Since the start of the year the world seems to have been going through, country by country, a rolling three months of semi or total inactivity sometimes mandated and sometimes voluntary. Even in those countries where the governments have argued that their citizens should carry on as normal a degree of caution, if not fear, has reduced travel and economic activity.
It has changed human behaviour. Shopping has for the moment moved on line, and we know from SARS a decade ago in Asia that some of that transfer will not return. It has established the #WFH for those who work from home. We also some changes in style with #binchic for the casual dress worn for putting the refuse out and making the quick permitted trip to the local convenience store, and #COVIDchic for homeworking and video conferencing.
But another aspect is a return to nature and natural things, and with it a return to craft. Cooking, gardening, knitting, jigsaws, painting and drawing have all become more popular. Hopefully mending, repairing and repurposing will become part of this so that we start to think of buying items that are a little better made – able to withstand more than one or two cycles in the washing machine – look after them, mend them and refurbish them.
Talking about items that we enjoy owning and looking after, albeit normally with absolute minimal maintenance, leather items are one of the best and crafting leather items of all sorts is something well worth learning in these quieter more reflective moments.
Around the world suppliers are helping out. In particular in the UK we have https://www.identityleathercraft.com a small business in the hills in northern end of the Midlands, amidst surroundings filled with ancient castles and country houses. They have been selling vegetable tanned leathers for many years and doing weekend workshops to help those interested in historic re-enactments, outdoor living and leather craft for its own sake. In recent weeks with those events all terminated for the foreseeable they have adapted their on line presence and are working on line. Their website covers making a simple messenger bag, for all those buying new bicycles or fetching their old ones out of the shed, starting on basic bookbinding and making masks and the like and all the materials can be bought from their on line store.
Both in the UK and around the world there are others doing something similar and they are easily found. Now is the moment to get involved in this activity wherever you sit in the supply chain. Let us support the new artisans, you never know where they might go once embarked on their leather journey.
20th May 2020