i. I work at:
Joseph Henry Workshop, maker of bespoke leather goods. By day, I am a User Experience/Interface Designer and Artist for a Vancouver based video game company and have done so for 14 years. Most of this work is done on the computer and results in something tangible after years of work.
ii. I do this creative work because:
Taking up leatherwork in 2014 after many years of hiatus (previously business partner with Stephen Symons with both Sovereign Leather and Stigmata Designs Body Jewelry) is one of the few ways for me to scratch the itch that is making stuff on a more frequent basis using my hands. It’s hard work and relaxing at the same time for me.
iii.Personal qualities that help me in my work are:
When I get interested in something, I tend to be all in. Drive, Patience, Attention to detail and a strong desire to make things that are useful and or beautiful are major traits instilled by my parents.
iv.The greatest challenges around doing this work are:
Having a full-time job and a small family make it challenging to find all the time I want to spend working on new designs, orders and research. Developing skills to make the things I design comes with a few challenges also.
v. Creative childhood hobbies:
Oh man, as a child, making my own toys, dirt projects for playing with cars, lego…lots of lego, forts in the woods the list goes on. Later on I would get heavily into plastic models, enough so that sometimes I would skip school to do them! I gave up plastic models in 1994 and recently managed somehow to get back into those in a big way this past December. I also loved woodworking, metalworking, and car repair. I still dabble in all these areas to this day.
vi.Other creators who inspire you:
They are all from different disciplines and all inspire me on different levels, they all do amazing things. I look up to these to name only a few:
Bukuro Bag Company
The Samurai Carpenter
vii.Training that has helped me succeed in this career:
Learning how things work, taking things apart, trying to make anything, learning 3D modelling, Graphic Design and high school shop class are all major contributors but the most important training I ever had and continue to have was/is failure. Fail as many times as it takes to succeed.
viii.Some proud career moments:
When Brick and Mortar Living in New Westminster first wanted to have my products in their shop I was so ecstatic, and then came the unexpected pressure and challenge of providing enough high quality products consistently to them and them being so supportive still makes me emotional and proud of what I am able to do. Global Atomic Designs in Yaletown were the first to believe in Joseph Henry Workshop and still are. They have also been amazingly supportive and helpful to my career in ways that I cannot begin to express. Being asked to provide products to Make on Granville Island was a highlight for sure. I remember in 2014 saying to my wife, I know I am onto something when this store sells my products. It happened and it felt fantastic. Seeing people use the things I make always makes me the most proud. I am lucky to see this almost everyday.
ix.If you want to work in my field, I suggest that you:
Understand and respect where and how Leather is made. Don’t buy cheap tools.
x.A professional goal I have for the future:
Finally launch the two Backpacks I have prototyped.
xi.If you want to see my work, go to:
Interwebs : josephhenryworkshop.com
Insta : @josephhenryworkshop