I asked some friends if they could guess which new medium I recently got into – and none came up with the answer! We went through the long list I had played with – drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, sewing, knitting, pottery, woodworking, metal clay, jewelry, glass, metalsmithing – and when I said, “Leather!” Somehow it came as no surprise!
My love for leather dated back to when I was eight years old when my cousins from Toronto came to visit bearing a small leather wallet as a gift. I can’t remember the design exactly but will never forget the sweet smell of genuine leather and all the little compartments and pockets it contained. Yet it wasn’t until my sister bought me a Cartier wallet did I truly appreciate the premium craftsmanship of a high-quality leather piece.
Finding Beatrice Amblard was a total coincidence through Google for classes on working with leather – and was not even the type of techniques I was looking for. But as soon as I found out that a Hermès trained master artisan was teaching the centuries-old craft of refined leatherworking right in my neighborhood, I simply couldn’t pass up this amazing opportunity! Moreover, within 12 hours of my finding Amblard Leather Atelier online, I received an email from my sister with a link to the EXACT same workshop! (To learn more about Bea and her incredible work, check out this wonderful article – she’s the last artist featured so scroll towards the end.)
Without further ado, we signed up for the non-commitment evening class and on our second class, we opted to do the all-day Saturday workshop when the new 12-week session starts in October! To say that we are hooked is an understatement!
Our first project is a card holder – completely crafted by hand! – something small so we can learn every step of each technique. I am a long way from creating that tote of my dream but I sure am enjoying the journey . . .
What sets this apart is the finishing of the edge containing four layers of leather!