Workshop 1209 Leather Design
Owner. Creator. Instructor.
Designer | Maker | Singer | Songwriter
Welcome to WORKSHOP 1209 – my leather design studio in Geelong Victoria Australia. Here I explore the artistic and historical aspects of leather craft and run classes to teach folks how to incorporate leather into their work or as a hobby. I am passionate about creating contemporary designs with a combination of ancient skills and updated techniques. I prefer using naturally tanned leathers, non-toxic adhesives, and natural dyes – to enhance the look and feel of the final project in the most natural way possible.
My journey started at the Canberra School of Art where I was lucky enough to train in the Leather Workshop – the only remaining tertiary course in Leatherwork offered in the country at that time. I spent 4 years at the workshop training under many great masters including Penny Amberg, Colin Lee, Mark Arbuz, Garry Greenwood, and Ross Wootten. Their influences have touched my designs in many ways – including leather selection, use of adhesives, colouring and finishing. I am so grateful for the time I was able to spend under their mentorship.
After my “formal” training I was able to work with some masterful craftsmen – learning their techniques and adding skills and style to my repertoire. I worked with Bob Feast in Sydney and learned not only leather craft but production and sales skills as well. We made belts, bags and footwear and to be sold at the Paddington Market in Sydney – where he has had a stand for 40 years. I also worked with Bruce Erskine of Awl Leather – making sandals, belts and covers for scientific equipment. Bruce and Bob taught me fine craftsmanship and production techniques in addition to showing me the value of commitment and drive and respect for fellow craftsmen.
As I worked, and gathered new tools and techniques for leather work, I have continued with my Singing |Songwriting career. My first band Steve Grieve and the Mourners took off in the 80’s – we were a guitar rock band and wrote our own music – opening for some major national and international acts. Most recently we have played a small run of shows in and around Sydney and Canberra. Our Album, Caterpillar Maze charted #2 on the British Independent Blues Charts in 2018. My solo music career is also still moving along. There are a couple albums in development – in demos – hopefully they can be completed soon.
Starting WORKSHOP 1209 Leather Design has been a labor of love – love of the craft, love of design, and love from my Mom - I was finally able to expand into new areas of design, materials and adhesives with a small inheritance from my Mother. Join me on the next phase of this journey as we move to a new area and share the art of leather design with a new generation and a new culture.