We would like y’all to get to know Jon of Mes Leather for a special reason. Jon adheres to the family tradition of crafting fine leather goods exclusively by hand. Using only the best quality vegetable-tanned hides, each of his self designed and made pieces are meticulously styled, cut, stitched and finished without the use of a machine.

At present, Jon is in residence at the newly bubbled up artisan commune of Fialeix in the South of France. Here, this summer, Jon will be running inaugural workshops : 3 day courses in which clients will be introduced to the art of hand-made leather work and leave with two to three beautiful custom made pieces amongst the stunning backdrop of the gosh-darn-romantical French countryside retreat. Picture him immersed in nature, offering us city folk a unique atelier that facilitates crafts people, luthiers, book publishers and a whole bunch of artisans who have pride running through their veins.

Us greedy folk here at Ponytail Journal want a piece of this magical pie that Jon is offering over the summer, so in the spirit of creating beautiful things, we have invited Jon to be a resident right here in our own internet space to share his rich knowledge and elegant craft with us. He opens scene with a spread of tools and poof ! A very personal card wallet springs from blood, sweat, and great energy!

“I consciously chose to work by hand as that’s the only way to fully reflect the beauty of organic materials, such as vegetable tanned leather.

I use saddlery traditional tools and I cut each item without using clicker dies. All the elements are joined and punched with pricking irons to create holes for stitching.

For sewing, I use double needles, beeswaxed linen thread and my antique stitching bench,

originally used to hand sew harnesses.I burnish and finish all the edges by hand to create very smooth and round edges on every piece.

I act intuitively, so there’s not much planning involved ahead but a lot of spontaneity. I believe that’s the only way to keep it fun as any restrictions when working on new designs destroy the creative spirit.

I’m a big fan of reviving old concepts and adapting them to contemporary user needs. It can be the whole piece, part of the design or sometimes only just one detail that catches my attention.”

– Jonatan

Firstly, cut out elements contains body, lining, pocket and two gussets.

Tip: Make sure your blade is ultra sharp.

Treating leather with neatsfoot oil will make it more supple.

Brand your wallet like I am here with my heat branding tool and special Mes stamp.

Cutting out lining edges will reduce the weight of your piece in order to assemble gussets.

Thread a large needle with linen thread, using a Japanese double knot.

Punch holes along the edge of your wallet using a pricking iron.

Hand stitch your wallet on a saddle bench – mine’s an antique one!

Voila, a completed line of stitching. Repeat on the other side.

This is what a stitching line looks like when you add the gussets on.

Make a hole using a revolver punch.

Cut a slot down the centre for a keyhole effect.

Assemble with a mini sam browne stud’

May your piece give you much happiness to come…

This was a post by Jonatan Staniec of Mes Leather.