Remember the Golden Age when American Craftsmen made things from scratch? Where hand crafted items were highly regarded and appreciated? It seems a distant memory to many of us who live today, in a new Tech-Savy age where iPhones, Computers, and Social Media seem to have taken over. You can literally find anything that you want or need at the touch of a button.
Let me introduce you to someone who stills believes in the art of leatherwork and who has been crafting with leather for more than 40 years. Meet Greg, owner of Sunrise Leather Works at the Grand Village Shops. He started his business at the age of 16. It has now blossomed into a thriving leather shop full of handmade leather crafts like belts, phone cases, money clips, hats, purses, etc.
I met with Greg to learn the process of how a belt is created, starting with a cow and ending with a gorgeous work of art. Leather is unique; different from any “cloth” put together by man, for it is the actual skin of an animal that grew as the animal grew. The skins of cows provide most of the leather for carving.
These skins must be vegetable tanned so that they will readily absorb moisture, allowing you to mold and form the leather easily. After the 2 week tanning process, the leather is shipped to Greg in “sides”. See Diagram A for the layout of a hide.
Greg and his team of toolers, Virgil and Danny, cut the hides into long strips and begin the tooling process. (See Diagram B) After the belt is finished being tooled, Greg takes it back to his shop to airbrush. The entire process takes a month to complete. The finished product is then put on the shelf for sale.
The work that goes into 1 belt is truly unbelievable. Stop by Sunrise Leather Works at the Grand Village Shops and see these beautiful works of art for yourself.