The 2005 programme of short courses Tutored by Valerie Michael & Neil MacGregor build upon the techniques described in ‘The Leatherworking Handbook’ by Valerie Michael. Courses take place in their Tetbury workshop. The maximum number of students is five, so everyone receives individual tuition. All tools are provided and a range of leathers, hand tools and other materials are available to buy. (Starter Kits’ cost £110, details on request). If you would like to attend any of the following courses contact the organisers for a booking form. Deposits can be paid by credit/debit cards or cheque.

Michael and MacGregor are We are professional designer/makers with 30 years experience. They have been providing courses for people who want to learn and develop hand leatherworking skills for ten years. Many students go on to set up their own workshops or work in established businesses. For others it becomes a rewarding & creative pastime. Making hand stitched leathergoods does not require a massive outlay on machinery or large premises but can be carried out with a small number of hand tools, working on the kitchen table, in a spare room or a garden shed!

The courses, in order of date, are as follows: April 2-3, Leather boxes & containers, £198 (deposit £98); April 18-22, Design & construction of hand-stitched bags £480 (£200); May 21-22, Making hand-stitched leathergoods, £185 (£85); June 11, Moulded leather flowers, £95 (£50); June 12, Leather carving, £95 (£50); June 13, Moulded leather masks, £95 (£50); August 6-7, Making hand-stitched leathergoods, £185 ( £85); September 3-5, Leather boxes & containers, £288 (£140); September 24-25, Making hand-stitched leathergoods, £185 (£85); October 22-23, Wallets, personal organisers & purses, £198 (£98); November 7-11, Leather restoration & repairs, £490 (£200); November 26-27, Making hand-stitched leathergoods, £185 (£85).

The two-day weekend introductory courses for Making hand-stitched Leathergoods are for people with little or no previous experience and for those who want to ‘go back to basics’. During the weekend students learn: About natural leathers, their qualities & potential; How to use and maintain hand tools; How to hand-stitch with confidence and without stress; Techniques for cut edge finishing including bevelling, burnishing and creasing. Students should complete several projects, eg belt, belt-pouch, bag, mask etc, using these techniques. The cost of materials is not included in the course fee. Dates are: May 21-22, August 6-7, September 24-25 and November 26-27. Full Fee: £185 (deposit: £85)

Design & Construction of hand- stitched Bags is a new five-day course which will look at the design of hand stitched bags. Students will explore sources of inspiration & the history of bag styles to help them develop ideas. They can design a bag and complete it during the course or make a start then complete it at home. This course is suitable for those who have attended an introductory course or who are already experienced in bag making. Areas covered: Choosing the right leathers /linings/ fittings; Construction options, the possibilities; Design & Pattern making. Course notes are provided. April 18-22, full fee: £480 (deposit: £200)

Decorated Leather is a weekend course. Across the world and throughout history, leather has provided a medium for surface decoration. This course introduces students to many of these techniques including tooling (stamping), carving (incising), inlay/onlay, embossing, gilding and colouring. Contemporary and historical examples will give ideas and inspiration! Students require no previous experience in order to enjoy this course. Course notes are provided. Basic materials are provided within the course fee. March 19-20, full fee: £198 (deposit: £98)

Another weekend course is for Wallets, Personal Organisers and Purses. On this course students learn how to make various examples of cut and turned-edge small leathergoods. The course will cover pattern-making, hand paring, knife sharpening, turned edges, linings and hand stitching fine leathers such as calf, goat and pig skins. Course notes are provided. Cost of materials is included in the course fee. October 22-23, full fee: £198 (deposit: £98)

On the five-day course for Restoration and Repairs students learn about restoring and repairing objects made mainly from leather. These can include luggage, leather wall-hangings, furniture, containers, sporting equipment. Techniques covered: The choice and identification of leathers and how they are made; Moulding case corners; Simple colouring, colour matching and ‘ageing’

Paring for leather patches, lap joints and bindings; Stitching – how to repair straps, corners, seams and decorative stitching; Decorative techniques including incising, stamping, embossing, modelling and gilding leather for repairs or to replace damaged areas. Course notes are provided. November 7-11, full fee: £490 (deposit: £200)

One Day Courses: Moulded Leather Flowers, June 11. During the day students will learn how to create beautiful leather flowers and leaves. They can be coloured or left natural and can be used to make jewellery, to decorate boxes, shoes, bags and frames for pictures and mirrors No previous experience is needed to enjoy this course.

Leather Carving, June 12. The day will focus on mastery of the ‘swivel knife’ ! Students will learn how to transfer patterns to natural veg tanned hide, how to create relief and decorative patterns using a range of tools.

Moulded Leather Masks, June 13. Masks are powerful tools, traditionally used in ceremonial and dramatic contexts. Students should be able to make 2 masks and learn pattern making, wet/heat forming, decoration and use of colour. The cost of materials is included in the course fees. Full fee: £95 (deposit: £50)

Leather Boxes and Containers (three days & weekend). Hide boxes and containers can be made in almost any size from tiny ring boxes to large storage containers. On this course students will learn how to do box (corner) and butt stitching. Using cylindrical and rectangular moulds, students will make at least two boxes/containers from high quality hide. Boxes made from natural hide have surfaces which can be decorated using the techniques covered in the course ‘Decorated Leather’. Leather for two boxes included in the course fee. April 2-3, full fee: £198 (deposit: £98); September 2-5, full Fee: £288 (deposit: £140)

Place: The Workshop, 37 Silver Street, Tetbury, Gloucestershire GL8 8DL, UK. Tel/Fax: (+44) 01666 502179. email: