Welcome to my website and thank you for your interest in my work. I'd like to begin by giving you some background.
In 1968, during my sophomore year at Colgate University in Hamilton, NY, I headed west to do an independent study project at USC. During my stay in LA I discovered MacPherson's, a manufacturer of saddles and tack that is a west coast institution. My brother, then a medical student at USC, brought me to explore a huge bin of leather scraps at their factory. Into the bin we dove to sort through beautiful bark tanned shoulders, oil tanned side latigo and fragrant lining leathers. On my first visit to MacPherson's Leather I was hooked. I knew I had to create something from this very interesting medium. I started visiting leather shops and galleries on both coasts to see how this wonderful material could be embellished and made into a range of useful items. I brought a good deal of family tradition to this quest.
My family had a tradition of craftsmanship. Raised in the Great Depression, my parents were thrifty and very handy. I spent hours with my father in his wood shop. My mother enjoyed caning chairs, preserving food and making gloves. My brother, Howard, is a wonderful furniture maker and amateur photographer. My brother, Richard, enjoys painting, cooking and photography. I guess you could say I had a solid foundation for my interest in leather craft.
In the sixties, sandals were all the rage so that's where I started. I taught myself how to cut, assemble and sew. I then made pocketbooks, belts and some very basic wallets. Tooling was popular and I enjoyed experimenting with different designs. My creative instinct took over and any project seemed exciting and possible. I remember that early in my career I made custom belts for cartoonists. They literally wrapped themselves in the comic figures I hand tooled into their belts. Craft shows were a way to sell my more conventional items and support myself. They were also invaluable for consumer feedback which I routinely solicited from those examining the work. My craft developed over 40 years with the help of my customers.
In the eighties and nineties I worked full time as a social worker, hospital administrator and college professor in the New York area. I also pursued my doctorate in Social Policy. My wife and I raised two wonderful daughters while doing craft shows on weekends. Evenings and free time were spent in my shop coming up with new items and perfecting old ones. I hoped that one day I would have a studio in a bucolic, quiet area and that I would work on my craft full time. I feel very lucky to have recently realized that dream in the great state of Vermont, in an area where I had been a part-time resident for two decades.
In the summer of 2008, I packed my shop and house into a twenty-four foot truck and moved to Fayston, VT, a small town next to Waitsfield in the Mad River Valley. "The Valley" is well known as the home of Sugarbush and Mad River Glen ski areas. Less well known is the Valley's role as incubator for a range of artistic innovation in architecture, food and design. This tradition sustains all the Valley artists.
In my case, for the first time I have natural sunlight to work by, an inspiring view of the Green Mountains to the south and a wildflower pasture to the north. The textures, temper and fragrance of leather have always led me to create a range of items that give great service and enjoyment to my customers. Happily, I now have the inspiration of the Vermont countryside, a very special community of people and the wonderful Yankee tradition of craftsmanship to help me advance my craft to the next level.
I hope you will soon visit the beautiful Mad River Valley in central Vermont. My work can be seen at local craft fairs (see listing), the Waitsfield Farmers' Market and the Burlington Farmers' Market on summer and fall weekends. I look forward to greeting you and showing you firsthand the care that goes into creating my signature items.