40 Under 40: Meet Katie Warriner
Monday, 24 April 2023
Katie WarrinerEvery Monday, we are celebrating one of our 40 under 40 makers.
This week, we are getting to know Katie Warriner, A bag and belt maker with a huge focus on regenerative fibres and homegrown/made materials. Lets get to know her in our Q&A.
Tell us a bit about what you do.A bag and belt maker with a huge focus on regenerative fibres and homegrown/made materials. I make practical wares for everyday people. Dog walking bags, workmans belts and tool pouches, shoulder bags for city strolls and messenger bags for country living.
I wanted to deepen my knowledge of leather so I have taught myself to tan deer skins, using oak bark from local woodsman.
This year I have also added classes to my website, teaching others to work with leather. And I am currently training with Mark Romain to gain my SMS saddle and harness qualifications.
How did you get into making leather goods?I have wanted to be a saddler since the age of 12, I wanted to make bridles and saddles for film and TV.
I didn’t pursue my leather career till I was 30 and have been self-taught from then. I started Warriner Leather in 2019, and I also make props from leather for the Film and TV industry.
I love this fibre and the tools and traditions that are part of this craft.
What is your favourite product to make?BELTS – I call them the unsung heroes of the world as no one ever thanks their belt for holding their trousers up all day long. A belt is an everyday item, most of us could not live without. They are simple, practical and elegant – These words for all the content pillars of my ethos.
What do you love most about working with leather?I love how versatile it is, and how it tells a story of the life it once was.. marks and scars are all part of the journey and the journey continues for many years after an item has been made.. It is the perfect story teller.
What are your next goals?I want to delve much deeper into bridle making, classical bridles and bridles for the film world. I also want to share the knowledge and importance of a well-fitting bridle to stunt riders in this industry. I also want to explore more deeply tanning, and being a voice for traceable homegrown leather fibres. Adding in a range of workman’s belts and harnesses to help tradesman with bad backs after carrying their tools around all day (I am working with my partner to develop this). And finally, I want to really push my workshops this year, to help teach others the beautiful craft of leatherwork. So much to do!
What advice would you give to someone who was thinking about becoming a leather worker or who has just started out?Hmmmmm, make sure you have strong hands and warm up your body every day before you start on the tools – I have horrible repetitive strain in my hands and wrists because I don’t warm up my body before asking it to do a lot at the workbench!
Treat yourself to a course with a master, and then keep practising day in and day out.. there are so many books and online tutorials available for free and a small fee, just keep practising and do something that takes you out of your comfort zone every day.
What does it mean to you to be included in the 40 under 40 list?It is a honour to be on this list with so many talented makers, I am so grateful to those who nominated me also.. it means my work has stood out to my customers and they believed in me. I am very grateful to Abbey England for accepting me and showcasing my work and a maker.
What have you done to keep relevant in a digital age?Oh, how I wish the digital age didn’t exist! I miss the simplicity of the old days before phones and social media. I use my website as my main platform, I write blogs about leather and my work as well as showcasing people in the West of the UK who inspire me and help me with my business. I used to use Instagram as my main platform, but decided to focus my efforts on my website instead. Pinterest is something I would like to explore more in 2023. Honestly, I wish the online world would all go away, and my work could all be word of mouth within the local community - but the world has become and online community so I have to at least try to keep up with the times!
For more information, please visit www.warrinerleather.co.uk
To join this network of great makers, please follow Katie's Instagram page HERE