John Hagger, founder of Tanner Bates, has established an international reputation as a craftsperson who uses the traditions of his trade combined with local leather – hides bursting with character – to make ‘contemporary heirlooms’, products designed to last a lifetime. Provenance is important to John:
“I know the people by name who provide my raw materials; hides from the oak bark tannery, buckles from the Walsall foundry From time to time I tan the skins of locally-culled deer from the Dartington Estate and nearby Dartmoor.”
John has been teaching leatherwork for many years, taking delight in how transformative the experience is for his students.
Intrigued by the idea of sharing his craft, John has expanded the principles and practice of teaching into Leather School. Located in the Leather Workshop, Leather School holds workshops and classes designed to provide a wide range of leathercraft experiences for people of all ability levels.
People often walk into the Workshop and comment on the wonderful, natural, rich smell of the leather. Then they pick up an oak bark belt and feel its texture. For many, learning about the craft behind the product and having the opportunity to take part of the Dartington story home with them is enough. Others are curious about the tools on the workbench – what they actually want to do is make something out of leather with their own hands. Leather School makes it fun and easy to do just that.