Leather bookbags

In Exhibition, Gallery, News by LouLeave a Comment

We are pleased to welcome to the gallery a new artist who works in leather. Gillian will be launching her work in our pop-up gallery during the Wigtown Book Festival, which is very appropriate as she will be offering book bags and leather bound filofaxes.

Here is a bit of information about Gillian and her work…

I live and work in Sussex, but have strong links with the Wigtown area. My husband’s family lives locally and I have gained much inspiration for my work from holidays spent in the area. I’ve got no formal training in the arts, just a lifetime of fettling stuff. I’ve always been creative, I’ve been making things for over many years – I started sewing at an early age making clothes for my dolls and embarked on my first commercial venture at the age of 8 making soft toys for my friends and family.To commemorate 100 years from the start of WW1 – I have included some items embellished with a poppy – £1 from the sale of each item will go to the Royal British Legion Poppy appeal in remembrance of a relative of my husband, Louis McGuffie VC, a Wigtown man who died in action in 1918.”

In a Bind
I always have a sketchbook on the go, not for masterpieces, but to capture ideas and designs.  I’m always looking for a book with a lovely cover, but disappointed when the pages are full and the book goes into a drawer.  I came up with a solution a loose leaf book with a leather cover which I can fill and refill with fresh paper over and over again.  I can also choose what paper to put in my book – whether sketchbook paper, lined paper or just something lovely that’s caught my eye. My books are a standard A4, A5 or A6 standard size. The A4 and A5 books will also take a standard sized refill for when you replace your paper.


Lady Bracknell’s Bags
As I’m an avid collector of handbags I thought I’d start making my own.  My husband bought me a second hand vintage industrial sewing machine for my birthday – it’s a 1920’s machine converted from treadle to an electric motor.  According to the lady who sold it to us it came from a Rolls Royce factory and was used as an upholstery finishing machine.  It’s lovely, simple to use and will sew through practically anything – leather, demin, and fingers!!
All of the leather I use is stuff that can’t be used for it’s original purpose – basically waste from other businesses, these include: the car industry, upholsters, saddleries, makers of bike leathers etc.  I’m making things from bits and pieces and only ever get part of a hide of something. Therefore, I can often make similar items again, but I can rarely reproduce something exactly the same, so many items are unique.
Leather is beautiful and I try to do my best with the materials I have to hand.  As leather is a natural material it will have blemishes and marks within it – I think that’s what makes it beautiful.  I don’t always know how colourfast the leather I use is, so please take care if you get your bag wet – I can’t guarantee the colour won’t run.

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