher), a satchel, a leather belt in bitter chocolate brown, and an envelope clutch bags in two different leathers (oiled and diamond-crissed-crossed-embossed motorbike-seat leather). 


cathy also took a trip to j wood leathers ltd in keighley to source leather for belts and straps. while she was there, she also came across the huge hide of a highland cow - almost the size of a woolly mammoth!




friday 14th january 2022


blessing or blight?


week one of our border collie puppy's company has been 'interesting':


all week, students have found that their leather work projects - laptop bag, silver saddlebag, a coiners purse, and a fancy pair of slippers -  suddenly paled into insignificance compared with the delightful distraction of the youthful, playful, excited yipping of 'jupiter'. who knew that the edges of so many workshop items - door frames... breeze blocks...metal filing cabinets... would prove so unexpectedly fascinating and chewy?!


for the time being, cathy's own leatherwork projects  - new belt/old buckle, and the restoration of a family heirloom writing box -  may also take 'a little longer than expected'.


now that you've clocked miss jupes sporting her new, dinky leather collar...good luck with your own tasks!


upcoming workshops include three 1:1s at brooklyn studios before the end of the month, plus:


16th january at the craft house, bingley

29th january at salts mill, saltaire.



friday 7th january 2022


never underestimate the warmth of a wet nose


"six, small puppy collars

with six little name tags:







six beautiful souls:

three border collie girls

three border collie boys;

five brown-and-white

one black-and-white.

heaps of unconditional love.

'did someone say ball?'


from now on, very, very suspicious."



heptonstall repair cafe is on again tomorrow. 10am - 1pm at the school. bring along your beloved items that need a little extra tlc.


come and make your own dog collar at our bingley workshop at the craft house, 16th january, 10am-4pm.


our envelope clutch bag workshop at salts mill, saltaire is saturday 29th january 2022, 10:30am-4:30pm




tuesday 21st december 2021


stand still ... at the turning point



join us at 4pm GMT this afternoon as we pause ...




... to allow a moment's rest, cradled in the loving darkness of the longest night ...




this week's makings have included a laptop bag with matching charging case and card holder, a dark-blue wallet, and belt ...




and lastly, at this solstice turning point ... a candle holder, readying us for the return of life-giving light, spilling slowly back, minute-by-minute, awakening our belief and hope.




friday 17th december 2021


humungus workload


busier than Santa's elves, we've been!


this week, the present-making benches have seen a wine carrier, satchel bag and matching purse, leather tags for christmas presents, thong bracelets, and an iPad case.


this week's unusual projects have been working with fleecy sheepskins to make two cosy, fluff-on-the-inside gilets, and under-saddle numnahs for a cavalry regiment.


there is a 1:1 student in the workshop today making a belt. this coming weekend's course is candle wreath-making at brooklyn studios.


as we look to the new year, in addition to our regular monday workshop courses, here is a list of our 2022 courses:


15 Jan                Dog Collar             Brooklyn Studios

16 Jan                Dog Collar             The Craft House, Bingley

29 Jan                Clutch Bag            Salts Mill


  6 Feb               Tote Bag                King Street Studios

19 Feb               Apron                     Creative With Nature

20 Feb               Apron                     Salts Mill

26 Feb               Apron                     Salts Mill


 4 March            Apron                     The Craft House, Bingley

 6 March            Tool Roll                 King Street Studios  

19&20 March     Tiny Satchel          Creative With Nature

27 March            Apron                    Whitaker Museum


 3 April               Man Bag                King Street Studios    

24 April              Tool Roll                The Craft House, Bingley

30 April              Tote Bag                Salts Mill   


  1 May               Tool Roll                Creative With Nature

13 May               Belt and Hip Flask The Craft House, Bingley

21&22 May         Back Pack            Creative With Nature

28 May               Tool Roll                Salts Mill


4&5 June            Traveller's Bag     Creative With Nature


9&10 July           Tote Bag               Creative With Nature

30 July                Tool Roll               Salts Mill


9&10 Sept           Apron/Tool Roll    Creative With Nature


16 Oct                Clutch Bag           Creative With Nature

29 Oct                Man Bag              Salts Mill


12 Nov               Hip Flask             Creative With Nature

13 Nov               Belt                      Creative With Nature     

26 Nov               Decorations         Salts Mill


10 Dec               Candle Wreath    Salts Mill


we'll look forward to seeing you at some of those courses. 



tuesday 7th december 2021


lights: candles. action!


it's been a busy week of festive workshops, christmas products and creative activities:


cathy ran a candle and wreath-making workshop at the artworks, halifax; open studios in hebden bridge and the whitaker museum in rossendale restocked with cathy's cute leather reindeer, bows and hearts; christmas commission making is underway with a belt and a wine carrier being the focus this week.


we're bracing ourselves for more wintry weather later today. hopefully, storm barra will blow on by without too much unwelcome action.




friday 3rd december


braver... stronger... smarter...


despite storm arwen throwing her best at us last weekend, our creative with nature students produced festive candle holders and wreaths in two, half-day workshops with neither electricity nor heating. some students had battled through uprooted trees to reach the workshop, others, without any means of communication, were not sure what adventures the journey home would hold.


you will have the chance to buy some of cathy's cute reindeer, heart bows and star leather christmas decorations this saturday, 10am - 4pm,  when brooklyn studios takes part in hebden open studios again.


weekly workshop students are busy working on a laptop bag, satchels and matching coiners purse.