Learning to work with leather

Leather course

Almost a year ago, in April 2015, I enthusiastically, and somewhat impatiently, registered on the London Metropolitan University, Introduction to Leatherwork course.  Unfortunately, for uninteresting reasons, they had to cancel.  I almost cried into my calico (cursing it all the while for not being leather).  Finally, I am sat here at lunch time, at the LMU after my first morning, drinking a cup of tea and pretending I am fifteen years younger (I perhaps should be hungover to fit in with the undergrads that surround me).

Our tutor is Franco Marinelli, an upholsterer with extensive experience in working with leather.  In these few hours, I have already learned an overwhelming amount, from the production of leather and the different types of tanning, to what makes a leather top end and visa versa.  I have been similarly awed and outraged, the latter stemming from my newly acquired knowledge that ‘genuine leather’ on a label doesn’t pertain to it being real leather, but is actually about the cut; a cut that is one of the more inferior from the hide. HOW VERY DARE THEY?

Lunch is ending, and I will be spending the afternoon making my first small item in chrome tan leather (a process of preparing the skin/hide, not the colour). Hand stitching is only involved at this stage of our learning (huge ‘yay’ to that) and the punching of many holes (I image this is truly cathartic).  This will, of course, turn into another obsession (time allowing), so do keep an eye on this space.

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