Wednesday, April 20, 2011


While in Dallas I discovered the most amazing leather artist - located in, of all places, the main floor of my loft building (Southside at Lamar Lofts).   Arthur Porter is the artist in residence at  Dallas Designing Dreams. Arthur teaches children and adults - and gives generously of his time and talents to needy and troubled children.  He teaches them not only leather skills, but also marketing so that they can set up a business.  His motto is "when we serve others, we are serving God".
I wandered into his shop one Saturday after seeing a flyer about a leather cuff enbellishment class he was offering. Arthur's shop was ASTOUNDING! GORGEOUS GORGEOUS purses, belts, cuffs, chaps, clutches and hats. I asked Arthur if he offered a class in PURSES and he said yes!  10 hrs of instruction, set your own hours.
....and so I did.
I picked out one of the purses he had designed that I liked. I didn't want to waste time on designing my own pattern at this time - i just wanted technique.
...and technique I GOT!
Arthur let me pick out any leather i wanted (from a HUGE assortment). he went thru types of leather and weights of leather. what would work and what was too heavy or too thin. Then i picked out a lining. Arthur showed me how to use a rotary cutter the RIGHT way. How to cut straight and accurately. Then he had me use the INDUSTIAL SEWING MACHINE - only you don't sew with the motor you turn the hand wheel so your stitching stays very accurate. The motor is on, but you barely use it to keep the wheel unlocked. I learned how to put in the zippers, finish the leather edges and how to install rivets, eyelets, studs and snaps. The class was one on one and FABULOUS! Arthur also gave me patterns for this purse, several clutches, cuffs and a hat. He had me practice rivets, snaps and other findings as well as stitching, on leather scraps.
NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE teaches leather purse making - I was able to make a purse in 2 1/2 days (OK, it took me 18 hrs, not 10 - but i talked a lot to his apprentice, Debbie)
I can't wait to make another one!

Purse I made
here's a slideshow of my purse making.  I forgot to take pictures of all the steps, but here's most of it.....there are descriptions for many of the photos, but i can't get them to appear on the slideshow....


Joanne Huffman said...

What a great purse! This sounds (reads?) and looks like such a great experience. Are you going to become a leather artist now?

Karen Owen said...

Oh my gosh, Connie! Your purse is amazing. Will you do more? I also enjoyed your photos of your stay in Dallas in the last post. What show were you working on?

Amber Dawn Inventive Soul said...

Oh WOW!!! He is awesome and your purse came out REALLY nicely!!! I so enjoyed this post!
I'll try to catch up with your posts when I have some more free time! I've missed you!

kathy mc said...

What a cool purse and how cool that you made it. Makes it even more special. Yes, you should make more. What fun you must have had in that class.