I love the stuff. And making stuff out of leather is even better. I include leather in the same quality of material category with wood, stone, and iron. There is something about those materials that properly taken care of just gets better with age. Someone told me way back when I was laying down the wood floors in my new house that there was no such thing as a bad wood floor. I don’t know, but maybe you’ve got to live with wood floors to truly get the meaning he was driving at.

Leather goods, wood floors, hand-forged ironwork and things like stone walls all hit me in a way that can only be described as visceral.

And yesterday I made the trip over to Leon, Guanajuato to go leather shopping. And the shivery part was, I was at what is quite possibly the finest leather Mercado in the entire western hemisphere. Please know that Leon has a 450 year tradition of leather tanning and leatherworking that goes back to the time of the conquistadors. And the tradition is kept alive today, not servicing horses and armor anymore but providing leathers to the largest shoe making center in all of Mexico.


Imagine a market filled with dozens and dozens of vendors selling nothing but leather. All types of leather. In all colors.


I spent my pesos on some really nice leathers that I am going to turn into some fine leather totes. I first bought three buttery soft pale yellow pig skins to be used as forro (the bag lining). Then picked out three very supple cow hides and five gorgeous sheep skins that are so soft that you can wad them up in your hand like the softest tissue paper. All in the same cafe color of dark brown.

PS – It is wonderful living in a country where still so many things are done by hand. Where natural materials are readily available. I cannot imagine wearing anything on my feet other than my own leather sandals. And if I have to carry a bag, it’s one of my own.

The only clothes that I’ve bought in the last two and a half years are six cotton pocket t-shirts; two navy blue and four whites. A kind lady down the street is a seamstress and she has been doing a fine job of keeping my four pair of cargo shorts in decent repair.

Every day it’s just cotton shorts, a t-shirt and leather sandals. Dress doesn’t get any more simple than that.