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10 May 2016

Artisan Leather Crafter: Ahmed

As Father’s Day and graduations approach, our beautiful artisan-made duffel bags fly off the shelves! What a perfect way to honor Dad, as the craftsman behind our duffels is a dad, too. Ahmed, father of four, learned leather craft skills from his father, who learned from his father. We visited him during our recent buying trip to Morocco.

Ahmed has been creating leather crafts for 15 years and now has his own workshop with 3 employees. His small business is thriving as he has secured customers (like Moroccan Buzz) in other countries. Ahmed’s enjoyment and pride in his craft are apparent.

During our visit, one of Ahmed’s assistant artisans was staining leather from the nearby tannery for our brown duffels. We watched as he transformed the hides with quick strokes of a sponge dipped in water and natural pigment. At the same time, Ahmed was cutting and sorting un-dyed leather straps for natural tan duffels. He used a template to draw an outline of each piece of the duffel onto the leather, then cut the pieces with a large pair of sharp scissors. He then sorted the straps: some were too thin in parts and needed to be discarded or cut down for use as the smaller of the two connecting straps. Ahmed showed us how the prepared leather pieces are sewn together, the bag is lined, and hardware is attached.

The finished product is exceptional, with old-world character and subtle variances in finish and stitching proving its authentic handmade origin. One can sense Ahmed’s positive energy and pride in his work in every piece.

Ahmed Collage

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