If you want to learn more about me and Leodis Leather you can do so below. If you are interested in my other activities be sure to also check out my personal website.
“Living creatively, making something out of nothing, is the biggest kick in the world”
Leodis Leather Origins
From an early age I always had an interest in knives and habitually carried a penknife as a boy (and still do). I grew up in the 80s when it wasn't considered some sort of huge issue like it is now if kids carried penknives - I wasn't in a gang I just liked cutting string and whittling sticks! I suppose times have changed.
As I grew older I started to collect knives in various forms always growing my interest. Around 2003 the film Kill Bill was released and when I saw the SOG Desert Dagger on Uma Thurman’s hip I knew I wanted one so I ordered one.
In Kill Bill the knife is carried in a worn leather sheath which looks great. Imagine my disappointment when my one arrived in a kydex sheath, I didn’t even know you could get plastic sheaths until then.
Around the same time I joined the (now defunct) British Blades forum so that I could talk to other like minded people in the UK. Often on there people shared pictures of things they had made out of leather which I was always impressed with and in the back of my mind I wondered about whether I could make myself a sheath for that desert dagger.
Time went by but in 2009 I decided I wanted to try leatherwork, so in May of that year I ordered my first leather and tools and began to teach myself the craft. Once I started in leatherwork I loved it and spent a lot of time learning, practising and improving. I started with knife sheaths and small accessories but quickly branched out into a wider variety of items.
Once I had started to sell a few of my items I thought I'd better come up with a name for myself. I went through various ideas and quickly decided I didn't really want Atkinson in the name as it didn't sound right. Instead I decided on Leodis Leather.
Leodis is the old name for Leeds and the owl is the emblem of the city of Leeds. Since I am a proud Yorkshireman this is what I chose to mark my work with. The owl is also the emblem of the goddesses Minerva and Athena who are the Roman and Greek goddesses of craft so it represents them also (as well as being a symbol of wisdom).
Leodis Leather Today
Since those early days I have continued to grow my skills though I am still entirely self taught and have never had any kind of lessons or formal training. I still have lots to learn and am always trying to improve my existing skills as well as learning new ones.
I have slowly turned my hobby into a business and am now a semi-professional leather worker. My main job is in IT so the leather is done on a part time basis. What goods I do make I sell through my shop which you are welcome to look at. I do not have any plans to become a full time leatherworker at the moment.
I have also run a very popular YouTube channel since 2009 which now has over a quarter of a million subscribers and has helped countless new leathercrafters on their journey. There are many channels on YouTube doing leatherwork now of course but there weren't when I started, my channel is older than most of what is out there.
When I first started my work I didn't have a dedicated space. I used to get things out and work on the dining table and then put them away again. It quickly got to the point where I constantly had things all over the table so I set some space aside upstairs in my house as my workshop.
Over the years I have variously changed and renovated that space but have always worked in the same room. It's only small (2.5x1.75m) and can be frustrating to work in sometimes but I manage quite well by being organised. It has got more cluttered as time goes by though due to me accumulating more tools and materials - it all has to go somewhere!
I do refer to this space as a workshop as well, a lot of people these days seem to call their workspaces either a studio or an atelier. Both of those words sound too posh to me; maybe it's a northern thing but I'll stick with workshop for now. In 2021 I hope to move to a new house which will mean setting up a new space hopefully with a bit more room.
So far I have customers from 41 countries around the World and also 40 different US states and territories. You can see my customer map below which shows all the places from around the world where people have placed orders.