tues 14th september
birthday workshop joy
last weekend's birthday workshop proved a delightful event: seven friends celebrated together at their host's home by each making a Tourderms travel bag with their chosen colours and buckles. birthday girl provided a delicious lunch mid-way through the very full day, and by six-thirty, five of the complete beginners had completed their bags. the party host and cathy will finish off the remaining two together in the next few weeks. party girl's feedback was sweet:
"thanks so much for yesterday. you were brilliant as usual."
there are two upcoming workshop opportunities for you to make your own traveller's bag:
fri 3rd september 2021
the joyful goodbyes of autumn
this week across from her workshop, cathy captured some wonderful product shots bathed in the subtle, cooling autumn light of the old brooklyn garage. she had been saying goodbye to chris lord, photographer and joiner, who was using temporary space for his bespoke furniture restoration project - building a new church alter from old pews.
lesley, from the store, haworth has recently sold a number of cathy's bags and just this morning collected her latest order: a Toldbol Tiny satchel in unfinished leather - a colour that ages wonderfully characteristically, telling the tales of its use.
we are waiting on the delivery of more leather from abbey england, some of which will be used for our latest etsy orders, the amp cover project, a birthday gift bag, and a matching bag and belt.
this weekend sees an apron-making workshop at creative with nature, todmorden on sunday 10am - 4pm, and a treat mother-and-daughter workshop day for kira of kl falconry on saturday.
sunday 29th august 2021
back to the mill
as the end of the summer draws to a close, the memories of trips to see family and trips to stay with friends begin to fade. thankfully, the nightmares of trips to buy school uniform and shoes are also beginning fade.
having an order book full of nice items to make for autumn requests is contributing to the welcome change of pace: one returning customer has asked for a candle holder for her third (leather) anniversary - personalised with names, wedding date and location; etsy has brought in a glut of wallets, satchels, belts and document case orders; the amp covers project deadline is approaching; cathy has sourced some interesting buckles to use.
the workshop season will continue to be full on right up until the end of the year:
the art works in halifax has added two of cathy's leather candle holder workshop sessions to their pre-christmas offerings from 10am - 12:30pm:
friday 29th october, and saturday 4th december.
king street arts, lancaster, is offering:
a toll-roll making workshop from 10am - 4pm, on sunday 24th october and an apron-making workshop on 14th november.
weds 18th august 2021
cathy's recent recce to the recently refurbished whitaker museum in rossendale proved very enjoyable. the museum, under the curatorship of the Bells husband and wife team, has recently undergone a £2.2m revamp to become one of east lancashire's biggest museums.
the spacious museum and gallery hosts an unusual collection of items - particularly in its cabin of curiosities. they have plenty of room for craft workshops, artist talks, heritage activities and film nights. now stocking cathy's blanket rolls, wallets and backpacks alongside the products of other local artisans, they also have cathy's course proposals to consider for future workshops.
one of today's projects included the personalising of a curiously cute, highland hide shot glass holder.
weds 4th august 2021
it's all about the courses this week.
craft course has been providing a steady stream of students. the introduction to working with leather course is proving particularly popular. one booking is underway right this very moment.
this weekend, on the 7th august, we are hosting a clutch bag making course at salts mill, saltaire - an item that is pleasing to make and beautiful to use.
look out for the flyers for our workshops around the west yorkshire and lancashire areas.
here are the dates of upcoming courses:
salts mill, saltaire
7th august clutch bag
18th-19th september traveller’s bag
9th october tool roll
7th november candle holder
5th december candle holder
brooklyn studios, hebden
mondays, 10am - 12midday and 2pm -4pm
king’s centre, lancaster
17th october apron
14th november candle holder
creative with nature, todmorden
5th september apron
10th september belt
30th september traveller’s bag
27th october candle holder
9th -10th december messenger bag
weds 28th july 2021
gotta love it when a plan comes together! one of our monday students has completed her fish buckle saddle bag project (featured) - just in time for her summer holidays. this week's monday class saw the other students focus on the fine details of their individual creations. one of them has booked a birthday party session later in the year for her sister, who also happens to run the newly restored whitaker museum in rawtenstall, with its natural heritage, social history and art collections. cathy is going to visit it this weekend, and also explore the possibility of offering workshops from that part of lancashire too in addition to the king's centre in lancaster. craft courses is proving such a worthwhile investment with new bookings for taster sessions coming in each week. the next planned workshop course is an envelope clutch bag at salts mill.
we have taken receipt of the leather for emma's bag straps at redmouse design, the a-board for outside the workshop, and the flyers advertising our courses for the rest of the year. look out for those at the hebden bridge town hall and around and about town, and of course on our website.
finally, one customer, getting her birthday and christmas gifts all lined up, has ordered a super 'weathered' hip flask for both sister- and father-in-law, and a london-tan satchel for her mother.
cathy will be having some time away over the summer from 8th - 15th august.
weds 21st july 2021
the beginning of this week - the glorious 19th - has brought a sudden increase in business, as fellow artisans' work expands and students return enthusiastically to the workshop.
we had a full house at monday's workshop with one old student friend showing up to meet the current new ones. he plans to return after the summer to begin his new project, which will be based around a belt buckle made of sterling silver, marked with his own hallmark! another student is designing a new pattern for is unusually-sized laptop bag. there have been several 1:1 classes this week, and through craft courses, a family of four booked a treaty day, each producing two items, including belts, purses and key fobs.
cathy has been asked to make some unusual strap fittings for the stitch society, who are collaborating on a new product launch. emma hutchinson of redmouse design has also commissioned tan and blue, abbey saddlery, bowden leather shoulder straps for her attractive bag products.
as more and more people are people are passing the workshop on a daily basis these days, cathy has just treated herself to a new a-board for the front. look out for our nice new addition!
weds 14th july 2021
open studios last weekend proved successful with lots of visitors passing through the workshop over those three days. brooklyn studios never looked so posh as the workspaces and their resident artisans all had a spruce up for the occasion. cathy picked up a lovely commission as well as some unusual repairs:
years ago a customer bought a large bruno bag with heart-shaped design. having loved it so much, she has commissioned a second one;
a fellow artisan from brooklyn studios needs a shoulder strap replacing on her pretty, mid-blue, suede rucksack; an avid bird spotter has just had his binoculars case repaired with matching stitching to as-good-as-new; a tubular steel chair is being brought in for a repair to its leather arm rests.
in the 1950s, a mother, who had been trained in leather work in the post-war years, made a black travelling bag for her son. when she sadly passed away, the son gave his mother's leather working kit to cathy as her first set of non-shoe-making tools. with some rare items included, the stitch marker and leather clam remain some of cathy's favourite workshop items today. the travelling bag, which over the years has been well used and loved, has been brought to the workshop for cathy to repair ... how sweet it is all these years later to be working on the bag ... using the same original tools.
this week's featured photograph is a student's tool roll in brown embossed cow hide - a course booked through the wonderful craft courses.
weds 7th july 2021
mixed bunch brunch
last weekend's satchel-making workshop had five fab students and was really super. having got along so well on the saturday, we decided to break for brunch provided by yakamama on the sunday. the course finished a little later than expected but it was so worth it for the fun, chat and good food in the middle of our creative session.
one of the monday workshop students, who loves a practical challenge, has almost completed the sofa cushions he has been working on for a while. the only thing left to do now is the polishing and waxing, and then he is moving on to his new project - attaching some buckles and leather straps to his motorcycle cover.
cathy has finished the tourderms traveller's bag order this week. the customer has just been in to check it out before returning to collect it tomorrow. two notable (and colourful) orders of this week include a forest-green work satchel in abbey's bowdon sedgwick leather for the wife of a customer, plus a burgundy document case etsy order.
remember the open studios this weekend - come and visit us!
weds 30th june 2021
bits n bobs
additions, adjustments and specialist jobs have been the feature of this week:
sewing a valkyrie riders cruiser club patch onto a motorcyclist's jacket proved a slightly trickier job than expected due to the bulkiness of the leather and the body armour. but the owner has gone away very happy and looking forward to his next ride out tomorrow.
we had a few repairs and additions, including adding extra handles onto a bag, and a cross-body backpack strap.
our tourderms traveller's bag is proving really popular - for men and women alike - this week's order being for the girlfriend of a local customer (ssh! we're not sure she knows yet).
the lovely red belt featured has also now been finished and is ready to be collected.
the next upcoming courses are:
satchel course, creative with nature, 3rd and 4th of july;
envelope clutch bag course, stitch society, salts mill, 31st of july.
weds 23rd june 2021
roll with it
workshop classes this week have been particularly enjoyable - the most recent, held at creative with nature in todmorden, had four students of a similar level that worked happily and harmoniously together on their tool rolls. two of the students were celebrating their third wedding anniversary (leather, obvs!). his n hers tool rolls featured here.
at this week's monday's workshop, one student's work included a replica of her mother's evening bag, another's was a broad, rich chestnut dog collar for misty, his newly acquired, smooth-coated, rescue greyhound, and a third made a black, pigskin apron.
the next CWN satchel course is the weekend of the 3rd and 4th of july. followed by an envelope clutch bag course at the Stitch Society salts mill on 31st of july.
the amp case cover design is now complete, and the project has expanded to include a cover for the portable battery packs. the prototype amps are now in manufacture and the rest of the cases and packs will follow.
over the long weekend of 9th -11th july, remember to check out the 90 artisans' studios who intend to be open for the hebden bridge open studios event.
our craft courses win-it-wednesday winner has been announced: ruth young is the lucky winner of a lovely, large-sized, natural finish, undyed leather candle holder with rose gold leaf accent!
weds 16th june 2021
wall-to-wall teaching and classes have been great this week. even greater still have been the resultant items students have made. it's wonderful to see their beautiful, finished products after just a couple of four-hour workshop classes. this week's creations include:
an envelope clutch case and matching purse in brown, oiled leather with lizard accessories - made by a first-time student at the leather work taster session.
a saddle bag in whiskey tan with a pretty bumble bee swivel handbag clasp.
one new student found a sweet blue tit clasp for her bag and finished it with matching blue-tit blue stitching.
another new student was so pleased over two days to have made a really useful tourderms day bag in full grain misourri hide, bitter chocolate in colour, with antique brass rivets.
a really good place as a starting point for an introduction to leather is the book Leather Work - Projects Anyone Can Do, by Geert Schuiling.
weds 9th june 2021
more fully human?
students new and old are flocking to courses in cathy's workshop, and are enjoying the creativity and the opportunity to be creative alongside others.
it seems that having had chance to re-evaluate our activities this last tough year, we are all now prioritising ways of socialising that build connection and feel more deeply meaningful.
with rising temperatures and opening society so many of us are exercising our creative and community-loving spirits: craft courses being one useful platform though which our students can book their leather-work course places. cathy is about to add her monday classes there too. check out the link. we have recently had a flurry of bookings by students wanting to make a variety of items including dog collars, a binoculars case, and satchels. one student is making a bag (and the buckle itself) for his wife. another has booked to host a creative day at her home for six to eight people - including her sisters and friends. we will be developing jo's creative with nature idea of hosting generation leather-work parties and hen parties also. how comforting it is to have dates in the calendar for creativity and socialising - two wholesome and valuable aspects of what it means to be human.
weds 2 june 2021
the creative glue that binds us together
there is always a delightful collaborative, creative project going on in cathy's workshop:
this week, the backpack amp cover is getting the focus of her attention. together with brian acton, cathy is working on a design that enables the speaker to be worn with straps and covered with removable, lightweight and flexible leather casing.
brian's arts council project, STEMS, is a participatory, immersive musical experience for events and creative practice. each voice-in-the-choir channel 'stem' is played on one of ten backpack speakers worn by participants in a crowd. this project once again reveals a notable feature of cathy's work: a pleasing, cohesive correlation between the project itself - fostering creative independence, participation, immersion, empowerment and unification - and the creativity of her own leather design and process. workshop life is community life.
the wider leather-loving community has been reached this week particularly through online course platforms - a goodly number of students signing up for 1:1 dog-collar-making workshops via craft courses, and our red satchel customer, loving the colour so much, placed an order for a belt in the same shade. what's not to love about that stunning red leather?!
cathy and the children have also spent some half-term r&r time with grandparents - eastnor castle pictured here.
not* pictured here - they're away having far too much fun to be faffing with photos. so I've had to rummage around in her archives for a photo. behold! cathy's shoemaker's lasting pincers ;-)
24th may 2021
inspiration near and far
working with the creative force is such a joy - inspiration from one activity leading to the emergence of another and so on: providing 1:1 strap-making classes for a young man, and seeing his requirement for beginner set of tools, inspired the creation of a new product and workshop class, as mentioned last week. cathy has now sourced and ordered those tools and is setting about designing the soft leather tool roll to fit around them. this will make a super gift for beginners to leather work.
one student, learning remotely in brazil,has been inspired to make her own saddlebag. these days distance really is no object!
for years cathy has been using a useful faster pocket pouch with belt mount, which she finds handy for essentials while out and about, be they keys and a little cash, or doggy pooh bags and treats. the design and creation of this handy new product requires using a leather mould and hardening solution. cathy is enjoying experimenting with both to get the exact finish she requires.
a brand new merchant and mills pattern has encouraged one student to create her own right-to-roam backpack with customised leather additions.
19th may 2021
old friends and new
the first creative with nature workshop at jo's last weekend was such a success: 6 people had a brilliant time making aprons together. jo sells there her own willow sculptures, basketry and equipment, as well as stocking antiques, cathy's leather items, and the attractive products of other artisans such as wood turning, felt making and stained glass.
seize the chance for last-minute enrolment on our exclusive apron making workshop, complete with afternoon tea, at the stitch society, salts mill, saltaire on saturday 29th may, from 10-4pm. creative with nature's next tool belt workshop is on 20th june, and we'll be back at salts mill again on 26th june for satchel making.
one creative with nature student, having 1:1 strap-making lessons is being provided with a useful set of new tools for his new-found kit and skill. this has inspired the development of both a popular workshop and its current product into even more attractive options - an artisan tool roll complete with tool contents. other new products in development are stitch accessories for charlotte at the stitch society. charlotte's new studio is coming along nicely, and will soon be supplied with some more of cathy's stock - backpacks, yarn pots and summer day bags.
one happy customer has just been in to collect her chanel bag with lengthened strap. the day bag will be heading out in the summery wide blue yonder this week, and a bright red, platform laptop rucksack/briefcase conversion is ready for adjustment. all of which will hopefully result in yet more happy customers.
14th may 2021
friends and beautiful things
preparations for the start of workshop season this weekend brought the chance to meet up with fellow artisans: cathy met with charlotte of the stitch society and von allen of heartfelt dogs. our friends at vagary custom culture will receive their box packed full of really beautiful things.
on the way to visit charlotte to discuss the final details of the stitch society workshop programme, cathy called in at j wood leather merchant to pick up pigskin for this saturday's creative with nature apron making workshop.
more beautiful things are on the workshop bench this week - a casual, light summer bag with petersham straps, ideal for summery days out; two yarn pots have been ordered for gardeners ready to enjoy their outdoorsy time.
5th may 2021
cathy is savouring her creative project for vagary custom culture. so far 13 of 30 handsome items have been made for the motorbiking community, including a new, round hip flask.
cathy's middle child also had a calming session in mum's workshop, using a range of differently sized knife cutters, he successfully produced precise, soothing, geometric patterns on various pleasing bright colours of leather.
workshops are being booked with the king street studios in lancaster. cathy submitted three popular course proposals for beginner classes there - apron making, an artisan tool roll, and a journal case. then threw in a fourth wild card - the clutch bag - which has proven a good choice too. they offer a great workshop location in their independent, artist-led studios and gallery spaces.
the summer season of workshops is at last approaching - the first being the creative with nature apron-making workshop on saturday 15th may, 10:30am - 4:30pm in todmorden.
in other news: one customer, preferring a longer strap for a rather smart, petite chanel bag, has asked cathy to design an extension. another student of leather work has ordered a yarn pot to hold the thread he is using in his latest project.
now that the shops are opening up again, take a trip to lesley's shop, the store in haworth. cathy's items stocked there are very much in keeping with her beautiful, sustainably sourced products, their earth tones, and natural colours pallette.
weds 28th april
the prospect of returning to leather skills workshops is so exciting. we have a monthly programme booked with charlotte from the stitch society over in her new premises at salts mill. the first of which is an apron making workshop on saturday 29th may between 10am and 4pm. cathy is heading over to salts mill tomorrow to discuss the nitty gritty of the programme with charlotte.
we are also in discussion about holding workshops at new venues over in lancaster - further west than we have previously headed. we'll keep you posted about dates and times.
monday brooklyn studios workshop classes have been coming along nicely. our current four students' projects include a circular bag in natural finish (the one with the pretty art deco fish buckle), one regular and one tiny saddlebag, and the final item is a leather patchwork sofa seat cover (which the maker would no doubt recognise has proven a rather 'interesting' project at times. nothing ventured, nothing gained!)
one pleasing project this week was replacing an obviously loved heavy saddlery leather strap on a bag cathy had made about 15 years ago. its new owner now has a softer, slightly broader shoulder strap, and the bag has been given a new lease of life.
we received a warm thank you from the american customer, who was thrilled with her desk tidy purchase.
21st april 2021
this week, some enjoyable research and catching up with an old collaboration was prompted by a customer keen to have a horween leather briefcase.
a leather that cathy is not in the habit of working with, horween is from a particular part of a horsehide. the irregular oval shaped shells are tanned, stuffed, shaved, and then polished over a period of at least six months. further steeping, stuffing, currying, shaving, hand-dying and glazing this results in a rich, glossy look and feel. we took delivery towards the back-end of this week of some tiny horween samples in various dyes from a&a crack and sons.
cathy has been talking again with tim harries, a master saddler, of ryburn leather, who will pick up the horween briefcase project himself. as has been noted before, tim is sickeningly good at stitching (is stitch envy even a thing?) he has also agreed to take on the production of a leather chess board case with pockets for the 32 black and white pieces.
tim and cathy have been working together over many years, sharing skills and projects between them, offering an enthusiastic and encouraging presence. tim has even been known to make cathy a cup of tea from time-to-time. what more does one need from a collaboration?!
14th april 2021
work and play
this week's orders have included a personalised desk tidy sent to georgia, USA, some rugged, custom-designed bikers' items for vagary custom culture, and straps for a vintage car picnic hamper.
for the indoor life, the british leather, handmade desk tidy keeps all of your bits and bobs together in one place. equally elegant in either home or office, each panel of leather is individually selected for quality and finish, then hand-cut and stitched. the tray can be personalised with your choice of letters to make it a great gift idea for weddings, housewarming, anniversary, groomsmen etc.
as the spring season is progressing, customers are turning their minds to their outdoorsy lives - the vintage car picnic hamper now has some robust leather straps to keep all those tasty morsels and pretty picnic wear safely tucked away.
the bikers will soon be fulfilling their yearning desire to explore the hills and valleys of calderdale. we have supplied vagary custom culture with a range of perfect accessories for taking to the road - wallets, straps, belts, glove straps, branded hip flasks and key rings.
we have just received a delivery of leather from one of our suppliers, j wood leather, and have ourselves supplied creative with nature, the only willow-weaving shop on the english highstreet , with plenty of stock for their leather workshop - including handbags, aprons, tool rolls and wallets - popular items often chosen for making at our leather workshops there.
monday leatherwork classes have started back up now: 10am - 2pm, and 2pm-4pm. one current student is working on a delightful bag from natural unfinished tooling shoulder leather. having sourced a gorgeous, rose-gold, leaping fish-design, art deco buckle, the whole bag has been designed around this one pretty accessory.
24th march 2021
this has been a week of unusual requests, resulting in some fun projects, and the further developing of some bespoke products:
via the website, we received an order for a leather padded chess board carrier case, designed with integral pouch for the 32 pieces.
another discerning customer found an image of exactly what she was looking for in the satchel section of the website, and made contact to discuss the choice of leather colour options available.
one particularly happy customer is about to become the proud owner of a shiny, new porshe, and has requested that we design a pair of smooth, black protectors for the backs of the front seats. these will include a touch to hinting at the design features of the brand.
another website order - about to be delivered to london - is a large backpack designed for durability and longevity with the authentic beauty of natural leather, accessorised with attractive silver fittings.
with craftmanship and attention to detail, cathy is just putting the finishing touches to this glorious, scarlet red, giant platform bag for carrying a laptop. made with a grasp handle instead of shoulder straps, chrome fittings and extra front pocket. just looking at it brings joy to the heart!
17th march 2021
freedom, green and luck
oh, what it is to be free! firstly, from geometric design project conundrums, and secondly with the promise of our social lives (finally) starting to open up again.
I don't suppose we will be the only business for which essential online sales changes have created lucky ideas that are sticking around: branching out into supplying leather product pattern kits through etsy and offering online workshops is proving most promising.
today, cathy is preparing a super kit to send to a customer in brazil, which includes a paper pattern template with clear instructions for making a large, green leather saddlebag. included is advice about where to source the leather, plus guidance about tools and accessories such as knives, needles, threads, rivets and buckle sizes. watch this space for online workshop tutorials.
the greening of the land is coming on nicely now that the sun's intensity is increasing. betsy's owners have been sent her shiny, new, matching collar and lead, and as the evenings lighten, there will be chance for them to enjoy being outdoors even more.
so, we've got the freedom, green and luck of today's st patrick's day covered. now all cathy needs to work on is the beard, funny hat and supernatural powers.
10th march 2021
now that the children are back at school again (phew), we have been able to crack on again with the workshop creative routine. productive time is lengthening with the days themselves, and there is the joy of no longer dealing with home tutoring but the delightful prospect of our returning workshop tuition becoming a possibility once more:
small, friendly, and supervised individually by catherine, these two-hour workshop classes are a great way to introduce yourself to working with leather.
mondays between 2pm - 4pm, or 7pm - 9pm
we also have specialist, one-to-one tuition hosted in catherine’s fascinating workshop.
they are instructive and creative, using beautiful british leather in a natural colour and finish, using a variety of accessories, stitching or embossing. covering a range of techniques and skills, with tools and materials provided.
each class will have up to three people and be conducted in a covid-secure manner.
some of the items you can make:
apron, belt, satchel, saddle bag, dog collar, case , homeware, traveller's bag, tool roll
starting from may 2021, we will also be running these classes roughly once a month with
here is the workshop list:
15th may apron
20th may tool roll
3rd and 4th july satchel
31st july and 1st august saddlebag
5th september apron
10th september belt
30th and 31st october traveller's bag
27th november candle holder
9th and 10th december messenger bag
pictured above is one of the bags that chrissie from hat therapy sold recently via insta -
a lovely, medium-sized, green, platform satchel
that pretty green, star dish is from debs at combing fish
3rd march 2021
it's all about the tea, innit
pictured here amongst sea green and turquoise leather remnants is one of cathy's birthday gifts - a gorgeous duck-egg blue, enamel teapot and matching mug, bought from the exciting brand new business, lelly's chai. that first morning cuppa in the workshop is going to be extra special now.
at the workshop bench this week we have been playing again with the geometry of spheres (anyone geometric mathematicians out there willing to get in touch?!) and test-dyeing their component leaf shapes a lovely sea green, using three different fiebings pro dyes.
some of this week's creations include an umbrella holder for a vintage car, men's belts and various accessories, plus a tan, missourri full-grain leather hide dog collar for cockerpoo, betsy. that order being placed while cathy, out running over colden way, bumped into doggy master - who was out running the 47 miles of the mary towneley loop.
24th february 2021
international month of pancakes
pancakes on tuesday with the kids didn't seem a mistake at the time;
perhaps it was the twice of wednesday that set the pattern;
but it wasn't until their last-minute request immediately before heading to the workshop this morning that I realised we were well in the grip of a pancakey habit.
in addition, these last few days of the month seem to be all about making and shipping dog collars - perhaps as spring has now officially sprung. one customer even ordering a medium-sized one for his beloved monty in hong kong.
patterdale sandy is pictured here modelling her small-size missourri, full-grain hide collar with fancy brass fittings - leather supplied by jt bachelors ltd of london
not to be out done, jess also celebrated the fact that tuesday was international dog biscuit appreciation day.
our freshly designed complement slips have been collected from the print bureau. look out for them with your orders. they too are a bit fancy.
18th february 2021
strange goings on
who would've thought that creating beautiful leather items would involve so much A' level geometry?! it's not every day that you learn that a sphere is composed of four convex leaf shapes. convex! who'd have thought that?!
poor old, ageing dog, jess - deaf, blind and increasingly fretty and scaredy - has taken to barking at everyone passing by and even at customers on the other end of the phone. happily, quite by accident, cathy discovered that the deep, boomy sound made by speaking down a long cardboard roll of brown pattern paper has a calming effect on her. so if, when ringing in your orders, you hear this odd, boomy noise you know what's going on.
this week's unusual leather projects have also involved experimenting with split peas, bird seed, horsehair and sand. thanks to kristina at romney marsh wools for finally saving the day with a last-minute order of very raw sheepy sheeps wool... hopefully minus the dag nuts.
for the explorers amongst us, we can now reveal one of last week's valentine gifts - the Tourderms man bag - pictured here in resilient, ruggedly-smelling, oiled cowhide. notice the slight whiskey-tan colour variation - creating a uniquely curious piece every time. ready for anything!
10th february 2021
blanketing the land with a comforting coverlet of silence, this week's snow is keeping spring's delightful secrets. evidence of the colour to come just peeping through here and there.
and so it is here in the workshop - in these last days before valentines - where gorgeous leather gifts are being lovingly, secretly crafted... out of the blue... for and from whom... who can say...?
moving swiftly on...is the good news that a TV production company has commissioned the creation of leather trigon balls - an ancient roman juggling game involving three players....hmm... maybe more of a connection there than anticipated...
moving even more swiftly on... is the news that last week's pretty blog picture of a customer's own oxford tan Platform bag inspired her to order another new one in red.
preparation for the pattern kits are coming together nicely. we are trialing two best-selling bags - Axel Dolly and Toldbol. the pattern kits will be like a mini-workshop-to-go and include written, easy-to-follow instructions, in combination with a 30-minute, exclusive, 1:1 zoom tuition.
3rd february 2021
snow, snow drops and no drop-offs
february, true to itself, has already offered its rich variety of weather: today's heavy snow melt and forthcoming days of rain are catching the attention of the local flood wardens; there have been perfect sledging conditions, bright, clear skies and freezing fogs...and all in only three days...at least we haven't had to contend with the school drop-offs too...and finally, happily, the snowdrops are peeping through.
one regular and long-standing customer, who buys for herself and friends, has ordered a lovely dark green, platform satchel bag to add to her own collection.
featured in the image above is another oxford tan platform bag. It was made by cathy so long ago, that she hardly remembers it despite it being a commission, which it must have been as it's a scaled-up version of the standard size! you can see how it's been so well-loved over the years that there is a delightful overall softening and there was the need for a little stitching repair on its especially well-loved parts.
two lovely collaborations are developing nicely: the apron and tote bag kits made with charlotte at the stitch society are now available for sale online; chrissie at hat therapy has on display in her hebden bridge shop the leather straps for her lovely velvet fabric bags.
with the promise of some brighter and more colourful days, we are also enjoying working with leather items in green, grey and even mustard yellow.
13th january 2021
snow, rain and a hint of spring
we had weeks of shimmery winter wonderland on the hebden tops, and made the most of every opportunity to get out with the dogs onto the moors and woods of calderdale. now that the rain has followed and the melt is complete, the luminescent mossy greens and wintry browns of the landscape are so striking.
it won't be long before the snowdrops are peeping through.
aligning ourselves with nature as best we can, we are readying ourselves for new growth - spending a little extra attention on updating our marketing materials - look out for our ce-leathergoods informative complement slips in with your orders.
it also seems naturally fitting to be currently working on a lovely, forest-green platform bag.
6th january 2021
let go and become
there goes 2020 - we'll let that one go... and here comes 2021 - let's see what can become.
and in-betweeny - the rest period of the holidays has been a refreshing pause, and now we look towards what will be.
january is a time when thoughtful christmas money gifts and vouchers are often converted into lovely leather treats to oneself - either a long-desired product or practical leather-skills workshop or course - such as the little alldaith expedition bag pictured here - all you need for your phone, flask or sandwiches - made by one of our workshop students.
what leathery loveliness would you like to include in your life?
this is a good time of year to make sure that our stockists have plenty of our products for the spring. chrissie at hat therapy and lesley at the store will soon be receiving newly made deliveries to display.
we'll be developing the mens' products section of our website, showcasing our bestsellers - belts, wallets, shaving kits, hips flasks and document cases, amongst others.
take a few deep breaths, let the old fall away, smell the crisp, wintry air and ... just ... be.
23 december 2020
we are coming towards the end of some very interesting christmas orders - full of variety: including the completion of a splendid soft, green leather satchel for an old friend;
a couple who treated each other to a belt-making workshop for their third 'leather' wedding anniversary ordered another belt for his father's presie.
this year has also seen the development of some interesting working relationships, collaborations and partnerships. we have had faithful support from customers, stockists and suppliers alike: last week being yet another example of our suppliers' commitment to us - the identity store coming good with a last-minute request for a selection of unusual buckles.
we also find ourselves coming towards the end of an interesting year that has found us all doing what we do best: adapting to the one reliable constant of life - change.
so as we head towards 2021, we offer a heartfelt blessing:
'may we live in less interesting times'
16th december 2020
this week has been super busy preparing some delightful commissions for the christmas post. there have been some wonderfully unusual projects, including restoring a funky old 1960s velveteen guitar strap. imagine the psychedelic colours ... and then some!
as ever, our customers come from all walks of life - a local gallery owner, an architect, a QC, an IT specialist, and cyber security expert.
cathy has been having fun and games sourcing just the right buckle for a lovely green satchel order. we still have a little wiggle room for last-minute christmas requests.
this week, st augustine's centre are delivering their christmas food and gift boxes to asylum seekers and refugees around the park ward area of halifax. the independent shop owners and artisans of hebden bridge contributed wonderfully to the project - including chocolate and sweets, colouring crayons, wrapping paper, candles, woolly socks ... and a selection of lovely, soft, leather wallets of various shapes and sizes.
mobile: 07720 715 418
9th december 2020
workshop vouchers and creative joy
why not give the creative one in your life one of our workshop vouchers, and the opportunity to make something beautiful and lasting in british saddlery leather.
lots of workshop projects suitable for all skill levels are possible, covering a range of leather options including a soft apron, tablet case, tool roll, clutch bag, journal cover, twine pot and candle holder.
vouchers valued at £25 per hour's workshop, can be put towards 1, 2 or 3-hour, covid-friendly sessions - group or one-to-one.
we are enjoying this especially creative time of year. cathy is a busy bee preparing some special christmas requests - an unusual and original backpack combining two different types of leather, an architect's satchel, a gift shaving kit, and a bespoke, indigo-blue lyngby box bag with matching purse.
our latest collaboration is with ruth edwards through her hebden shop broccante, where there is a wide range of interesting, handmade, old and new home furnishings, to which cathy adds beautiful leather accessories. this week she is making co-ordinated, top quality, british saddlery leather straps for one of ruth's antique, soft, upholstery-fabric bags.
we are excited about this week's delivery of some attractive, oversized fireman's buckles in gorgeous, gunmetal-grey.
mobile: 07720 715 418
2 december 2020
your christmas order
our lovely leather workshop is a happy place at the moment as we prepare your christmas orders ready for your loved ones.
use our lovely gift-wrapping service to make your gift extra-special
make sure you have your gifts in time for christmas by placing your order before
friday 11th december
two opportunities to create your own gifts at our upcoming workshops
at the art works, halifax on
tuesday 8th december 6:30pm - 8:30pm
candle holder workshop
saturday 12th december 10:30am - 4:30pm
leather desk tidy workshop
our workshops are perfect for a small, covid-friendly, family gathering
hosted and supervised individually by catherine.
they are a great way to introduce yourself to working with leather.
suitable for beginners or the more experienced.
range of techniques employed with tools and materials provided.
mobile: 07720 715 418
25th December 2020
it's all about christmas!
indulge your senses with the beautiful aroma of natural leather with our range of gorgeous gift products.
this week is all about christmas as we prepare to launch our instagram shop with five of our most popular products.
there is something for everyone - a friend, loved one, the green-fingered one in your life... and of course ... don't forget to treat yourself.
twine pot - for creatives and gardeners, a beautiful and unusual gift for storing and dispensing not only yarn or twine, but also to keep small things handy where you need them. it will hold light-weight items. handle opening fits to hang over a standard doorknob or cabinet knobs, or just set it down and fill. £45
candle holder - made entirely by hand from reclaimed wood and pure untreated leather, the Cannwyll candle holder is a beautiful and unique piece to light up any home, the leather around the candle holder can be embossed with a message or initials of your choice. the wood is sourced locally, turned and waxed to give it a rich finish, making it the perfect gift to mark a special occasion. the leather is british, untreated saddlery hide which begins life as a pale pinkish colour but ages in time to a rich caramel hue, full of character. made entirely by hand, natural leather, hand-turned from locally sourced wood. two sizes to choose from, £22 and £26
desk tray/organiser - keep all of your bits and bobs tidy and together in this british leather, handmade desk tray. equally elegant in either home or office, each panel of leather is individually selected for quality and finish, then hand cut and stitched. the tray can be personalised with your choice of initials, making it a great gift idea for christmas, weddings, housewarming, anniversary, groomsmen etc. £55
billfold wallet - classic personalised men's leather billfold wallet, slips perfectly into the pocket or tucks neatly away in a jacket. this subtle product gives a pleasingly understated look. the exterior is best british saddlery leather and contrasts well with the fine gloving leather used for the interior. £40
toldbol tiny saddle bag - has got to be one of the smallest bags I make, and probably the sweetest. perfect for nights or days out when all you need are the essentials, put Toldbol Tiny over your shoulder and you're ready for anything. buckle detail and smooth curves make this bag neat and stylish. £139
mobile: 07720 715 418
fb: @catherine edwards leather
20 Nov 2020
lovely christmas collaborations!
a lovely product photo shoot this week resulted in the development of ongoing, delightful collaborations between local stockists and creative artisans:
lesley, at the store, haworth - purveyors of beautiful everyday stuff - stocks our wonderful leather bags and a range of gorgeous, leather accessories including wallets, purses and candle holders.
charlotte, at the stitch society, is in collaboration with us on the creation of simple, stylish, durable, fabric-and-leather, bespoke aprons and smocks. together, we have also designed DIY kits for making your own tote bags or personalised aprons.
great for christmas gifts!
check out these incredible women's offerings on insta
buy a gift voucher for our new year workshops at charlotte's lovely, new premises in salts mill, saltaire or at the store, haworth.
mobile: 07720 715 418
fb: catherine edwards leather
11 Nov 2020
beautiful, natural, british,
leather pocket with pruning shears.
this lovely, new product is designed with a loop to attach to your work belt, is decorated with contrasting stitching, a stylish, sam brown stud, and includes vintage-style pruning sheers.
for the perfect christmas gift for the gardener in your life.
combine with our twine pot.
look out for the pocket-and-pot workshop in the new year.
a chance to introduce yourself to working with leather by creating this attractive new product. stamp with a set of initials if you like.
perfect for small, friendly, covid-secure, family gatherings.
hosted and supervised individually by catherine
leather pocket size 13 x 14cm, price including vintage shears £23
07720 715 418
4th Nov 2020
join us for this lovely,
festive, leather candle holder workshop
saturday 5th december 2020, 2-5pm
brooklyn studios workshop, hx7 7dd
create two beautiful, natural, british-sourced, hand-turned wood and leather candle holders, perfect for your christmas-table cheer, or as a special gift.
learn to create patterns, decorate with red, gold or silver metal leaf or add your own, unique message stamped into the leather.
4 places so please book quickly
perfect for a small, friendly, family gathering. hosted and supervised individually by catherine
this inspiring workshop is a great way to introduce yourself to working with leather. suitable for beginners or the more experienced. range of techniques employed with tools and materials provided.
continuing to operate in a covid-secure manner.
07720 715 418
treat yourself or your loved one this valentine's day with my special 2018 valentine's day offer, 15% discount on orders placed on or before 14th february. just quote 'Valentine' in the voucher box at checkout and press 'redeem'. lots of lovely gifts for him and for her available but order quickly before you miss the big day!
back in the workshop this week, picking up all the threads from last weekend's marvellous GNCCF. had a brilliant time meeting customers, catching up with old friends and skipping around Manchester. one of my first jobs this week is to launch this new men's luxury shave kit on my website and Etsy shop following the launch at the GNCCF. I think this one is going to prove a very popular special personalised gift for Christmas this year. anyone on your list that might need one of these?
Looking to the next big event, Lustre in Nottingham. I'll be posting details and timings shortly
what a marvellous evening we had at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair yesterday for the special preview evening opening. it's the first time we've been in the beautiful new venue next to the Science Museum in Manchester. I launched 3 new products at the show - a luxury shaving kit, twine holder and a bottle carrier, all were well received and I think a couple of Christmas presents were purchased! the new products and more will be added to my website shortly
still a few more days left to catch the show as it is running until Sunday 15th October if you want to come and say hello!
my next big event is the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair next week. it's one of my favourite shows of the year, set in the heart of Manchester and showcasing some of the most talented and inspiring makers.
I love catching the train over with my friends first thing in the morning, all talking ten to the dozen, scurrying through the quiet streets and seeing the many familiar faces. it's exhausting and exhilarating at the same time so if you're anywhere near Upper Campfield Market from the 12th to the 15th of Oct make sure to come and see us.