There’s an indescribable quaintness to receiving something that was handmade. Whoever sent it took the time and effort to create that special something, and the tiny imperfections are what makes it all the more perfect. A handmade gift is unique and one of a kind, and perhaps that’s why crafting workshops are all the rage now. But with a variety of crafting workshops available throughout our little island, one type that stands out above the crop are leather crafts.

Leather is one of quintessential building blocks of luxury. It is a highly durable material, supple to the touch, and used by humans before fashion was even a thing. It’s not easy to find a luxury brand today that does not have a single product made out of an animal’s skin.

They come in all shapes and sizes too — from small leather goods that range from key fobs to wallets in an array of sizes, making them easy for beginners to learn how to craft them. Bags are on the next rung — the favourite of shopaholics everywhere being the highly-coveted Hermès Birkin. Then you have the apex of luxury products: trunks and luggages, which only the most experienced artisans will be able to craft.

So if you want to bring your partner on an not-so-ordinary date, or if you’re looking to build the bonds between your colleagues, why not take them to a leather crafting workshop? Here are five of them that will help you hone your craftsmanship.

J.Artisans Leather Works

Founded in 2012 by leather enthusiasts Jeremiah See and his fiancée Christina, J.Artisans Leather Works is a boutique brand that specialises in handcrafted leather products. Having had partnerships with global names like Montblanc, Bottega Veneta, and Dior, they are now opening up workshops to the public to make small leather goods with the duo. You can choose to create card holders in various designs, or an ID tag with a lanyard that will store your access cards in style.

(Photo credit: J.Artisans)

Atelier Lodge

Atelier Lodge is a trade school set up by a few skilled leather artisans for aspiring leather crafters. From learning the basics of how to stitch a wallet, to creating a full-sized bag, attendees will leave with more knowledge about all-things-leather, like the types of leather hides and the proper techniques of hand-stitching. They also offer corporate classes for companies that want a different approach to team-bonding.

(Photo credit: Atelier Lodge)

The General Company

The General Company is a craft agency that specialises not only in leathercrafting, but they often invite artisans in the fields of floral arrangements and woodworking to their workshops too. As the middleman between the brand and the consumer, they have collaborated with Bentley, Hugo Boss, and The Balvenie to let their guests try their hands at leathercrafting. And you’ll learn how to stitch together some interesting accessories in their workshops, like a coin pouch and a cord organiser.

(Photo credit: The General Company)

Stone for Gold

One of the pioneers of the local leathercrafts scene, Xie Hui of Stone for Gold has been honing his passion for leather for the good part of a decade. And with his leathercrafting workshops, he hopes to be able to impart some of that knowledge and expertise to people like you and I. There are options of learning how to stitch a simple cardholder to putting together a whole bucket bag. The latter might take almost four hours to complete, but the feeling of carrying a bag that is truly yours out onto the streets is well worth the patience.

(Photo credit: Stone for Gold)

Semicolon Works

What started as a casual conversation about recycling discarded materials turned into a full-time business when the two founders of Semicolon Works, Celine and Eshton, decided to bring the upcycling movement to Singapore. The leather used in their products are often the unwanted offcuts that would otherwise have been thrown into the dumpster. They have held corporate events and pop-up leather workshops at Millenia Walk, and you can sign up for one of their leather workshops to create your own cardholder or pencil case.

(Photo credit: Semicolon Works)

Josiah Neo
Josiah Neo is a tech writer who contributes occasionally to the fashion, travel, and culture beats. When he’s not busy keeping up with the keynotes, he’s probably stuffing his face with the best Melbournian donuts (at Shortstop, BTW) or watching his favourite esports team, the Los Angeles Valiant, pummel their opponents into oblivion.