Clapton designer Kate Sheridan launched leather bag making workshops to sate trend for making and crafting
- Credit: Kate Sheridan
Emma Bartholomew joins in with one of Kate Sheridan’s monthly leather bag making classes, held in her Lower Clapton shop
Kate Sheridan launched her leather bag making workshops after customers expressed an interest in what she was doing when they came into her Lower Clapton Road boutique, where she sells and also makes her wares.
Add that to the current trend for making and crafting, the designer now puts on monthly evening classes.
I was pretty excited at the thought of learning how to make a bag, and even more so at the thought of taking it home and using something I had actually helped create.
On arrival for the three hour workshop - where we sat surrounded by Kate’s covetable range - I make a start choosing what colours of Italian vegetable-tanned leather my bag will be.
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We are here to make the Hex – an ingenious seamless design Kate and her assistant Ida Jonsson came up with a few years ago, and to this day a bestseller.
The main templates have already been cut in a hydraulic metal press, so we just need to pick out the the bag’s front, back, shoulder straps and little bits of leather that will form the fastenings.
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With an array of colours from silver, peach, fern and tan, this is apparently one of the hardest and most time-consuming stages, as participants dwell on whether to create a three-way colour tone or to make one bold statement. I opt for a bright blue body with a black shoulder strap, and couldn’t resist some of the shiny rose gold as a “pop” for the fastenings, as Ida dubbed it.
As we get stuck into the nitty gritty of assembling it all, we tuck into some delectable raw energy balls Ida made for us out of dates and pecans, and a glass of red wine.
It’s clear there’s a lot of love that goes into what Kate and Ida do here in the shop, and it’s fascinating to hear them talk about the dilemmas and everyday life of a designer and maker.
We measure the straps and round of the edges by hammering down a cutter, then hammer a hole cutter into the smaller pieces of leather, according to the templates we have been given. Staining the edges of the leather comes next, which gives a more professional finish than not. You can either do this with the same colour of the leather which is less fiddly than say putting a red edge onto black leather or vice versa.
Threading the whole thing together is the most satisfying part of all. The shoulder strap is woven through the cleverly designed mainstay of the bag – and hey presto it’s complete. The session costs £180 - the price of the bag itself.