One of the oldest materials used by humans. Leather has a character that is beautiful and organic, with an earthy elegance but still being strong and hardwearing.
Leather takes me back to a time of old, a time where things were built to last and withstand a lifetime of work - in an age of the throwaway society, where we can acquire many things now made by machine, which will most likely break within a short period of use, leather is one material that just keeps giving, is repairable and will grow old with you.
Everything about leather is a slow process, from the growth of the animal to the 14 or so months it takes to tan a hide, the design process to the final making of the item. If looked after well a leather item, be it a belt or a bag will last you a lifetime of use, and most likely will be handed down to generations to come.
The leather I use is carefully selected from a number of small tanneries in the UK and Italy. Tanned using tree bark; this technique is known as vegetable tanning and is gentle and kind to the environment and the hide. Vegetable tanning has been a method used to make leather for thousands of years. Each hide is unique and different from the last, having gained the characteristics of the animal it once was. It has exceptional qualities and retains the hide’s natural aesthetics like growth lines, grains, marks and scars. Vegetable tanned leathers absorb the traces of our life, maturing and ageing with a personal expression of naturalness and truth. Over time this leather will give a beautiful patina and an unmistakable warm shade that becomes more intense with the passing of time and daily use.
Britain's only remaining traditional oak bark tannery, based in Devon. The tannery is believed to date back to Roman times and today its local craftsmen install the same techniques that have been passed down through generations. The hides are from the West Country; mainly Devon so there is minimal transport from cow to leather. I love working with this leather, not only because it looks and smells wonderful, but also because it uses local resources and natural processes to create a beautiful, strong leather. I am extremely lucky to have this tannery on my doorstep in Devon.
The colour range available is London Tan, Dark Oak and Australian Nut
To offer a broader range of colours to my collection I also use Italian tanned leathers from a small family owned tannery in Tuscany, a region of Italy that has been using traditional tanning methods to produce some of the world’s finest leather for many centuries. This leather has a soft waxy feel, with deep, rich colours that will age beautifully and mould naturally to your uses over its lifetime.
The colour range available is Taupe, Light Tan, Burnt Tan, Chestnut and Stone.
Other leather options in thickness, colour, texture and feel are also available. Please get in contact to discuss your requirements and I will be happy to help and advise you and se what is available from tanneries.
The Buckles and other hardware such as copper saddler’s rivets and tubular rivets come from a small family run business forge in Walsall, UK. Some of the buckles I use in my belt making have been designed by me and forged here.
Solid Sterling Silver Belt Buckles
Made by the Cornish Silversmith Aisha Jane Rowe in a small workshop near St Just in Cornwall. These buckles are individually handcrafted meaning no two buckles are ever the same. Each buckle is stamped with Aisha’s unique silversmith marker mark and is then sent away for the Assayers hallmark to prove the silvers purity.
Available in 1”, 1 ¼” and 1 ½”, with either a single, double or triple prong. Semi precious stones can be set into the buckle for a more unique and individual appearance.
A bespoke solid sterling 925 silver belt buckle to compliment your J&FJ Baker leather belt strap.
I use a waxed bonded polycord thread that is extremely hardwearing and rot resistant.
Tiger Ritza is known to be one of the finest threads for hand stitching; this thread is made in Germany and used throughout the world by leather workers.
Maine Thread Company is based in Maine in the US and was founded in 1965 mainly supplying the shoe making industry. Over the years they have grown to become one of the most reputable thread companies in the world.
Why do I use 2 suppliers of thread? In all honesty I love working with both these threads and have never been able to decide on which is better. For this reason I have chosen my favourite colours from each company that I believe compliment the leather and colours that I use.