The Herd’s Throne
644 John Watson, Wilno
Open year-round by appointment.
Summer and fall tours.
I am often asked how I learned or how I got started as a hide-tanner, a rather obscure vocation these days, to say the least. But somehow, over fifteen years ago now, I was given the opportunity to learn how to tan a few deerskins, and after some rough learning for a city kid, slowly started to fall in love with this almost-lost art — not just the way what I call real leather smells and feels, its genuine and hard-earned beauty, but the act of transformation of the skin, the making of something long lasting and useful out of something largely unloved, using natural and local ingredients. That’s the leather-making studio; deer, moose, sheep, cattle, goat.
And so, I set about learning to sew, to make patterns, to measure and to design. After all, and for all its alchemy, mystery and hard work, the tanning is still the vast preparatory stage to actually making something useful out of leather. Using linen thread, hand tools and antique treadle sewing machines, this traditionally-made leather is sewn into bags, wallets, coats, shoes, belts and everything in between in the sewing studio, necessarily located right beside the leather studio. Local goods made to serve and to last – whether off my display or custom made to order.