One of my favourite things is making something unique from leather that has held significance in the life of my customers. Recently I have had the opportunity to make one of these special bags. I met Perry and his wife over coffee to see what I could do with an old leather coat he’s been holding on to and was privileged to hear this story.
This is Perry’s story in his own words:
“My Father’s Leather Bomber Jacket
This is one of the few pictures I have of myself with my Dad. My brother, my Dad and I are on the front lawn, each of us wearing new coats. It was September, 1955. I was one.
I remember my mother’s story, told with eye-rolling disdain. Dad wore the coat while painting, splattered paint on it and discarded it. Mom couldn’t bear the waste. She put the coat into the costume trunk in the attic.
Fast forward to Hallowe’en 1967. I was 13, and not quite ready to give up trick or treating. I needed a cool costume. I went to the costume trunk for inspiration, and found Dad’s old jacket. It would anchor my costume as a hippie. I painstakingly scraped the paint from the surface of the leather with a razor blade, and then used shoe polish to recondition the leather.
This was the beginning of a second life for the coat. I lived in it, wore it as often as the seasons permitted. I wore it like a badge. Twice I replaced the zipper and the lining. But the elbows and collar thinned and failed. I had worn it out, but couldn’t give it up. It brooded in my closet.
And so to the near present. Some personal work I have been doing has involved remembering my Dad, and reconciling his departure from this world when I was 5 years old. This work has taken other forms, and I thought it was done. But my wife saw the potential for a new form. I was lucky enough to meet an artist whose caring and skill gave my father’s leather bomber jacket a third life.
Now I carry his memory with me.”
I am incredibly honoured to be apart of this! Thank you, Perry, for trusting me with this sacred object and thank you for sharing your story.