Our 2017 summer workshop program is fulling underway with leather tooling, sandal making, tote bag making and last but not least, leather belt making. Please take a look at our class schedule to see a full list of available classes. Our first class was run by Brad Cooper of Cooper Saddlery in Buellton, CA. Brad opened his shop last summer and has been hand-making saddles of the high quality American craftsmanship money can buy you. Take a look at the photos below to see Brand in action teaching an 8 student class all about leather carving, shading, casing, coloring and basket weave stamping. Its was a beautiful day in sunny Santa Barbara, watching, learning and taking part in this lost craft.
Customer: Can I speak with Mike?
Me: No, there is no mike that works here. My name is Steven Soria, and you have arrived at our leather shop called Make Smith. How can I help you?
Customer: Quit messing with me, Mike, I haven't had all my coffee, yet.
Check out this awesome DIY we did with TEVA....
We’ve all been there: waiting at the baggage claim carousel with fingers crossed our suitcases made it from point A to B and no one picked ours up by mistake—no easy feat between flight delays and the fact that every suitcase looks, well, exactly the same.
Enter Steven Soria, the craftsman behind Santa Barbara, California-based leather goods shop MAKE SMITH. To help us celebrate the start of Spring Break season and National Craft Month, he whipped up some eye-catching leather luggage tags that will set your suitcases apart from the rest of the pack and get you where you’re going that much faster. Photos by CARA ROBBINS.
Meet the Maker: Steven Soria of Make Smith
How did you discover your passion for your art?
I grew up in my family’s leather-crafting business, where most of my play toys were art and crafting materials. In many ways, there wasn’t a discovery period for me because it’s been more of a lifetime journey. READ MORE >>>>
We're very excited to announce that famous sandal making class will be happening again this season at Make Smith Leather. Stac Fulwiler will be head down the 101 freeway from Oakland CA to teach a six our class. As always, all are welcome to participate. Here are the details:
When: Saturday, May 6th, 2017
Time: 11am - 5pm
Where: Make Smith Leather Co.
117 West De La Guerra St, Suite C, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Class Fee: $250 sign up through the shop!
Description: In a 6 hour workshop, you will learn how to make a pair of leather sandals, using your own feet for the fit and your own design for the style (or pick a design to make from my website). We'll provide the instruction, the tools, the materials and the leather. By the end of class you will have made your own pair of leather sandals! You will also learn some basic leather-working techniques and you’ll leave with a handout outlining sandal-making basics, including places to source materials in California.
Make Smith is a 500 square foot traditional leather-crafting workshop located at 117 West De La Guerra St Unit C, Santa Barbara CA 93101. Our goal is to provide the resources, education, and community for creative minds to make quality handcrafted leather goods. Our classes can enhance a growing career or satiate a long time desire to start a new skill in a small class format. We host a variety of classes in which students will make leather goods such as, a wallet, a belt, a bracelet, and much more. Our curriculum emphasizes DOING to learn, MAKING to be creative, and EMBRACING mistakes to gain experience. We empower our students to craft with their hands, become self sufficient and build confidence.
2017 Workshop Schedule:
Saturday, April 29th from 2 - 6pm :: Leather Tooling
Sunday, April 30th from 2 - 6pm :: Leather Tooling
Saturday, May 6th from 11am - to 5pm :: Sandal Making
Saturday, May 27th from 2 - 6pm :: Belt Making
Saturday June 10th, 2017 from 2 - 6pm :: Tote Bag Making
We never really had an official opening in Los Alamos to celebrate our little shop opening in North Santa Barbara County, but trust me when I tell you that lots of champagne has been flowing! For almost a four years now, Shelter Social Club has worked with us to develope small branded leather goods for the lobby shops at all of their locations, so it only seemed natural to start selling our tote bags and leather accessories, as well. You can now find a full assortment of our Make Smith branded goods at the Alamo Motel Gift shop. We're officially curating a small shop within the check-in lobby. Stop by and scope out whats happening at our new little shop @ The Alamo Motel, or better yet, book a room for the night and make a weekend adventure out of it. But don't forget to stop into Municipal Wine Makers who has a quaint little tasting room on the hotel property.
We are super stoked to announce that we have launched a new project with UGG Mens Accessories. They will be selling out leather belts both online and in their retail stores. Please take a look when you get a minute;
We are very exciting to add Stace Fulwiler to our roster of talented teachers for Fall/Winter 2016 Leather crafting classes. Below are the details of her upcoming sandal making workshop:
First of all, what is Sciatica? According to wikipedia; Sciatica is a medical condition of pain going down the leg from the lower back. Its pretty intense, and if you've every had this condition, you know if really NO JOKE. Its basically, extremely bad back pain. For me it all began with my huge ass wallet! I was carrying around so much junk in it; old credit card receipts, plastic gift cards to places I was never going to visit, etc. Shortly after a few chiropractor visits I ditched the old brick shaped leather wallet and made myself a prototype wallet, small, minimal and could fit in my front pocket. So, no more sitting on my wallet. No removed all the clutter, migrated over to this new new clean, thing and minimal wallet, and all my back problems began to shape up. It took at least three months of stretching and rehabilitation, but I was able to cure my Sciatica. The Credit Card Sleeve is now our best selling wallet.
The added benefit? I stopped loosing my wallet because I didn't have to take it out of my back pocket every time I had to sit down, get in the car, etc. So I stopped leaving it around in really odd places. It now sits safely in my front pocket.
We accepted a really awesome design contract with Marge Cafarelli, Managing Partner with Urban Developments and the leading force behind Alma del Pueblo. The plan was to open a beer garden (name respectfully "The Garden") that would showcase some of the best craft beers made in the central coast with a focus on Santa Barbara County makers of all sort of beers from Lagers to sours beers. There will be 41 tapped cages available for tasting at any given time. So this is where we came in. We designed the tap handles from vegetable tanned leather, embossed their logo and sewed them up. We used both natural finished and hand-dyed. In a few words, we were very please at the results.
Last night was the opening and it was a huge success! People enjoyed hanging out in the space which was co-designed by The Brothers of Industry and Marge Caferelli, herself.
Don't worry we are here for you on Saturday, but Sunday we will be closed to hang with Dad! If you need to stop by we've got a few cool gift ideas.
1. Bill Fold Wallet - This rad handmade wallet comes in tan, brown, black, ox-blood or cognac, hold up to 14 cards and has some room for cash. See more...
2. The Craftsmen Apron - Whether dad is a professional wood worker or just a backyard weekend BBQ'er he'll appreciate how well made this denim aprons were build. See more...
3. Leather Knife Roll - Sure, dad has lots of knives, but where does he keep them? He'll love this carry case to help keep all his expensive knives in one place. See more...
4. Key Chain - Help keep dad organize and looking classy. Our key chains with clip are a really great small gift. Don't forget to ask to have it embossed with his initials!!! See more...
What are the things in life that get better with age? Some would say wine, art, and whiskey. But, what about leather? Leather gets better with some age. And that's why the adaptation from spirits to leather for the name Cognac works so well. Not only does it look exactly like a well aged spirit, but in a similar fashion the language around brown leather continues to become more rich: colored, deeply colored, brown brandy, very fine flavor brandy, perfectly pale - the most famous Charente specialties came in various shades of amber and copper. After four decades Cognac is still improving, and so will these leather goods. Everyday that goes by your leather goods take on more character and develop a luster that you cannot duplicate. But with time and patients you will have the most valuable heirloom pieces. This Father's Day give this well aging gift to the dad in your life that keeps getting better with age. You can find our key chains, belts and wallets by following these links or stopping into our leather shop in Santa Barbara, CA and seeing them in person. Let us guide your Father's Day shopping. Shop our collection >>>
Show Room Hours:
Mon - Saturday 12-6pm
117 W. De La Guerra Street Unit C, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Alexandra Gibbs is a freelance photographer working and living in the Santa Barbara, CA area. Previously, Alexandra was a producer at a photography studio in Manhattan where she lived after attending Brooks Institute of Photography. She effectively captured a day in the life here at Make Smith. It was our pleasure to work with her and have her visit. See the full album >>>
See the full album >>>
All photos were shot by Alexandra Gibbs.
Whats better than being able to customize these leather storage bins from your groomsmen? We can embossing a last name, first name, initials or a inside joke. This personalized Leather Caddie/Valet for groomsmen or a great gift for the dad or any man in your life! Dad will love getting this gift made especially for him for Fathers Day. They make great gifts for wedding party's graduation, birthdays etc.
Order one for each of your groomsmen, here: http://makesmith.com/collections/leather-home-goods/products/leather-travel-caddy
Leather has very interesting characteristics. With time it becomes softer, more malleable, and develops a beautiful patina, or color change. While you can achieve this affect by beating up the leather and applying an antique stain, why not just wait for it to naturally develop character, and be present during this process? Its like distressed jeans, it's so much better to know what each hole and paint stain came from then to buy a pair with random distressing.
No one likes breaking in a new pair of leather boots, or having to shove their cards in a super tight new wallet, but this is a necessary first step to eventually getting the look you desire. Everything has to be new at one point, and its worth purchasing a high quality product to see it wear in.
We attached a photo of the original prototype for the Bill Fold wallet that Steven has been using for the past 2 years. As you can see, it only gets more beautiful with time, picking up the dyes from your pant pockets and the oils on your hands to develop a dark and smooth patina.
Leather has tons of character, so let your leather express itself!
It is probably easier than you think to begin leather working, and you will find yourself needing only a few key tools to begin. Here is the list we came up with of tools that will allow you to begin making leather products, or to continue after taking one of our workshops. Make Smith is excited to announce our new partnership with C.S. Osborne Tools to provide the highest quality tools to use during our workshops, and hopefully inspire future projects.
TO CUT: It is always a good idea to have a high quality pair of sheers so that your pattern can be cut out well, with not too much exhaustion to your hand. We suggest the CS Osborne Leather Sheers. This Heavy weight and serrated edges help prevent leather slipping while cutting. They are very sharp and accurate so you can cut through thick belting or strap leather.
TO CUT A STRAP: If you are looking to specifically cut a uniform strap or belt with thicker leather you will want to use a Draw Gauge. The draw Gauge can be set to widths up to 4". We use this tool to cut down the side of a cow into 1 1/2" pieces for our Standard Leather Belt, or 3/4" for the handles to our Tote Bag.
TO BEVEL: Edge Bevel's are used to round the edge of thick leather such as a belt or strap to dull the sharp edges and give it a smooth and finished feel. Usually used the step after the Draw Gauge, Edge bevel's come in several different sizes depending on how rounded you want the edge to be. We suggest using a size #1 on the top, and a #2 on the bottom.
TO PUNCH: Most objects requite holes to be punched in order to assemble. For this, we recommend a Revolving Punch. This tool has 6 different size setting so you can use it for small holes to stitch up the side of an object, or a larger hole that could be used for a belt.
TO STITCH: Align the holes that you punched with your Revolving Punch, and stitch together with a needle and waxed thread for maximum strength. We suggest using a blunt point Smyrna Needle. The needle does not need to be sharp because it is going through pre-punched holes, and depending on the width of your thread, it is helpful to have a big eye-hole to thread through.
And there you go... With this collection of tools and a little research on how each one works, you will be off on your way to make some great leather goods that you will enjoy for years to come.
Thanks again to C.S. Osborne for providing our classes with the highest quality tools in the industry. We are excited to share our knowledge with you, and promote some more creativity! If you are interested in taking one of our classes click here.
Fig Avenue Furnishings is a group of like-minded but pleasantly disjointed furnishing designers & fabricators who work in or near Santa Barbara’s Fig District. What you see below is a multi functional stool, that has shelving under it for storage. We designed it as a magazine wrack, and blanket in mind for the lower levels. The fabrication and design was done by Steven Soria and Joe Shelton as a commission for El Jardin.
So why should you take one of our workshops? That's easy! Check out our list of reason we think our workshops are so helpful if you are interested in learning more about leather craft:
1. All of our workshops are beginner level, however one will teach you some advanced skills that are easy to bring home so you can make your own things.
2. We give you a list of the tools you need to begin leather working, our secret inside industry suppliers, and how to properly talk about leather (thickness, grain, part of cow, etc...) so that you will succeed with shopping for leather and planning your projects.
3. Our classes are usually the same amount as the finished product, so essentially you're just paying for the product, but get to learn how we make it. It's a great value!
4. The classes are small because our space is small, and there is a better ratio between student and teacher so all your questions can be answered. That means you get a lot of 1-on-1 attention when it comes to the tricky crafting techniques and steps.
5. After we spend a few hours with you in a class, we develop a special relationship and are willing to answer questions, and give advice about projects you attempt in the future.
So there you have it! The top 5 reasons you should sign up for one of our classes, and come nerd out about leather with us at Make Smith. Check out our classes by signing up here, and signing up for our newsletter.