All CARV products are made using locally sourced leather, hardware and tools. Becky believes in supporting local businesses to help develop a stable and diverse local craft economy, rich with skills and job opportunities in the artisan craft and manufacturing sectors.
Becky has researched extensively over the past year to find the most attractive, durable and sustainable local supplies and is happy to share recommendations below.
FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY AND FILM
All editorial photographs are shot by Olivier Barjolle - He is creative, meticulous and comes up trumps every time.
The CARV short film was directed by Adrian Florin-Ardelean, with assistance from Emma Shoesmith. Adrian is an extremely talented film maker set to have a sparkling career in film documentaries.
Traditional leather producers (known as tanneries) are becoming increasingly scarce in the uk, but they produce such beautiful quality leather from low impact techniques that their complete loss would be a tragedy. Here are some lovely places to support if you can stretch to it:
J&FJ Baker and Co have a beautiful set up in Devon with the last remaining oak bark tannery. Their website is worth a visit to get an insight into the amazing 90 day process of traditional leather production.
Thomas Ware & Sons is one of the biggest remaining traditional tanneries in the UK. Based in the west of England, this family run business supplies the highest quality leathers.
LEATHER STOCKISTS & MERCHANTS
Sadly there are few remaining leather merchants that you can pop into to view before you buy, but there are a couple of places (both online and with accessible warehouses) that stock leathers from UK tanneries or import from Italy and abroad.
Visit JT Batchelor in Dalston for an Aladdin's cave of leather, hardware and tools. Get yourself behind the counter and out the back to experience the full array of leather rolls. And be sure to visit during the week as these boys don't work weekends.
Metropolitan Leather Co is an long established company operating since 1919, which finishes leather by hand in the UK. Their veg tanned leathers are beautiful and they provide a comprehensive samples board for free so you can touch before buying.
A&A Crack and Sons are based in Northampton and stock a wide range of vegetable tanned leathers from Italian tanneries.
S.C.Hall and Son is a family run businesses who used to operate from central London but have since moved away. They have a great honest approach and open invitation to visit the warehouse.
Ed Tanner have a great looking website and reassuring guarantees about the quality of the leather on offer.
FITTINGS AND HARDWARE
It is really tricky to find good quality hardware (buckles, eyelets, studs etc) that is produced in the uk. Typically the best things come from saddlery suppliers who tend to favour brass and durable quality that works well with bag making.
Abbey England is a favourite. They have a wide product range and are lovely and helpful. Best to get hold of a catalogue to understand the full range as the website can be tricky.
JT Batchelor stocks good quality brass fittings at great prices. You can visit the warehouse in Dalston to browse the shelves for the fittings that best meet your needs.
TOOLS AND ACCESSORIES
J Hewit & Sons are suppliers of fine leathers for bookbinding, but they also supply leatherworking tools, equipment and sundries. They have a useful steel set square that is perfect for marking and cutting 45 degree angle corners.
ARTISANS are suppliers of embossing stamps and related services.
Axminster Tools are a tool and machinery supplier. Their long straight edge is excellent for getting a neat and accurate cut.
R Murphy shoe and leather knives are second to none with a find blade that gives a clean cut. Becky uses their square point shoe knife. Unfortunately they are based in the USA, but Becky is yet to find a comparable UK based alternative - thoughts welcome!