MADE Maker Sue Lowday talks about the sustainability of buying high-quality leather goods. New one-off pieces, which proved popular with collectors at the last show in August 2020, will be available this September!
What are you working on right now?
I am currently working on a very special vegetable tanned leather case for the Bishop of Stepney to hold a newly commissioned Crosier. I have been making and engraving plates that will be embossed into the leather – a line of poetry from Gerard Manley Hopkins, dragonflies and a kingfisher. These are jewellery techniques I learned when studying silversmithing and jewellery in the 1970s.
Where have you found inspiration during lockdown?
I live in Bonchurch in the Isle of Wight, and have been exceptionally lucky, because I was offered a patch of land for a vegetable patch prior to the lockdown. The veg patch has wonderful views of the sea, and the daily walk takes me through beautiful woods full of song birds and past an 11th century church. Inspiration is all around. My new embossed leaf and fruit belts have been developed from observing nature.
Tell us about the pieces you’ll exhibit at MADE Makers.
My super soft and sensual leather key and coin purses are all one-offs. There are lots of colours to choose from. My hand-dyed vegetable tanned leather pen pots are also one-offs.
I’m fascinated by the gorgeous and sustainable qualities of the particular leathers that I’m using. Oak bark tanned leather and vegetable tanned leather both have eco-credentials in manufacturing. The leather has incredible strength and longevity compared with manmade materials. It can be passed down for generations.
What do you think the arts sector needs to move forward after lockdown?
What the arts sector needs is money and government support. I seriously think that there will be a few years of skills lost to art students if they are not able to go in to the studios on a full-time basis. You have to learn with your hand and eyes, and you need the experience of using equipment in the universities with guidance from tutors and technicians.
Snap up high-quality, one-off leather pieces here on our website from 9am on Saturday 5th & Sunday 6th September.