Introducing the Oak & Honey leather document holder
I’m pleased to present a new project that is the result of working directly with an artisan. I hesitate to call this a collaboration though because unlike the recent Marol button-down shirt – which I designed with the Marol team, going through every detail of shirt styling together – this leather folio is more of a custom creation lead by the maker, Oak & Honey Leatherworks. I suppose I should start, then, by telling you more about Oak & Honey which is, in fact, one man: Steven Gircys
I visited Steve at his home workshop in Toronto a couple of months ago. I wanted to get to know him and his process after he reached out to me via email. I was impressed not only with his passion and commitment to his craft but his humility. He’s been working with leather for almost four years (after being raised by a carpenter dad) but acknowledges that he has only just begun, relatively speaking. What he’s doing, he’s doing well: his small leathergoods are well designed and his finishing – stitching, edge trimming and burnishing – is excellent. He’s also working with leathers from top US and international tanneries and building a collection of some of the best tools he can find, mostly from Japan. Yet he’s humbly aware that he is starting his journey. He told me his greatest inspiration is the work of Niwa Leathers from Japan – he’s awed by their clean lines, simplicity and precision – and it’s great that he’s set his goal at the very top.
The item I decided to order was something missing from my wardrobe, a simple document folio. I have a baise en ville which carries books, small electronics and papers, as well as a briefcase for my laptop and larger items. But I wanted something smaller, something that would add a bit of dash when taking my notebook and some papers to meetings. I saw Steve’s Macbook sleeve at his workshop and we used it as a starting point. However, I wanted a closure that didn’t rely on a brass knob. So I challenged Steve to come up with a design that required no metal but retained a rugged and elegant look. I also encouraged him to push his finishing skills as far as he could.
I’m very pleased with the result. The folio is constructed of 5oz brown Horween Chromexel leather, which is supple and soft. It also has a pleasing way of creasing and stretching when there’s objects in the folio but then returning to its regular shape and smoothness after they are removed. Scratches and marks also seem to disappear with a bit of rubbing. The folio is assembled with Amy Roke polyester thread in ecru colour at seven stitches per inch – enough to give it that rugged yet elegant look. And the edges are nicely finished – the single edge on the top of the folio as well as the band that stretches across the front are cut at an angle to give them a rounded look and feel, while the side edges have been burnished smooth and clean.