Meet the Winter Session Team: Jack Van Leeuwen
What's on your task list today?
Making leather shoulder straps (my favorite thing to make because there are so many different steps and pieces). Wallet stitching (today it's Slim Card Wallets). Some product photography for the new leather accessories we just started making. And to cap the day off we’re launching a Facebook campaign around the new leather pieces.
What's your role at Winter Session, and how long have you been working here?
You might say I’m a Jack of all trades ;) I started working here around nine months ago, starting with wallet stitching, then from there branching into marketing and advertising (that’s my background), then from there, more leather production. Right now I’m creeping up on some photography stuff.
What’s an especially satisfying moment for you while you're in the workshop?
Riveting the last piece of hardware onto our shoulder straps, and then lining them up single file on the shipping table to go out with orders.
‘The Chopper’ we use to make our leather keepers. It’s a small cutting block used for making model trains and things like that. When it cuts it’s such a satisfying yet simple motion.
What are you listening to right now?
I’m mostly listening to Jack London books (The Sea Wolf is my favorite one recently) and 60s and 70s music: John Lennon, Jim Ford, and Ted Hawkins - I’ve been listening to him a lot and if you like classic soul music you might want to look him up.
How do you take your coffee?
Here I take it black, but at home I take it with milk. Not sure what that means… probably that we have better coffee there? (Thanks, Huckleberry :)
Favorite coffee mug:
The Campbell’s Soup mug, because it reminds me of Andy Warhol. My uncle actually went to art school with him, and growing up I would always see his signed artwork at their house.
Did you have experience making things before starting at Winter Session?
No, but for a long time I’ve had a feeling I really wanted to work with my hands. I came here and found out that I should have listened to that earlier! Because I find it very rewarding work.
What’s your favorite thing about being here in the workshop?
There’s this willingness and openness to create things (I love coming in for DIY days to mend clothing and altering stuff). And the energy is really positive and grounding - it’s almost like coming home.
What WS bag / wallet / accessories do you carry?
I started small, with my Leather Keychain and then I hand stitched my Cordovan watch strap. Then I started using one of the limited edition Heddels Bank Bags (for my notebooks and electronic accessories), and now I’ve graduated to a Black Day Bag, my new daily carry. (I’ve been patiently waiting…)
What do you always carry in your bag, no matter what?
Lip balm, a mini lint roller, and a lucky nickel.
When you're not at Winter Session, where can you be found?
Freelance marketing, making music (songwriting is really big for me), and cooking home cooked meals. I’ve also recently gotten into picking (i.e. going in old sheds in strange places to find old dirty clothes). My best find so far was a 1960s Champion college jacket, Talon zipper and all.
If you had knuckle tattoos, what would they say?