A beautiful concept

Redwood comment
Published:  13 July, 2021
Credit: Nick Karvounis

You might say this is mere sentimentalism; and in part that is true. But repairing such items in ways that celebrate the imperfections and breaks, that highlight long years of use is to be honest with our raw material. Hides and skins have imperfections and the tanners role is to work with them and create a beauty from them. The more we hide them with sandpaper and pigment the closer we come to plastic. Instead, we need to engage with reality. This is our hide; it has imperfections, and we should use it and celebrate it. The same for used articles. Instead of discarding them find ways to repair them and see if in so doing make the piece unique. 

Leather is highly versatile and not in every end use will this be possible. Industrial items must perform safely, watch straps will crack with perspiration after time but the vast majority can be offered a new life. The holdall that was perfect apart from the weak zip, that was hard to close when the bag was overloaded. Can it be replaced with a larger stronger zip that adds character to its enhanced functionality?

We do not have the option of dripping gold dust everywhere to highlight and beautify the cracks but there are options with stitching, staining and even patching when the expectation is guided by an artistic craftsperson who is not craving the invisible mend. The true artisan can recognise a mark as a memory.

Life is not perfect, society is not perfect, humans are not perfect and hides and skins are not perfect. It is time not only to accept the reality but be proud of it, starting with looking after our products and repairing them in ways that celebrate their renewal and hidden value. Ways that respect their origins and the changes with time and use, and not to hide wear and tear.

Mike Redwood

Mike Redwood

July 13, 2021


Follow Dr Mike Redwood on twitter: @michaelredwood

Publication and Copyright of "Redwood Comment" remains with the publishers of International Leather Maker. The articles cannot be reproduced in any way without the express permission of the publisher.