A lesser known fact about SLC is our dedication to serving inmates across the nation through approved leather craft programs. These programs allow inmates to purchase leather and crafting tools, giving them something to occupy their time and, in some cases, earn some cash.
Tommy developed an interest in leather craft through one of those programs and now, he’s come to work for us! Here’s a bit of his story.
Tommy is a 32-year-old production assistant that has been with Springfield Leather for a few months. As we mentioned before, he began his work with leather in prison and quickly grew to love it. He got so good, he even began teaching others the trade. Prior to getting into leather work, his craft experience could be whittled down to “a little bit of wood.” He says that he was attracted to working with leather because he, “just knows [he] likes it a lot.”
He made many purchases with SLC during his time there and from that, created unique projects. His favorite? A pebble grain backpack. Another great project was one he made for his mother. Using our 2lb. ostrich remnants bags, he was able to hand-stitch a handbag, wallet and cell phone case for his mother.
“[I] pieced it together by hand. I tried to get as many colors as I could and used only the best pieces. [Each piece is] all hand-sewn, with rolled edges. The bag has pig liner and suede pockets with brass hardware.” It took him several bags of remnants to get the right pieces with a week and a half’s work.
These days, Tommy is working on bags for a big client but says that his favorite thing to make are wallets. We asked him if there is anything he wanted people to know about him and leather work and he said, “Give it a try. Don’t give up if something doesn’t go how you want. Take your mistake and use it to get a better project.”