I can’t remember how exactly it started, but back in the 1970s, my mother took up the hobby of working with leather. Living near Santa Cruz, she had easy access to leather from the Salz Tannery.
The tannery had a small retail store on site, known as “The Dead Cow”, which also sold leather working tools and patterns for making bags and other items. I would often accompany her, and I can still recall the rather intense (and not altogeher pleasant) smell of leather being tanned.
As you can see by these photos, my mother took her hobby quite seriously. In fact, she regularly sold the leather handbags she made to her friends. Her favorite leather to work in was Salz “Latigo “ which was quite beautiful, and very thick.
Barbara (Bobbie) Bihn's initials in one of the handbags she made. This particular handbag is on display in our conference room at our Seattle, Washington company headquarters and factory.
Though I was never particularly inspired to work much in leather, growing up in a home where somebody practiced a craft and made things clearly inspired me – creativity breeds creatively. So when I wanted outdoor gear, it seemed natural for me to teach myself how to make it.
Thanks Mom :) And Happy Mother's Day to all!
Traveling in China
Barbara Bihn ~ 1931 - 2014.