Traditional leather making

Roe, Katie ORCID logoORCID: (2019) Traditional leather making. [Artefact]


The output is a collection of artefacts comprising handmade leather accessories which explore traditional techniques, made from Vegetable Tanned leather. Research process: The focus of the research process was sourcing vegetable-tanned leathers and exploring traditional techniques and executing them to a high standard. Sourcing the leathers was mostly done online, contacting suppliers and tanneries directly and speaking to other leather-makers. By building up a library of vegetable-tanned leathers, Roe found suitable leathers for the artefacts. This included a matt grey leather which felt modern and relevant to the objects. Learning traditional techniques came from a combination of reading, connecting with leather-makers and observing the techniques to learn the process. A lot of experimenting took place to execute the techniques, such as the saddle stitching, well. Research insights: Learning traditional leather-making techniques and working with vegetable tanned leather to create modern artefacts has allowed Roe to have a thorough understanding of how craftsmanship can be applied to contemporary, everyday fashion apparel. The process of hand-making resulted in extremely high quality, long lasting pieces. There is a market for this in the current fashion climate where fast fashion is having such a detrimental impact on the environment. The research also highlighted some of the challenges that crafters can face in modern society, such as: the time it takes to produce each item (for example the tote bag takes 18-19 hours to produce), the high costs of materials (vegetable tanned leather is 2.5-3 times more expensive than chrome dyed other leathers). Craftsmanship lends itself to small batch production, higher retail costs and a specific market. Dissemination: The artefacts were disseminated via social media and an online portfolio on

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