Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tanners; A Dying Art Form in North America

I spend a lot of time working in and around leather jackets. It seems to me that for most people the whole process of where jackets come from and how they are made is a bit of a mystery. I spend all my time concentrating on how to improve little tiny differences of the process. So I am going to spend some time sharing some of the basic mechanics of making leather. I can tell you that trying to recreate the way leather was made in 1900 is no easy task. The reality is that modern clothing is a reflection of modern processes, and modern processes are about automation, profits ahead of value and reification. Essentially the North American Tannery is an endangered species. Leather is made in China, South America and other places where labour, animals and environmental practices are seldom a concern and often unregulated. The "craft" of making leather is for the most part gone. I'm trying to rediscover that craft to bring authenticity back to the process, along with an intrepid bunch of intrested others who I connect with daily via the web, this blog and my business.