It’s been a while since I last surfaced from the physical world of leather to open a virtual window at Devon Leather and shared my current projects with you. I have a good excuse. Possibly.
After a flurry of sales, I have been focusing on researching, designing and trialing prototypes, and choosing to undertake an occasional commission. Also, I have to admit, the lure of an unusually extended period of fine weather here in the UK has tempted me away from the workshop now and again. I feel like I’ve soaked up sunshine and light, storing it away for the dark cold days of winter ahead, and it will carry me through those winter afternoons when I will be perched on the high stool stitching, in pools of light from two lamps as darkness falls.
As I write this now, we are having the warmest autumn day since records began; the trees have turned and leaves are now falling, meaning that I need to sweep up outside the workshop door every couple of days or so. I also have harvested the squashes from the vegetable patch, and they are sitting, drying out and glowing in sunshine on the windowsill, where I can see them as I stitch, too precious to carve into Halloween lanterns.
When I initially had a vague idea of starting a business in leather work, I set to on the nuts and bolts of the business side of it- I found a name, designed a logo, got a very clever friend to set up my website, acquired lots of lovely vintage tools and materials, thought about how I was going to make sales and started developing my range of products. So far so good. My online market stall, on Etsy, seems to bring me plenty of sales- it’s open 24/7, in all weathers, and I can carry on working at the same time. Or not. And there-in lies the blessing and challenge. It is a privilege that I feel few are afforded, perhaps due to a culturally-entrenched earn/spend treadmill, that we often don’t have the time to pause, and decide which activity is best suited to the weather and our inclinations. Here, however, I have a myriad of choices, I can put on my wellies and either go for a long walk along the river fields, or weed the veg patch, or seeing dark clouds gathering over the tannery roofs, turn back to the planning and stitching. It may be an idiosyncratic way to run a business, but perhaps it is a more natural way to live.
So here I am, 18 months or so since my first post. I’m not working to order, or in an orderly fashion, but I am having fun, making whatever I fancy next and seeing if it will sell. Perhaps I will become a conventional business one day, (I can see several of you shaking heads in despair) but for now I just see where the next stitch takes me, and maybe this afternoon I will go and walk in the sunshine for an hour.