I grew up in and around Raglan NZ. I moved to Australia when I was 18 and on my travels I was first exposed to `freestyle' leatherwork by an inspired bunch of hippies/boaties in Brisbane. They were making clothes and boots out of bark tanned kangaroo and goat skins all hand stitched and wonderful. On moving to Tasmania I got into ceramics which I loved but overnight I turned to leather.
Firstly I put together a sewing kit and saddle stitched my way through metres of waxed thread making purses and bags. I was doing a lot of gardening so I made a hat from a fedora pattern. I stuck with the kangaroo skins - they were light and wore well. I also made up my own pattern for a moulded ladies style which was interesting and well received. I had lots of market stalls around the state including 15 years at Deloraine Craft Fair. I was also a founding member of the Sheffield Womens Shared Workspace which had a showroom and workspace open to the public.
In 2000 when I was visiting my folks in Hamilton I wandered into a local repair shop looking for some saddle soap, well little did I know! Richard taught me about shoe repairs and how to make his range of sandals and shoes. A couple of visits later he offered me his workshop. After much humming and harring I bit the bullet and walked through the door of opportunity and re-located back to NZ after 26 years in Australia.
I opened my doors as In Hide Leatherworks in May 2004 where I threw myself into every repair that came in, shoes bags leather clothing zip replacements. As I progressed and established myself I have slowly introduced my public to my unique range of high quality bags.
I have drawn on the knowledge of repairing where you see how things are made. I can now apply this to my style but always adding my special features and allowing my imagination to run wild. I enjoying mixing textures and colours at the moment and loving large weekend/luggage bags.
I was introduced to the leather workers guild when they had a conference in Hamilton. Could only get there after work and weekend but learnt heaps. Did my first workshop sculptured lady and a rose. I loved it! And have become interested in more traditional techniques and since then had many fun Leather workshops and adventures away with my Leather family.
In 2011 I had the pleasure of working at Weta Workshop in Wellington on The Hobbit movie. That was a great 6 months working in their Leather Room on costumes and armour. Richard Taylor encouraged us to look at other workshop areas and talk to people about their skills and ideas. We all learnt off each other and worked hard with fantastic results. We were invited to the cast and crew screening for each movie as it was released which was exciting and our experience was enjoyed by many folk who new us.
My interest in leather is like a thirst, I love the beauty and versatility from art pieces to practical tool covers. Also very interested in the old hand machines and tools. Yes I have a sewing machine problem
On a daily basis I plodded away at the bread and butter end to survive but my mind was always wondering off to the never ending list of things I want to make and find out about.
After 10 years at Glenview Shopping centre I was exhausted ..over worked unpaid..so decided to sign my lease over to co workers and basically packed up and disappeared to re coup and re cover. So grateful to have time to self care.
I sold my beloved hand made mountain home in Tasmania and proceeded to build a new workshop on my front lawn here in Hillcrest. After 12 months it's a reality and so pleased to be back and creating.