My journey with leather began while at a loose end in the 1980's, struggling to find a suitable career path, I undertook a short saddlery training course with a Master saddler & was hooked! Following this taster experience, I enrolled & continued my professional training at the college in Walsall, gaining my City & Guilds qualifications in saddlery & bridle-making, then gradually diversified my range of products due to demand in the following years.
I've been involved with showing & training dogs & horses for most of my life, and was able to apply traditional saddler's techniques to this knowledge to design & produce a wide range of very practical but smart, hard-wearing leathergoods for dogs, horses, cattle, sheep, people & even cars, as well as bespoke commissions. I mainly work with the heavier saddlery leathers rather than the fine lighter leathers used for smaller leathergoods like wallets and watch straps.
I work from a home-based workshop set in the beautiful Herefordshire countryside & take great satisfaction and pride in using only the best British bridle leathers, together with the best quality metal fittings - the brass foundry I use is the last one in the UK!
I am often asked if the stitching is done by machine but there is no substitute for leathergoods that are produced in the traditional way using saddler's hand tools, techniques and methods including hand-stitching. A well made, correctly fitting bridle, cattle or sheep halter can make all the difference in the show ring! It is certainly more time consuming but immensely satisfying to produce an item from scratch & be confident that it will outlast any mass produced pieces.
When you buy my leathergoods, you can be sure it has been individually handmade by me alone, using traditional hand tools and techniques, hand-stitched & finished to a high standard. I don't supply my range to anyone else and I don't buy anything in to retail.
I offer a commission service for bespoke items and you are welcome to visit my workshop by appointment, to discuss your requirements. Sometimes bespoke items take a little longer to design & produce, but the wait will be worth it! I also undertake restitching & repairs when I can fit them in!
In 2010, I was commissioned to make a range of hound collars for Ridley Scott's Robin Hood film, and in 2008, I worked with silver buckle-maker Ed Wiltshear to produce a set of commemorative belts for the Team GB eventers, Mary King, William Fox-Pitt, Tina Cook, Daisy Dick & Sharon Hunt.
2015 saw another request from the props depatment, this time Warner Bros. I was commissioned to produce a couple of collars for the lead dog in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them written by JK Rowling, released in November 2016. This was a very exciting and a top secret commission until the film had been released!
My foray into film props continued...... in December 2016, I was commissioned to produce a selection of collars and leads for the new film comedy version of Holmes & Watson starring Will Ferrell, Ralph Fiennes and Hugh Laurie, and also a period collar and lead set for the film 'Colette', based on the life of the French novelist and staring Keira Knightley. Both films were released in late 2018 so looking forward to seeing more of my work on the big screen!
I've also been carrying out repair & restoration work on leather items for the National Trust, and had fun being filmed in my tiny workshop by BBC Countryfile, who had been filming for a feature on rural crafts. I'm also featured in a lovely book published autumn 2015 by local Herefordshire publishers Logaston Press, with photography by Malcolm Scott, 'Images of Creative Herefordshire' featuring Herefordshire craftsmen, artists and musicians. I'm lucky to live and work in such a rich area of creativity in both contemporary and traditional arts and crafts.
For many years, I've been involved with one local Herefordshire co-operative not-for-profit group, the Herefordshire Guild of Craftsmen, as a member and part of the organising committee. We collaborate in various small and large events throughout the year, giving a platform for our members to showcase their work and share ideas, which has been really rewarding over the years.
I meet so many lovely interesting customers who provide me with so much variety in the leathergoods that I produce, so there's really no risk of getting bored......just leaves me short of precious time to work up & develop new ideas and products!
Away from work commitments, I love walking, gardening & cooking, and sharing time with my family & friends, just wish there were more hours in the day......
My website is open 24/7 for orders & enquiries and you can also find details of selected shows and events which I will be exhibiting at throughout the year.
Please call or email me with any queries. Happy browsing!
Photo courtesy of Barry Thompson