Includes interesting stories from the world of leather and updates on the Museum. Issued periodically.
I wanted to share with you a little story relating to a recent gift that was made to the museum.
Mr Peter Bryan of Oakham kindly donated a number of leather items which he had made himself during a three year period in the 1960’s. Mr Bryan was an officer in the Royal Air Force at the time, stationed just outside Adelaide in Southern Australia. He recounted tales of many a quiet hour on post where he would stamp and craft his leather items to pass the time!
Before his posting in Australia, Peter had no previous experience in leather working. He soon struck up a friendship with an Austrian immigrant Heinz Raz. Raz was a skilled artist and quickly gained fame in Australia making elaborately decorated saddles, belts and boots for the rodeo riders and stockmen.
The vegetable tanned cattle hides used by both men were supplied through stores owned by Reginald Murray Williams, a swagman turned millionaire, in 1932 Williams built from scratch a clothing and leather goods empire that is still going strong today http://www.rmwilliams.com.au/
So, Peter, using Australian cow hides, taught by an Austrian immigrant, turned ‘naturally’ to Tandy a company out of Fort Worth Texas, for the patterns, tools and tips on hand carving in leather. https://www.tandyleather.com/en/ Tandy was established in 1919 as a family owned leather goods company, it became a corporation in 1961 and is now a thriving global brand in the leather goods and crafting market. Tandy supply amateur craftsmen -kits, templates, catalogues and designs to suit all skill levels and budgets. Their guides on the crafting and carving of leather are helping to keep age old traditions alive and long may they continue.
Among the items that Peter donated is a handbag carved with the initials of his wife Wendy. The bag itself has that unmistakable sheen and feel of a leather item well used and well-loved over several decades.
For me this story touches something deeply important about the personal connection between handcrafted items made with love, for ones they love. This passion for their work, this love of good quality and craftsmanship also shine brightly in the successes of R.M. Williams and Tandy. It is my hope that our museum can continue to collect and curate and inspire people with such wonderful stories of human endeavour, over many years to come.