Journal

Only Ever By Hand

Introducing our fine leather atelier Mark Hanks
Hi. I’m Mark. I’m the Creative Director and fine leather atelier at Far From Lost.

One day I decided I wanted a leather jacket. I couldn’t find one I liked, so I figured what the hell, I’m gonna design and make my own. I found an atelier’s school in San Francisco, where the owner is an ex-Hermes artisan. I fell in love with the craft and never looked back. I fell in love with leather. In case you’re wondering, yes - I’ve still got the jacket.

 

 

Leather speaks to me in a particular way.

It’s organic, moldable and malleable. It’s incredibly tactile. Leather also stitches well. It smells good. It’s also very durable and gains a patina over time. It almost seems to have a life to it. I'm just viscerally enthralled by it.

 

In terms of how I design, I’ll sketch out a few ideas and get some feedback.

Then we’ll make a prototype, and review the leathers we have available. It can take several iterations to evolve before it becomes the perfect wallet.

 

Making wallets by hand involves many small, delicate and intricate tasks.

Tying off the end of the stitching runs is one that springs to mind. We use this method where, when we’re done stitching, we’ll tie a square knot, and then hide the knot between layers of leather so it’s secure. It sounds minor but it’s such a delicate task which is immensely time consuming.

I make everything by hand here in San Francisco.

Wallets often require a high degree of hand stitching as there are a lot of tight curves and small spaces. I like to think my hands work as good as any machine. Plus hand stitching - specifically the saddle stitch - is a strong stitch. It looks better, it’s more consistent, and it gives me more overall control.

Over the course of my career, I must have done hundreds of thousands of stitches.

After you’ve done it so much, it becomes like a zen thing. You can just sit and stitch and get into the rhythm. It takes a lot of practice to become good at it. It’s very satisfying. The downside? Calluses.

 

The fact we only use remnant leather absolutely holds a deeper meaning for me.

We’re taking something that would otherwise go to landfill and making something both useful and beautiful. That’s something to feel good about.

I don’t know whether I’m a perfectionist. I’m just fussy.

It’s part of my nature. I sweat the details. I like to think this allows me to make a better product at the end of the day. I hope you’ll agree.

Got an interesting story to tell?
We're all ears. Get in touch, here.

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