Oak Bark Tanned Tote Bag

A recent project completed for a customer in Switzerland.  This is a large tote bag made with oak bar tanned leather from JF & J Baker on Devon.  Please see the photographs below.

The purpose of this hand made tote bag is to carry essential items for the city worker or for a weekend break.  It will carrying shopping or baby items equally well.  It is a versatile, simple and large bag that will fit into any setting.  The customer will be using it to carry his office items such as his laptop, books, files, and umbrella and a bottle of water during the work day.  During the weekend he will be able to use it to carry clothing, electronic devices and toiletries.

All of the straps are lined and stitched.  The hard board base on the inside is lined with goat kid suede.  The inside walls are unlined to show off the lovely finishing of the oak bar tanned leather.  The hardware is solid brass and the bag sits on five tall brass feet to keep the base clearly off the ground.  The side straps allow for the expansion of the bag and both these and as the closure strap can be completely removed.

The leather used on this tote bag is quite special.  Being oak bar tanned it has some peculiar properties and characteristics.  This is aniline leather that has been made with traditional methods and antique machinery, hence the natural markings on the surface that make this piece completely unique in appearance.  Being aniline leather the surface is permeable to moisture although the heavy feeding (indicated by the white powdery appearance  called the bloom) offers some resistance to water penetration.  Water penetration does not affect the leather as long as it is allowed to dry at ambient temperature.

Oak bark tanned leather also has a very distinctive fragrance that does not fade with time.  The leather is around 3.5mm to 4mm thick.  Although it is quite pliable for this thickness the leather retains its shape well giving the bag a ‘soft’ feel.  The colour is London Tan and is a slightly darker shade than the typical London Tan colour of bridal leather.  This is due to the oak bark tanning process.

The thread is the highest quality double twisted linen thread.  The tote bag is completely hand stitched at a fine eight stitches per inch.  The raw edges are hand burnished and sealed to a glossy finish using natural and non-toxic materials.  The entire bag is made with natural, traditional materials along with the tools and methods which are traditional or antique.

This is a completely hand made bag made with the finest materials available.  An simple, elegant, timeless heirloom bag that will be passed down to the next generation and beyond.

The photographs below are taken in the bridal room of the Walsall Leather Museum with natural overcast light.