Amongst the talented crew of artists you’ll discover at the mini Got Craft? at Maker Faire is leatherworker Steven Enns, an industrial design student with a penchant for minimal aesthetic and smart design.
Self-taught, Steven started his leather products company Hand and Sew with a desire to create simpler designs for goods he knew were in demand but could not be found in stores. He now crafts leather wallets, lanyards, sketchbooks and custom items out of his Vancouver studio for sale at markets and local shops around the city.
Can you tell me a bit about Hand and Sew?
Started in late 2012, Hand and Sew was created after unsuccessfully searching for a simple, thin wallet made from natural materials. I picked up an amazing book, “The Art of Hand Sewing Leather” by Al Stohlman (pub. 1977) as well as a few tools and started experimenting. All of the products are made using no machinery, I cut, sew and finish everything by hand.
What inspires you as a maker?
In the leather working community there seems to be two main styles, Old country style leatherwork, and new age ultra modern leatherwork. I’m trying to fit between the two; taking the finishing and bulletproof construction of the old, and combining it with the minimalist smart design of the new.
From Dieter Rams’ Ten Principles for Design:
- Good Design is long-lasting
- Good Design is as little design as possible
When you’re not crafting for Hand and Sew, what kinds of projects would we find you working on?
I am an Industrial Design student going into my fourth and final year at Emily Carr University in Vancouver, where I experiment with soft goods, wood, furniture, programming and electronics. I am also apprenticing at a local company, Palmer and Sons doing design, production and customer service. Nik Palmer taught me a lot about working with English bridle leather (a very thick, and structural leather), crafting a solid product, as well as building a business. He’s definitely someone I look up to.
I took a peek at your blog, and saw a prototype for a sweet women’s envelope clutch. What else is on your list of things to make for Hand and Sew in the future?
I actually finished the final prototype for the Envelope clutch here. I started out small, making wallets and accessories, but really want to expand my product line to include larger items such as tote-bags, duffel bags, backpacks, and purses. I’m also very interested in using other natural materials such as cotton canvas, for some more cost-friendly product alternatives.
What can attendees expect to find at Hand and Sew at Maker Faire next week?
I’ll be there with all of my wares, including a full line of wallets and accessories I’ll be there doing some live demonstrations of how to sew by hand using a saddle stitch, as well as showing some of my new and unique items that you’ll only see on my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages!
Haven’t bought your Vancouver Mini Maker Faire day tickets yet? They’re cheaper if you buy them in advance!