Instructor for Leatherwork
at William Holland
Tom earned his Leatherworking and Indian Lore Merit Badges when he was a Boy Scout on his way to eventually becoming an Eagle Scout. Both Merit Badges have remained life-long hobbies of his.
Before retiring to Dahlonega, GA Tom served the Boy Scouts of America for 37 years as an executive director in 8 different councils in the U. S. He has also served as the Scouting director for U.S. Forces and their families in southern Germany. Soon after retiring in 2011 Tom and his wife started a faith-based ministry for the homeless in Dahlonega, Georgia. He served as its first (volunteer) director and set the ministry on a strong financial and organizational footing. Tom is also a member of several arts councils and guilds.
Each leather piece is original in design, and is hand cut and stitched – no machine tools are used. Tom’s pyrography designs (Greek for “writing with fire”) are hand drawn and inscribed free hand onto the leather using a pyrography pen. No stencils, decals, or transfers are used. Up to five or six types of leather can be used to make some of the pouches: elk, suede, deerskin, python, eel skin, and cowhide, among several others. His primary media in colorizing the bags is the use of about 60 colors of India inks and acrylic leather paints. In some cases, Tom uses silver and gold paint directly on the leather before inscribing artwork on it. Each piece is unique.
During 2020 Tom developed a new technique of painting on leather and creating 2-d art which is suitable for framing, making art prints, note cards, etc.
Tom teaches numerous leatherworking classes throughout north Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina, which include the John C. Campbell Folk School, Arrowmont Folk School, several art centers, and community centers.. His students learn the same techniques that he uses in creating the bags. and some have even gone on to start their own leather crafting business.