We all have that craftiness in ourselves and don’t even know it. Whether it is baking, cooking, or creating handmade items. If you’ve been thinking of starting a new hobby or pursuing your own business, don’t doubt yourself and just start. In life we have many distractions and self doubt that sometimes we decide not to do what we dream about. A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure to interview an old high school friend and leather craftsman, Jorge Rodriguez, from Laguna Leatherworks. Below is what the interview consisted on.
If you've been thinking of starting a new hobby or pursuing your own business, don't doubt yourself... Click To Tweet
Tell me a little about yourself.
I’m 34 years old born in Torreon Coahuila, Mexico. Served six years active duty in the US Army. Honor graduate of DOD bio-medical equipment repair course. I currently live in Texas. Enjoy crafting and raising goats as pets.
Enjoy cooking various types of food. I’m family oriented and currently single.
I’m currently a Territory Representative for a dental equipment and supply company: Benco Dental.
Would you consider yourself an introvert or extrovert?
I definitely consider myself an extrovert. I am highly social and talkative. Enjoy being around people and interacting with various individuals from diverse backgrounds.
Although I consider myself an extrovert, I am a deep thinker and very analytical. I enjoy being alone and value the time I have to myself and my thoughts.
What made you get into this type of craft/art?
I got into leather crafting as a development of various hobbies I’ve had throughout the years. While in high school I met a girl who made hemp/macramé bracelets and necklaces. I then bought various books on the subject and taught myself to do it. An agriculture teacher, Mr. Gil, noticed I would braid and weave hemp and asked if I could “braid” a pair of reins for his horse.
He later introduced me to an old cowboy who gave me my first book in leather and rawhide braiding. It took me 7 years approximately to make them because I frankly got side tracked for a long time.
While in the military I took up braiding again and completed his request. Along the way I learned knot tying like sailors used to do in the old times and became very proficient at it. I was invited to teach a leather braiding class alongside another instructor who taught “western leather tooling” due to the fact that both crafts were often related.
After learning how to do western leather tooling I became interested in crafting leather accessories and became very involved in that craft. Along the way I developed skills applicable to other crafts such as horse/equestrian gear fabrication along with a bit of saddle making. Eventually I elevated my skills and crafted fine custom leather bags and further developed my skills into shoe making as well.
How long have you been creating?
In total, I say I have been leather crafting for about 4 years but if you take into consideration the time I took in learning how to braid leather, it would be around 7 years.
Would you say that it’s a passion or just a hobby?
It is without a doubt a passion to now be a “leather craftsman” I wish to one day make it my full time job and have taken steps to acquire the necessary tools and equipment. I have invested around $20k in building a work shop, buying tools and stocking leather.
What is your favorite piece to make?
I would say that my favorite pieces are both making shoes and briefcases.
What is your least favorite piece to make?
My least favorite piece is hard to say because I really enjoy doing all of them but if I had to rate something it would be “leather tooled” items.
Did you ever think you would be doing these creations?
I would have never thought I would be making or creating items like I do because in the beginning I really didn’t have any interest in learning how to make leather accessories but the refined nature of a finely crafted piece always captivated me.
Any additional comments:
It has been a wonderful journey and I don’t see myself ever giving it up. It has helped me realize that patience and dedication can help develop much more. I have become more attentive to detail and made me always strive to achieve EXCELLENCE in whatever I do. Not to mention that it is a great conversation starter to say “ I MADE IT” when people notice one of my pieces.
Thank you for taking time off your busy schedule to answer these questions Jorge.
There you have it everyone, even if you think you have no creative juices in you, you just never know when a great opportunity will open up for you. If you have been thinking about starting a hobby, opening an Etsy shop or your own website, don’t doubt yourself and GO FOR IT! Sometimes you need a little push and I’m here to encourage you to start creating. Take time for yourself and learn something new TODAY.
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To see more amazing creations by Jorge, visit his website at Laguna Leather Works.
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