Date: December 1, 2017 | Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek |
As the creator of leather goods brand DOWER, this Little Rock artisan is setting the bar for handmade bags, wallets, and more
Tell us how you got your start in leather working. Have you always had an interest in this craft? Though I have a fashion design degree, it is something I have only been interested in recently. I had no idea leather crafting on this level even existed. Several years ago I began working with the late Joe Brogdon making belts from repurposed leather and saddle tack. He began developing his own designs and needed some sewing done. To keep with his rustic handmade feel, I began teaching myself how to hand sew with two needles and thread. It creates what is called the saddle stitch. It’s the same stitch I use on everything. He is definitely the one who originally got me interested in this craft.
As an art form, is there something in particular that interests you about working with the leather and your hands? Yes, definitely—the fact that it’s all me. My hands and I are the only ones responsible for beginning, finishing, and then guaranteeing the product.
Is there a particular type of leather you use? Most of the leather I use is from a tannery called Wickett & Craig. They’ve been around for 150 years. I prefer their English bridle leather; it’s vegetable-tanned, incredibly durable, and ages beautifully with minimal care. For my wallets, I use another vegetable-tanned leather called Buttero, which is from the Conceria Walpier Tannery in Italy. It’s by far my favorite.
You mentioned that you were responsible for everything. is there anyone who works alongside you? Right now, I’m the only person physically creating the pieces. However, I do have massive financial and moral support from my wife. You will see her anywhere I’m selling the products. She is my champion and the reason I can do this full-time. She is also a far better salesperson.
Speaking of that, where can our readers get their own Dower bag or wallet? You can purchase directly from my website (dower.co) or at any of the shows I attend. I will be at Art of the Bar at South on Main on December 10. Stay tuned to our social media for other possible pop-up-shop dates.
DOWER, Little Rock, dower.co