Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Leather Works with You

While searching for shops that used recycled materials to feature on my blog, I came across Leather Works With You. I do believe this is the first shop I have seen on Etsy using Leather!

Where are you from? Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was raised on a ranch in Oklahoma where we raised beef, had horses and wheat. I am married, moved and currently live in Western South Dakota just on the edge of the Beautifull Black Hills.

How did you decide on your shop name?
I have always wanted to be a saddle maker, although a tough choice, I chose to work with leather in various forms thus the name leatherworkswithyou , because it does work with me. Very forgiving, smells good, comes in lots of colors, weights and wide variety.

Why did you start your business?
My husband was starting a new business driving a big Black Percheron Team and giving rides, so it just fit to have mine.

I have always been self motivated, some people say I have a creative mind. I usually work alone, listening to the birds sing or watch the wildlife pass by our deck in the summer. This helps me come up with creative ideas for my jewelry and leather products. It makes me happy to create a piece for a prospective buyer. I never make the same piece of jewelry or leather wear twice, as everything is original. I take my wears to Trade Shows where customers would compliment me on their purchases. This builds confidence that my work will sell. I have been as far away as Minneapolis,Mn., Pocatello, ID., National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nv., Valley City, ND and Wichita, Ks. I have met other vendors who became family and friends. My husband and my two grown sons helped me set up shop and help me sell from time to time.

*What got you started in recycling?
I had recycled as early as 1987, rinsing cans, plastic and tying up newspaper into bundles.

It became more awesome to me when I visited a chapmaker whose large supply of surplus leather seemed endless. Going to large piles of various colors and weights of leather, I could just imagine all the things I could make. Seeing the rough edges or torn holes in the leather would create a flap for a purse. Measuring hunk of leather to see if I could make something fabulous for someone! I use the leftovers, the throw aways, the material the Chapmakers considered junk. I would turn them into beautiful purses,belts or even wallets. I only buy 2 times a year and work on that amount throughout that time. I don't have a leather sewing machine so it is all hand cut, hand punched and hand sewn by me. This makes my product authentic!

*What’s your supply addiction; is there a specific color or type of supply you just can’t pass up?
I like to have a lot on hand so I have much to choose from. Many different colors. Perhaps I rely on more subdued browns, light and dark tans, burgundy's and black. I currently have the leather, color sorted into style,shape and color.

*What motivates or inspires you to create?
I might see someone carry a purse or a cuff or see it in a magazine that I would like to try my hand at.

I have a very special long distance friend I met one year ago on Etsy. We have alot in common, both like to work with leather. She instills in me the knowledge, courage and enthusiasm to continue or to list more items on Etsy. We motivate each other. I attribute my success and enthusiasm to her.

*Which item in your shop did you enjoy making the most and why?
They all are fun and made with enthusiasm! Something that is done in a shorter amount of time is gratifying. I need that shot of Wow! So are the purses that take hours. I feel the best when someone tells me I do good work, so I try to do even better, learning new skills, new methods to improve the look and craftsmanship. I work at keeping the style up to date, watching colors for the season and the current trend.

*Do you have a blog?
I am sorry I haven't set one up as of yet, though I am interested to do so and would invite you to check at my shop front for that at: and also where recycled fabrics are sewn together. Incorporating upcycle leather into some of my jewelry pieces, you can also visit

*What is your favorite shop that uses recycled materials, and/or your favorite blog about recycling?
My chapmakers shop!
My sons give me jeans to patch and after years of doing that, I choose to give them back something that would keep them warm and still look good. I made a California King size and a Twin denim quilt each with Warm N Natural filler, cotton backing or recycled sherpa from Wool rich, all in 3 wks. Watch for denim quilts from time to time in my shops. I also made wool clutch purses (and with recycled leather) out of recycled wool samples.

I am working with lolos in the Chilean Relief Project where 8" sqs will be made and donated by various individuals. I will be sending squares to her to be completed into a blankets(s) by organizers of the project. Portions of the proceeds of my LeatherWorksWithYou sales will provide for postage in sending these sqaures. If you would like to follow along you may convo me or go to lolos link @ Storque,

Recycling material are out there, just need to look for them and imagine the possibilities! Our public is warming up to the idea, too.

I have just read some blogs that remark about recycling. I find it very interesting what is done with various materials, alot of which is in your home. Recycle, upcycle, repurpose!


  1. great post!
    I love the pocket on the quilt!

  2. Very interesting! I can't believe she does everything by hand but love that she actually does!

  3. I just love leather, the look, the feel and the smell of it.


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