In a climate of mass-produced manufacturing, an item handmade from beginning to end is something to be a treasured. For Leatherworks designer and maker Rob McRae it’s about thinking “from conception to resolution”.

McRae’s workshop and retail outlet is in a Renew Adelaide space in Regent Arcade. From the enormous cutting table that dominates the studio, to the finishing details completed at his desk, shoppers can watch the craftsman at work.

McRae learned to sew on a vintage Singer machine before honing his craft at the Jam Factory in the 1980s. Using just a sewing machine, leather thinner and manual tools, he produces 100 per cent genuine, full-grain leather belts, totes, satchels, backpacks, duffles, wallets and purses. His designs concentrate on simplicity, timelessness and durability.

Running his hands over a new hide from Italy, McRae likens choosing material to selecting a cut of timber. Each piece is cut in a way that celebrates the natural markings and expresses the best features of the leather. With this approach, each work stands alone.

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Updated: August 30th, 2017

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