Philip Lewis works with leather.

Philip Lewis works with leather. 

Philip Lewis grew up in Ohio, and in his youth he became interested in leather.

However, he didn’t pursue this interest until five or six years ago, after he retired. Today he spends his time making belts and tool sheaths, hats, wallets and bracelets. He also repairs leather objects.

He cuts out the pattern of whatever leather project he’s working on, then pokes the stitching holes and hand-stitches using a linen or a polyester thread. He can even do the saddle stitch, which involves two needles.

The most fun aspect of his leather work is “taking a piece out of a hide and turning it into something someone wants,” he said.

He uses thicker leather for belts, and thinner leather for cases.

“The challenge of my leather work is making a product people need and want, and making it affordable. I don’t like to charge too much. I like doing stuff people want and need.”

His line of leather products includes bolo ties and dog collars.

Philip’s advice for prospective leather workers is to have a place to do the work. “You need space. And understand that it is not a cheap hobby. You need the right tools, and, of course, the leather.

“You can learn online from Tandy Leather Stores.”

His work can be seen at the Ridgway Farmers Market Fridays between May and September, at the December Basement Boutique in Montrose at the Pavilion, and at the Holy Family Catholic School craft show in Grand Junction during the holidays.

Philip also takes special orders. Contact him online at and 970-901-2033.

Carol McDermott is a freelance correspondent who spotlights the Montrose Center for the Arts.

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