Monday, April 9, 2012

Where Did the Time Go?

When I first started selling online, my shop bio said "over 30 years of experience".  Though the number seemed larger than memory would have thought, it was a badge of pride. Validating.
Then, a blink of an eye ago, I had to change it to 35 years. wow. How did that happen? Surely my math was faulty? But no, double-checking and triple-checking with a calculator bore out the claim. Didn't seem possible, but the numbers told the tale.
And now, again, another milestone.
I tooled my very first belt in the beginning of April, 1972. That means it has been more than 40 years that I've been plying my trade. Holy Cow!
I was a 17-year old hippie chick when I went to work for Chuck at Silo Leather in Birmingham, Michigan. He didn't pay me a wage, but I was learning a trade. For every third belt I tooled, Chuck gave me a blank strip of leather. For every 10 belts, a new stamping tool. Chuck built his inventory and I built a starter tool set and a supply of belt strips I could work up and sell on the streets or at festivals.
Lots of floral-vine belts or sunburst motifs. I liked fantasy, so I did some playful belts with elves sleeping under toadstools or dragons belching flames. My belt tips all had a signature scalloped cut.
I wish I could post some pictures of some of my earliest work, but I sold it almost as fast as it was made (like I said, Chuck didn't pay a wage).  I'll have to settle for posting this grainy pic of teenage me, as well as a more current photo. Yes, I guess the years become obvious when I look at then vs now.
Chuck is long gone, as is Silo Leather.
But I carry on. I have been working with leather more than 2/3 of my life and I can't imagine I'll ever stop.
And that, my friends, is a milestone worth sharing!

2 comments:

Gypsies’ Old School Bikes said...

beautiful story!
time is ruthless with us, silent and pass

Art of Spirit LeatherWorks said...

Thanks! True commentary re time! But it's all good - aging beats the alternative all to heck!