5 Lessons We Learnt From Leathercrafting

Leathercrafting is an artisanal art that is revered by many for its delicate yet complex set of processes, which span across sourcing for the right type and thickness of leather to the actual crafting process. Artisans would probably tell you that it takes a jack of all trades to master the art of leathercrafting as leathercrafting demands for a steady pair of hands, and an eye for design and precision. 

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Think you got what it takes? So, did we and that takes us to our very first lesson.

1. Start small. Over-ambition will be your downfall.

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Although confidence is key, I’m pretty sure it is tempting to bite off more than you can chew (shoutout to fellow overachievers out there!). However, leathercrafting consists of many different processes that require the utmost attention at any given stage.

To put it into perspective, imagine a karate kick. A karate kick appears to seemingly be one movement, but in reality, it comprises many different movements that form a kick.

Source: Karate Blitz

Our advice: Break up your leathercrafting project into smaller parts or start on a simple project like a cardholder or passport sleeve. This way, you can focus on perfecting your saddle stitching and leather cutting. By narrowing your focus down to specific tasks, you’ll be able to make the most out of each process and eventually be a master at leathercrafting. Slowly but surely!

2. Deliberate practice. Passive practice does not lead to mastery.

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You may have heard of the saying “practice makes perfect” but we would like to take that a step further and say, “deliberate practice makes perfect”. Though there is a fixed set of basic techniques that leathercrafting requires, each piece of work is unique because no two hand-stitched leather are the same! As such, it is incredibly important to have set aside reasonable goals and sufficient room for improvement. By adopting a purposeful and methodical form of practice, you will nurture a disciplined and exploratory mindset that every successful expert in their respective fields possess. Think Steve Jobs and Yayoi Kusama.

Image source: Yayoi Kusama Studio Inc.

3. Maintain Your Motivation. Motivation is mastery's fuel.

Seeking a motivation behind your endeavours may be relatively doable, but maintaining that motivation is an entirely different story. More often than not, we pin our motivations to our fluctuating moods. I remember the last time I vowed to work on my fitness, only to make poor excuses for my lack of motivation because I wasn’t “feeling it”. 

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Whether your underlying motivations come from within or externally, the key to sustaining this motivation is to cultivate a habit. Setting aside the time and place to practice minimises the number of obstacles you’ll face when you’re lacking the motivation. There’s no more “I’m too busy”, “It’s inconvenient” and every other excuse to hold you back.

4. Be Curious. Experiment with different approaches.

Leathercrafting has been around for centuries and yet it remains popularised today. Why? Because of innovation and creativity. If Egyptians could time travel to 2020, they would probably be flabbergasted to see leather couches. 

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No one ever becomes a master of their craft through mere practice. It takes curiosity and experimentation. Sometimes, we develop a better understanding of our tasks when we experiment and undergo numerous trial-and-errors rather than blindly following the footsteps of others. In fact, without curiosity and experimentation, we wouldn’t have discovered biofluorescence of marine animals

Image source: Christian Gloor, Wikimedia Commons

5. Patience. Trust the process.

As much as we are eager to pick up a new skill, in reality, we are unable to perfect it overnight. Research has proven that it usually takes six months or more to develop a new skill. So why be unnecessarily hard on yourselves to perfect something that takes years for craftsmen to master? Trust the process and in time, you will come to realise that mastery cannot be rushed.

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At Culturally, we offer customised hands-on cultural experiences for you and your loved ones to enjoy and have fun whilst learning about other cultures! You can also check out our range of leather craft workshops available in Singapore here. 


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