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Call for Vendors

The PEI Crafts Council has put out a call for vendors for the Christmas Craft Show taking place Nove [ ... ]

Birding classic

Bennett Fall Birding Classic returns on September 29 Each autumn for the last 23 years, Island Natu [ ... ]

Former biologist now operates her own leatherwork business

by Craig Mackie

Paige HarrisAt the Charlottetown Farmers Market, you may have noticed a display of bracelets, belts and handbags. Behind that display is a young women with intense hazel eyes and a warm smile. Her name is Paige Harris and she is Harris Leatherworks.

Paige was not always a leather crafter. After earning her biology degree from UPEI and a diploma from Holland College in the Wildlife Conservation Program, she worked for 7 years with the Island Nature Trust as a biologist and also with Friends of Covehead-Brackley Bay and Bedeque watershed management groups.

Paige had dabbled in different crafts and creative pursuits, but nothing felt quite like it was what she wanted to do. It was a gift from her mother that was life-changing. After her grandmother passed away, each of the granddaughters was given a handbag that had been handmade by their grandmother. Paige received many compliments on that handbag and she began thinking about working with leather.

“When people started commenting on my grandmother’s handbag, I began to think this was something I should try.” Her mom gave her all her grandmother’s leather working tools, some leftover leather and she started working with it. “I absolutely fell in love with it,” Paige says with a smile.

She describes herself as being self-taught as a leather craftsperson. She read some books and spoke with a few others who worked with leather.

Paige also credits her genes. Her grandmother of course, and her mother and father are both artistic.

She created some pieces of her own work and went to a few craft fairs where she received positive feedback and hasn’t looked back since.

Her designs are inspired by nature. When on long walks with her dog she will see something that she feels will look good on leather. She says, “It might be a bird sitting on a branch. I watch to see how it holds itself and then I’ll draw that image on paper and then transfer it to leather.”

“I keep challenging myself with more intricate designs. At the same time, I love simplicity. I don’t want my designs to be too cluttered. I think people are drawn to many of my truly simple designs.”

Her environmental sensibilities come through in her chosen craft. For instance she uses vegetable tanned leather and all her tools are hand tools to lessen her environmental footprint. Last year Paige’s husband and brother built her backyard studio so she no longer has to commute.

Her work is physically demanding. Because she uses hand tools, Paige is using all the muscles in her right arm as well as all the weight her slight frame can manage into the leather she’s working. An injury months ago has caused her to look at ways to vary her work by doing different projects. The variety reduces the stress on her arm. Paige also does some yoga to relax and stretch.

Paige smiles again, “It’s pretty satisfying taking something from raw material to finished product. And it’s really nice to see people wearing and using something I’ve made.”

Events Calendar

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Some Upcoming Events

9th Grand Ruisseau Song Festival

September 28–30
Mont-Carmel Parish Hall The Coopérative de développement culturel et patrimonial [ ... ]

Cool Moon

Cross-cultural Arts Festival September–November
Various locations The main stage of Confederation [ ... ]

If It’s Alright With You

The Life and Music Of My Father, Gene MacLellan Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday evenings to Septemb [ ... ]

Recent News & Articles

Drawing the line

Profile: Sandy Carruthers by Jane Ledwell Retired for a year now after twenty-five years teaching  [ ... ]

Free transportation at Cloggeroo

The provincial government will sponsor free transportation at this year’s Cloggeroo festival to he [ ... ]

Charlottetown’s Historic Squares exhibit...

The City of Charlottetown Planning and Heritage Department has created an exhibit exploring the hist [ ... ]