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So last month, I joined the leather crafting workshop with the awesome folks of Bags by Rubber Tree, helmed by the cool couple Ruben and Trina.  Leather is one of those materials that gets me excited with making. It holds tons of possibilities and can be used by a diverse set of people with different aesthetics. At the same time, it was something I have never done before. I didn’t know how I would be with leather. Would it be a material that I would like? Would it come out the way I expect it to be? I also came in to look at different processes in making a product and I felt that this would be a good medium to learn from.

And so, I was both happily and anxiously anticipating the workshop. There was not much waiting since Ruben and Trina were there when I arrived and have laid out the kits we used for the next 3 hours: contraptions both familiar (cutters and rulers) and unfamiliar (4-pronged fork like thingamajig — they can give you the proper name used for that).

In the next minutes, more participants started coming and discussion on what we’ll be doing ensued. The first hour dealt with the familiarization of the material, the tools needed and the techniques necessary to complete the project. They laid out different types and dyes of leather, most of which we used for the afternoon.

Our projects, as we were told, should be something useful: an envelope that fits in a gadget, a book cover or something that was simple enough to complete and not be frustrated with the material. My project was an iPad case.

The author with his finished project
The author with his finished project.

With the guidance of our facilitators, we started drawing, measuring, cutting, gluing, hammering and sewing away. In between breaths, Ruben and Trina took a look at our work to see where we were and at the same time, when we were stuck, they were quick to instruct us to move in the right direction again. I for one, made a couple of mistakes, but no matter, this was part of the history of my project. After a quick 2 and a half hours, the projects started taking shape. Most had theirs half-sown at this point, knew how to complete theirs and took off to finish it at home. I still had time to complete mine so I was sewing away while chatting with Ruben.

After so many beats, I was done with my iPad case and one happy camper at that. Finishing something is good but finishing something that I made for myself was great! Here’s to the next project!

Thanks Bags by Rubber Tree for an awesome time!

Lex Reyes is a graphic designer, design thinker, tinkerer of things and co-founder of Craft MNL.