Well summer has definitely arrived with a bang. It really started when I was in a big tent at Craft Festival in Bovey Tracey.  It then got seriously warm for a few days, and we still have some more heat to look forward to. Those of you who have visited my studio will know that with south facing windows it rapidly becomes a sweat box in sunny weather.

Last month I soldiered on through the heat wave finishing off a few projects.  The more unusual projects included:

  • making a pedal car seat, and a new back rest
  • an epipen holder for two epipens, with belt loops
  • covering cylindrical rollers for a display stand
  • preparing a bridle for framing, after a much loved horse passed away
  • creating some accessories for a Brompton cycle – a carry handle has been completed, and a bar bag is on the way
  • case for a conductors baton as an anniversary gift

Of course belts, bags and chair repairs weren’t forgotten.   And did I mention I was at Craft Festival in Bovey Tracey.

Bovey Tracey Craft Festival

If you love crafts, and want to meet makers showing off their handiwork, I recommend a visit to this event.  Put it in your diary for June next year.  Go at least once in your life.  The carefully curated selection of crafts on show is truly spectacular, and everyone is only too happy to discuss their work.  I only wish I  had more time to visit all the stalls and meet more makers.  A listing of who attended is on the Craft Festival website.

Furniture Repairs Training

To date, all the furniture repairs I have taken on involve working with vegetable tan leather.  The style of chair is alway a slung seat or back made from a thick piece of leather carrying the weight of the person.  An example of this would be a directors chair.  This style of  work is a natural extension of saddlery work using the same tools and materials.

After turning down many requests to repair leather upholstery I looked into training courses on leather upholstery repairs.   I found Judy Bass of LTT Leathercare in Harrogate.  (And no I didn’t just want an excuse to go to Betty’s).  Chrome tan leather that is used for furniture upholstery is a very different product to the vegetable tanned leather I am used to working with.  It is much softer and handles differently.  I spent several days being taught how to identify the different finishes, and how to make common repairs.  Throughout the course I was amazed at just how much can be done to restore the condition of damaged leather.

Time out of the studio

Now that summer has well and truly arrived I will be taking a bit of time out of the studio over the next month.  If only to cool down a little.

As a sports fan I will be making the most of the opportunity to go to the Commonwealth Games.  Then I have a week at sea planned.  The idea is to ensure I will get a complete rest from the computer, and have a chance to reboot my fried brain.   Don’t fear though, the month won’t be all play.  I will be spending time researching ideas for new projects, and planning for the next half of the year.  Like most craft makers who do markets, the second half of the year is always my busiest time, and needs time spent planning for it.

I will still be contactable by phone 07733 320 969 but emailing enquiries@stephrubbosaddlery.co.uk would be best.  I will get back to you as soon as I can but responses will be a little slower than normal.

Latest Bag – at last one for me

Left is a picture of the bag I made for myself a little while back.  I wanted something that I could use at events to hold all my necessary paperwork and some essentials – lunch, a flask of tea, maybe an extra warm layer of clothing.  It is also large enough to take a 15″ laptop.  Most of which I didn’t need in the heat at Bovey Tracey Craft Festival.

Sitting on the stand, it doubles up as an example of my work, my hand stitching and I can show off the different leathers and techniques.  In this case the leathers are: Burgundy Sedgwick’s Bridle, Tan Lamport from Metropolitan, Black and Tan Dakota from Marcus Gear, with a nappa lining.

I hand stitched it in yellow linen thread, and it has a carry handle, a martingale style shoulder strap and is closed using billet studs.