Today’s post is a video that really made me think a little more about the benefits of exploring new designs, in addition to the satisfaction that comes in working with your hands. Neil MacGregor and Valerie Michael began their leatherworking careers in the early 70’s, setting out with a clear intention to create fine leather goods made 100% by hand. In watching their videos, it becomes clear that they’ve never stopped trying to innovate and improve, despite the success that they’ve achieved. Valerie’s book, The Leatherworking Handbook, is a classic and often one of the first books people get on leatherworking.
MacGregor and Michael are passionate about preserving leatherworking traditions, and seem to take a quiet pride in knowing that they’re doing everything the traditional way. The feeling they bring to the craft is one of deep humility and reverence, and you get the sense that their work has shaped them as much as they have it.
Of other interest was some of their joint leather and wood-working projects. Having once been a woodworker myself, it was really interesting to see how they combined their love for both crafts and created some really interesting pieces. One such example was their sycamore chair, which was absolutely gorgeous.
I hope you’ll enjoy the video! It’s filled with a lot of little leatherworking gems, right down to the shipwreck hides and the bench-mounted skiver.
What is it about working with your hands that brings you the most satisfaction? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
Val and Neil are special people, indeed. Their attention to detail is second nature, and they are the most generous and gracious of leatherworking instructors. I’ve had the privilege of being in that shop, a few times for courses, and owe my leap into this craft to both of them.
So awesome, Jamie! I think they’ve had a positive impact on most all of us.
Thank you for the video! They are true craft people. I’m bummed all that Russian hatch is long gone. Interesting tidbit about cutting women’s belts on the curve. Wet forming and then cutting it on the curve?! Their book was the first book I ever purchased. A bit short on detail but I’m sure when it came out there was nothing else like it. Now, I own several leatherworking books and Nigel Armitage’s are my favorite ones in terms of explanation. Personally I do not subscribe to “no machines,” attitude. I absolutely love my Consew skiver, Regad, and planning for a cylinder arm. However, I understand the idea of being a purist. Again thank you for the video! It’s a real pleasure to be a part of this community.
I appreciate your insight, Misha! And I agree – Nigel’s books are so well written and informative. He’s a skilled teacher in all regards. We love having you here – keep in touch!