When people ask me what leatherworking course to take from us, I always recommend the Simple Leather Case Course. Even if they are an experienced leathercrafter, the case course will help them. In old-school French cooking, the omelet is considered the true test of a chef’s skill. There’s a scene in the movie ‘The Hundred-Foot Journey‘ about this very idea. Helen Mirren, portraying a Michelin-starred chef, challenges the protagonist Hassan to cook an omelet to prove his ineptness. The belief is that when cooking a plain omelet, you can truly measure a chef’s talent since there is no hiding behind fancy ingredients or special techniques. It is simply eggs, butter, salt, and your attention to detail that will make the meal stand out.
Similarly, your skills are measured with a simple leather case. It is one piece of leather, two if you line it, a snap, and two seams. In my class, I show you how you can dial in the details to finely craft your piece. Handmade leather goods require six core skills:
- Edge Finishing
If you can master these five skills, you can make almost anything from leather. They are simple skills, but, as I often tell my students, simple is not always easy. Skiving is an example of this. The only things you need to skive are a sharp blade, a steady angle, and a little push. If you’ve ever tried skiving, you’ll know this simple exercise is far from easy to master.
I occasionally make one with the students when teaching the simple case class. It is a reminder and a test of my continuing leatherworking practice. I have several of these cases that I’ve given to family and friends or have tucked away in a drawer. Whenever I see one, I’m reminded of my skill level when I made it and how I can still work on refining and improving my abilities.
Do you have a piece that you revisit regularly? How does it show the evolution of your skills?