I believe our friendship began a few years ago when we he worked in the same section of a Black Market Market, before that I knew you as the guy from Manitoba who made leather goods.
Yea man, True. I miss Winnipeg. Such a great city.
Olé calls both provinces home so it’s always cool to hear about people who treat them the same as us. Can you tell us and the readers a little bit about what you do and what Creature Leather is all about?
Definitely. My name is Brad Kimball, I am the owner behind Creature Leather. It is a one man operation based out of Saskatoon, SK. I design and create quality, hand made leather and canvas products based off of my style and inspiration I find day to day. My products are designed to be very simple but functional. I’m originally from Winnipeg, born and raised there. I actually lived in Lockport most of my life. It’s a smaller community maybe 30km north of Winnipeg. My Dad wanted to raise us in a house with a pool and my Mom wanted a decent yard for gardening, so we moved out there just after I finished grade 6. I’ve always been passionate about art/design/creating. Growing up, when my parents were shopping, I’d usually be looking around on the ground, scrounging for little springs and screws, pieces of plastic. Kind of whatever I could find and I’d try to make something out of it. Haha, my parents did buy us toys but I always loved creating things. As I got older, my style in design developed and became a lot more refined. Things I was spending my money on changed, where I was putting my time and energy changed and then in 2013 I discovered working with leather.
I read that you began making leather goods for family and close friends when you originally started, what inspired you to give this a shot?
Yea, well, originally I made myself a wallet. It was inspired off a video on Vimeo I came across of another leather worker. I actually clicked to purchase the wallet but it was 85 Euros, plus shipping. So I decided to just try and make one for myself. It was really simple, it had two compartments for cards, a little slit on the right side for cash, and then it folded in half and that was it. A few of my friends saw it and thought it was cool so I made all of them wallets. It was funny, at the time, I didn’t have any tools, and I didn’t even know there was this whole other world to leather working. So I was using a nail that I sharpened on a bench grinder, a little toy hammer from my childhood, an exacto-knife and a sewing needle my mom gave me. Each one of those wallets took around two and a half hours to make and had around 160 holes, which were punch one at a time.
What was the first thing that you remember making and how’d it turn out?
The first thing I made was that wallet, I made maybe a dozen of them. Then after that I made a camera strap for my film camera. I remember the feeling after finishing that camera strap. I was so excited about it, but after holding it and attaching it to my camera I instantly was thinking, “how can I improve this?” As far as I know all my friends are still using those wallets and I still have my wallet and that camera strap. They aren’t branded at all and aren’t much to brag about, but they have a lot of sentimental value to me.
Over the years what sort of things have you done to perfect working with leather and how do you decide which materials to source?
I’ve asked a lot of questions. I think being open, being vulnerable and not being afraid to ask questions is really important. It’s how crafts are passed along and down to the next generation. I’m self taught, so everything I’ve learnt has essentially come from watching videos, asking other makers, looking at products and examining how they were made. A lot of trial and error, but that’s all part of the process and almost makes coming through with a new product that much more satisfying. I do a lot of research, especially when it comes down to materials. I source everything myself. Leather, canvas, hardware, buckles, thread, needles, stamps etc. All of the materials I use come from ethical sources. My canvas comes from Saskatoon and Vancouver, all the leather and hardware I use come from throughout the USA. I’m constantly looking for new sources locally, and throughout Canada, but it’s tough to find it all here.
Everyone has to start somewhere, do you have any upcoming plans for Creature Leather?
I plan to continue growing Creature, designing/improving new products and adding to my wholesale accounts across Canada. Right now I’m working on launching my redesign of almost all my products, as well as a simple lifestyle/apparel section to the brand. Keep an eye out for our upcoming drops.
Favourite leather to work with?
I’d have to say Veg Tanned. It’s a very porous raw material that essentially takes on the look of whatever you throw at it. It takes on its own life. I’ve seen wallets I’ve made, with a really dark indigo from their jeans. I’ve seen other wallets caked with who knows what but just dark and filthy haha. Cool to see the difference from a material that started out the same.
Digital or Film?
Film always. Haha. Love the process, the time it takes, and the element of surprise when it’s developed.
What’s playing in your car?
I don’t have a car. My 84 Dodge lit on fire last year, and I ride an old motorcycle so I don’t listen to much on the road. But summer time in the shop it’s usually beats of some sort. I’ll mess with a Tefrondon mix, Drake, Kendrick, Anderson Paak and Vince Staples. In the Fall and Winter I’ll listen to Blues and Folk. A.A. Bondy is a top played. JB Lenoir, Leif Vollebekk, Andy Shauf, The Weakerthans to name a few.
Best way to relieve stress?
Dude, stress is a funny thing. I don’t know how I deal with it honestly. It’s always different. I feel a lot of it from procrastination. So, being productive and getting things done always helps.
Couple favorites are, Alex Carleton, he’s now the creative director behind Filson. Valentin Ozich, founder of I Love Ugly. A$AP Rocky haha, Honestly though, he seems on another level. Those are a few.
Being fans of Creature’s work, we were happy to sit down and learn more about his production process, the brand’s vision and listen to Brad’s jokes. Make sure you keep an eye on the new good’s that they’re releasing and tell him we sent you! You can follow his Instagram account or pop by his website to learn more.