Letters from Zoë: September 2020
When you're reading this it will probably be October, and that's a good thing. It's finally Autumn which means jumpers, scarves, root vegetables, roasts, thick and fully socks, hot chocolate and log fires (I'm not a summer bug). The cold however, is cosy to me, your warmth is adaptable to your style and you'll always be offered a warm drink (tea of course!). Although, the mornings when Jack Frost visits are a bit nippy when you live in an old farmhouse like myself and religiously rely on a pair of trusty slippers on the cold stone floor.
Relying on old and trusted things such as our houses and our favourite slippers is something very common, however, these things get worn. They need a bit of help and TLC, and this month has definitely been one for restoration. Going from a well-loved billiards box to replacing the webbing on a cartridge bag, the bursting seams of a briefcase, an endless amount of replaced straps, new handles, new chapes and even a chair or two to re-upholster. Each piece meaning something different and something sentimental to every customer. In these weird and scary times, with the influence of certain TV shows, and a push on small business culture, there has been a prevalent increase of people wanting their old and loved items repaired or even new replicas made.
This is where I love working with leather, it’s extremely resilient, it warps and bends to shape a perfect fit for the user. It’s strong and sturdy and committed to its work. Restoration and repair are one of my favourite things to do, I like the challenge. There’s a huge element of risk working with old and worn leather which often has been neglected of a condition or two. But I find a higher sense of reward when you manage to piece back together memories and comfort in these items. To make it useable again, this doesn’t mean it’s easy or always possible, being a natural substance; skin needs conditioning however, leather lacks the ‘living’ element which would enable the repair of scratches or dryness. Without help, this can push the leather to be brittle and start tearing or flaking apart.
Hopefully, we are looking at the beginnings of a handmade revolution, treasuring well-made and skilled items over cheaper and mass-produced. Handmade items are often easier to repair and the higher quality of the leather the longer it will last as well as being much easier to make future repairs and alterations too.
Thanks for reading.