Traditional leatherwork – an introduction with Jeremy and Carla Bonner

Ref: S4D29500

Location: West Dean
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About this course

Make a selection of small practical items including a purse and belt with vegetable tanned leather using traditional hand tools and skills. Explore different methods of working, including a range of hand stitching and moulding techniques.

Course Description

On this course, you will be working with vegetable tanned leather using traditional hand tools and skills. You will make a selection of small goods which will introduce you to several different methods of working with leather:

- Travel wallet

- Purse – use of a three-piece mould

- Belt

- Pencil case – using wet mouldin.

The projects have been selected to show you how leather can be worked, and to give you a good basis of skills with which to develop your style.

During the course, you will learn about leather, use and techniques of hand tools. The tutors will work alongside you demonstrating each project.

Specialist techniques covered are:

- Selection of leather

- Cutting of leather

- Pattern making

- The use of various hand tools

- Traditional hand stitching techniques

- Using a single/three-piece mould

- Wet moulding

- How to fit buckles, attach fixings and attach straps


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • The leather and sundries for the set projects listed above: travel wallet, a belt, pencil case and purse, with use of tutors’ specialised tools and equipment.

What students need to bring

  • Stout covered footwear – essential in the workshop
  • Notebook and pencil

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • We have a generously stocked craft shop, which opens daily from 8.30am–2pm.
  • For any materials you need to purchase from the shop, we suggest you do so during the first morning of your course, after having discussed with your tutor.

Additional information

Wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. Safety boots, if specified.


Jeremy and Carla Bonner

Jeremy and Carla Bonner established Bonner Leather Studio in 2014 just outside Cirencester, where they work together. Jeremy graduated from Birmingham School of Art and Carla graduated from Newcastle on Tyne Polytechnic.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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