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craft&design Selected

  Selected Makers

Valerie Michael

I have worked with Neil Macgregor in our business known as MacGregor and Michael for over 35 years, in our Tetbury workshop.

We are designers and makers of hand-stitched leather goods, making a range of work including men’s and women’s bags, belts, cases, wallets, purses, bowls and furniture. All work is individually made, by hand, using high quality materials sourced mainly from the UK and Europe. Using my knowledge and experience, I often combine challenging construction techniques with beautiful vegetable tanned leathers, in order to realise design ideas. There are so many varieties of leather to inspire me, each with there own unique characteristics and qualities. However the foundation of my work is the hand stitching, using linen or silk threads. This is so much stronger than machine stitching and allows me the freedom to construct boxes, cases and bags etc in ways no machine could attempt.  Over many years, we have developed different methods of wet moulding leather, to make bags and for leather bowls which are made in layers then polished to a high finish.

I regularly work with customers on commissions, large and small. The process allows them to be involved in the design of their piece of work, guided by me.

Over the years of fine tuning my skills, I have developed an understanding of the training needs of aspiring designer/makers so run courses for people who want to learn these skills in order to keep the knowledge alive and relevant.  Many students go on to set up their own workshops or to get jobs in established businesses. My book ‘The Leatherworking Handbook’  has sold over 60,000 copies worldwide and has been translated into Spanish and German.

I have work in the collections of Walsall Leather Museum and the Museum of Leathercraft, Northampton

 
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