As Leatherfolk we consider preserving our leather history of paramount importance. There are entities like the Carter/Johnson Library & Collection (CJLC) that are focused on the history of What It Is That We Do, our culture, individuals, organizations, and spaces. Gwen Hardy’s passion was the Colors of Leather, documenting our rainbow of patches and pins and the stories behind them.
But what about the very things that identify us? Our leathers? Vests are essentially a physical leather resume – they tell everyone in the know who we are, where we’ve been, what we’ve done, who our friends are. A cover indicates a senior person of leather, someone with years or decades of experience and knowledge. Who is documenting the history of the very things that define our community; our leathers?
This project is a collaboration between:
Each entity plays a vital part in saving our community leather, preserving that leather and its history, and sharing the histories as the leather is adopted back into the community.
It is our goal to create a perpetual cycle in which the leather that defines us is cherished and honored as it passes from one Leatherperson to another, each adding their passions and journeys to the story of that piece, and every history being carefully preserved and shared with the community.
In a sincere effort to be as transparent and honest with those that might donate items or monies to this project, we have created more detailed texts to explain what each organization does within the project.
Leather Rescue is the care and preservation arm of the project. Upon receiving a new donation, the following steps will be taken:
1. The item is documented with overall and detail photos.
a. Donations could be featured in an unboxing video.
2. The item and its history are carefully examined.
a. Items considered historic will receive detailed archival care and be sent to CJLC Leather.
b. All other items are sent to the reclamation section for further processing.
3. In reclamation, adornments will be carefully removed and sent to GHCOL to be identified, researched, and documented.
a. Where appropriate, decorative items – especially back patches – will be offered to the issuing organization they belong to.
b. All other decorative items will be forwarded to GHCOL for further processing.
4. The now bare leather is examined carefully to identify what care it needs, depending on the needs it will be sent on to either the repairs section or the leather care section.
5. Repairs are made if possible and necessary.
a. Repairs may be made after leather care, depending on the state of the piece.
b. Minor repairs are made in house.
c. Major repairs are sent to specialists.
d. Cost prohibitive repairs or unrepairable items become leather care challenges or are deconstructed.
i. Leather care challenge items will be forwarded without further care to Storied Leather to be offered to the community in a special section. Some items may be used for leather care challenges at events.
ii. Deconstructed items may be used to make patterns.
iii. The leather from deconstructed items will either be salvaged for future repairs or offered to the community for use in making new items.
iv. The history of every item will be sent to Storied Leather for preservation, regardless.
6. Leather care is provided based on what each piece needs, each step uses carefully researched leather safe products and methods, and may include any of the following –
a. Removal of residues and substances.
d. Color Refreshing.
g. In the case of some charity auction items only – Polish and/or Shine.
7. Item is tagged for future identification and history tracking, then sent with its history to Storied Leather for adoption by the community.