friday 1st july 2022

Open-Studios Time


hebden bridge open studios summer event, from friday 1st July - sunday 3rd, is well underway, with interested visitors already drifting into brooklyn studios workshops.


hebden bridge, famous for its art scene, is a vibrant  upper calder valley town. the public are invited into the workshops of over 80 of its artists and makers who have taken time to curate their personal exhibitions. this year's open studios offers a behind-the-scenes peek at spaces not usually open to the public. there are originals to buy, works in progress to admire, and chances to commission something unique. come hunt the bargains to be found!


catherine edwards (brochure listing 10) and lynda thomas (brochure listing 15) are sharing the space of cathy's workshop, within the broader brooklyn studios group - (venue 10).


cathy is displaying her handmade, luxury leather goods, and showing workshop and course options available to the public.


lynda, artist and print maker, is displaying her lino cuts inspired by local views, and places visited both near and far. there are postcards and hand-made greetings cards also to buy.


browse all the individual artists online, and check out the group studios and listed categories.



friday 24th june 2022


here, there and everywhere


our students' items are travelling far and wide this week:  the slippers have been completed, found to fit perfectly, and have hot-footed it out the door to their fireside in luddendenfoot; after three intense extra days' workshop time, the holiday bag is heading off to a family member in new zealand; the knobbly-bobbly black bag, also for a family member, is being taken to mexico.


cathy has spent the week completing her contribution to the hebden bridge open studios. look out for it next weekend hidden somewhere in one of the town's artisans' shop windows...location number 37. at brooklyn studios that weekend, cathy will be displaying the products and course descriptions for the items you can make on her courses. come along to check those out, and the work of our other studio artists. while here, personalise your own key fob with your initials.


a couple, celebrating a birthday with a day's outing to hebden, had a joyous and jolly session making tool rolls together.


upcoming workshops include an already fully booked session in a month's time at the craft house, bingley.


the next heptonstall repair cafe is on saturday 9th july.



friday 17th june 2022


backpack hack, backpack back


it's been a pleasantly quiet week in the workshop with the regular students attending to their individual projects: one student continues to make items in green leather for her son - document case, book wallet, and now at his latest request, a journal cover for his professorial papers; an extra class was scheduled for the slippers, which are all sewn together now, apart from the heels.


visitors to heptonstall repair cafe brought handbags for new handles, walking boots for back loops, and a last-minute, sequined, almost-damaged-beyond-repair school backpack that needed a clever over-stitching hack to get it back in action. the previously repaired backpack was also returned to its owner.


we've had a mulberry bag in the workshop for restoration (featured). the replacement panels and strap have been treated with gorgeous otter wax, kindly provided by last week's student's online business, tinker and fix.


friday 10th june 2022

for the common good


one student, from the midlands, who has his own online store, tinker and fix - tools and equipment for makers, menders and growers - is with us in the studio at the moment making a leather tool roll, whilst also broadening his own skills. earlier in the week, two friends made aprons, a couple made dog collars, and one student cleverly made a very attractive tourderms traveller's bag... in a single day!


brooklyn monday and thursday classes this week included a red bag, a version of a max mara belt; the second slipper is now almost finished; our most imaginative of students (he of leather motorcycle cover, sofa seat cushion and large laptop bag) has started his latest project - restoring a ceremonial masonic regalia case, inherited from a second world war veteran decorated with the Victoria Cross.


at heptonstall repair cafe this coming weekend, the restored rucksack and thonged purse will be returned. cathy is also talking with todmorden makery about volunteering for their repair cafe, as being involved in this national movement is proving a most enjoyable and worthwhile investment.


the next hebden bridge open studios is 1st - 3rd july. pictured here are cathy's key fobs for brooklyn studios' visitors to personalise with their initials. pick up your guide from brooklyn studios, the town hall and shops of hebden to the 80+ local artists and makers exhibiting their creative work. the week before that weekend,  look out for cathy's images in the windows of over 40 hebden cafes and bars, art galleries and independent shops, taking part in an art trail - for grown ups who like a challenge.



friday 27th may 2022

new to you


1:1s and classes have been well attended throughout this week and weekend:


one student completed a beautiful, red backpack over the two days of a weekend; another from kilkenny in ireland, visiting her daughters locally, made an apron one tuesday, and a tool roll the following day. she is a multi-disciplinary sculptress, spending long hours in her own workshop, so used the japanese style of crossed apron straps with keeper at the back, which relieves the pressure that can be caused by a neck strap (featured photo); the monday class was full, with the first slipper completed and the second one now begun.


the repair cafe movement, although voluntary, has been generating a good number of follow-on restoration projects - a backpack in need of replacement straps, and a satchel requiring a complete refurb. the child's pouffe has now had its red leather central harlequin pattern fixed.


the next heptonstall repair cafe is on saturday 11th june. bring along your beloved and well-loved leather items to be given a new lease of life. 


happily, the jumble sale raised £250, which has been donated to calder community cares 4 ukraine, who are using it towards a meal for guest visitors of local calderdale hosts; a ukrainian band (from todmorden!) will be providing the entertainment to accompany their traditional eastern european meal.



friday 20th may 2022



we've had some brilliant workshops these last few weeks - with over 40 participants making colourful key fobs at Sheffield Museums. it was a great day out for many families - the children especially enjoying the creative activity.


people are becoming more aware that cathy volunteers at heptonstall repair cafe, and last week's session was busy with cathy and harriett repairing bags, a watch strap and a pair of boots. one customer brought his son's leather pouffe. it's in the workshop now awaiting cathy's repair to one of the central red panels.


the opera bag is very much underway (cathy is tackling the tricky corners now), as are the student's slippers, which now have their leather uppers and straps sewn in place (featured). the knife in the photo (repurposed from a transit van coiled spring) and 'kev the skull' are provided by brian at BC Woodworks.


here are three of our recent reviews:

"Thoroughly enjoyed my workshop and love the bag we made. Great teacher and so easy to chat to. So glad she had some spare reading glasses too as I realised I’d left mine at home! Cathy had some great suggestions and clearly has a great eye for detail. I’d love to come back and make something else! Will be recommending the course to all of my creative friends."

claire, may 2022



"Just a quick message to say my family and I really enjoyed our key fob making session this morning at Sheffield.  The tutor was lovely and gave everyone attention and ensured we all made good quality products. Thank you."

tracy, may 2022


"We have both gained some good skills and knowledge from the course and would totally recommend it.

Liz and I both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Liz is really pleased with her art roll and I was very happy getting all my bits to a point where I could finish at home.

Thanks again to you all."


carl, april 2022



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 jan