Material possessions: Instant heirlooms from three local leathercrafters

Material possessions: Instant heirlooms from three local leathercrafters

There’s just something about leather: It’s at once rugged and polished. And always cool. Plus, it’s a material that’s easy to source in our area, thanks to local saddle shops and nearby tanneries. Here are three hand-crafters making your next favorite accessory.

Stamp of approval

Siberia native Daniel Foytik became fascinated with leather as a kid, when he’d make his own toys from leather found in his grandfather’s saddlery. Today, his work still has a playful touch—patterns hand-stamped on dyed leather flasks, sunglasses cases, and iPhone covers—but with a high-end polish, sophistication, and confidence. Says Foytik, “There is nothing that we can’t make.”

RSVP Handcrafted

No trouble here

Known best for his furniture pulls—loops of leather that give drawers and cabinets an especially modern-rustic touch—Aaron Baker has been branching out of late. “I’m working on a line of small furniture, a line of toy kits, and laced dog products,” says the Pratt Institute grad. “I think with my art and sculpture background I can manipulate the leather well in 3-D forms. I enjoy molding the leather and pushing to its limits to see what I can make it do.” Last year, he worked on a line of leather slug toys with his two sons, which they launched on Kickstarter.

Trouble & Trace

Something from nothing

If John Coles had to name the thing that he feels sets him apart from other leather workers, it’s his hand-stitching. “Even though it is time-consuming,” Coles says, “it’s my favorite part of the leather-working process.” Having thrown “tens of thousands” of stitches since the first time he experimented with leather work five years ago, Coles’ line of leather rucksacks, duffels, totes, and wallets is built to last, from leather sourced in Pennsylvania, Maine, and down the road in Richmond.

Brother John Leather