About Helen McLean – Leather Goods & Stationery

Working with leather brings back memories of taking school story books into my parent’s backyard workshop, reading out aloud for mum to hear. While she was busy sewing, I hoped she wouldn’t notice the pages I skipped here and there. I was always more interested in creating things…

I remember the smell of leather in my parent’s workshop and climbing over piles of off-cuts accumulating around dad’s cutting table. Mum’s industrial sewing machine skills never really dawned on me until, as a teenager, I tried using it to make Barbie & Cabbage Patch Kids clothes. I eventually moved onto making human sized clothes for myself, while forever experimenting with arts & crafts well into adulthood.

A year before becoming a mother, I attended a bookbinding workshop, which to this day I remember so well. Warm sunshine and a light breeze came through the class windows, and there was a peaceful quiet throughout the room while all students concentrated on their Coptic bookbinding techniques. I was transported to another time, a time where this traditional art was more common.

The smell of leather now surrounds me in my own home studio, a place where I can take my time and create to my heart’s content. And the only story books I need to read now, are those my teenage son highly recommends I do. Which I admit, are far more interesting than those of my childhood, and I haven’t skipped any pages yet…