Geek Shopping: Robin & Magpie Leather
Slovakian based leather-working company, Robin and Magpie Leather was established about a year ago and specialises in both custom and fan-based works; from keyrings and cuffs to cosplay armour. Sounds interesting? Let’s delve into the world of leatherworking with Robin and Magpie Leather’s owner, David.
• Introduce yourself to the world:
Hello! I’m David Ferrari, leather worker and owner of Robin and Magpie Leather!
I enjoy LARP, computer games, cosplay and leatherwork!
• What’s the significance (if any) behind the name “Robin and Magpie Leather”?
The company name is sort of named after my children, Robin which is the name of my son, and Hannah who likes shiny things, often referred to as a Magpie by us at home. So when it was time to decide the name, we named it after my twins.
• Leatherwork is pretty specific stuff! What inspired you to get creative with leather?
I started LARP some eight to nine years ago roughly, and leather items are very popular for costumes, armour and clothing accessories, so that’s what got me interested in it and the interest stuck for a long time.
Then it was shortly before the babies were born, me and the wife both wanted to find a hobby which would keep us occupied and also give us some bits to sell, the wife was able to get involved straight away too, her drawing skills and ability to design things meant we made a good pairing from the start of our leatherwork career, so she does the designs the items and makes the blueprints which I work from.
• What was your first ever piece of leatherwork crafting that you made?
The very first items we made were part of a box set from Tany Leather factory, A drinks coaster, A magnetic money clip and a keyring, the first two items were the practice, the third I kept for myself, still have it to this day, the design itself is from my love of the Elder scrolls series (Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim.) which inspired me to research the Deadric Runes from the games, and on the keyring I carved four runes, one letter for the initials of me, my wife and children.
• Do you prefer making the smaller items such as bracelets and keyrings, or the bigger projects like full armour sets?
This is a tough one to answer, the smaller items take less time but the detailing on them is incredibly tricky, the larger projects take more time but there is more room for details..
for example one of the larger costumes I helped create was John Marston from Red Dead Redemption, I done the leatherwork, and the Holster and shotgun holster took many hours to carve and stamp.
but I also made a small House Lannister keyring, and those who know Game of thrones will know how detailed the lion is, allot less time but just as tricky to tool..
I’d say I prefer the bigger projects, although I’m more well known for my smaller items, the bigger projects give me more time in the workshop.
• Tell us about the piece of work that you are most proud of making to date:
I’m most proud of two items!
The John Marston shotgun holster, hours worth of carving and tooling, not including the time it took to design it to look as close to the in-game version as possible.
but also of the Codpiece we made for Spider-Trooper!
Enitrely designed by my wife, we was told “Alchemist, Magey type steampunk kind of character” so we was given allot of creative freedom on the project!
• What are the ups and downs of having your own business?
The downs are keeping track of everything, any money spent, any money earned if it was part of the business we have to keep track of that, its when you start doing business that you come to appreciate why many people hire accountants!
On the plus side, I don’t -have- to work weekends or night shifts anymore! (Though we often work on the weekends and we’ve done a few night shifts too!)
• You have your own family life outside of Robin and Magpie Leather. Do you think your children will grow up to follow their dad’s footsteps in leatherworking?
I’d be shocked if they don’t! My boy has a huge interest in cars and motorbikes, always a good start, and before we had the workshop, back in the days of making things in the kitchen both Hannah and Robin would always try to see what daddy was doing, they love it when I have to tool the leather with stamps and hammer, even like to shout “bang bang” hehe.
• Have you ever had any work-related injuries?
Needles, Awls and Knives, the odd cut or scratch is common place, no costume is complete without Blood Sweat and Tears!
• What’s your favourite item that you’ve sold?
Definitely has to be a Skyrim, Imperial Legion insignia dragon, and Oblivion Necklace.
The necklace was a prize in a small competition I ran but those two are two of my favourites due to the love of the games.
• Even though you’re abroad, would you ever consider setting up a stall at a convention in the UK?
I do hope to, maybe not a convention this side of the year, but hoefully summer 2015 I’ll be able to set up stall in the UK.
However with all my family in the UK once we’ve settled down, I expect there will be many visits!
• Do you have any messages for your customers and the followers of Robin and Magpie Leather?
Don’t be scared to ask us questions! Don’t be scared to tell us concerns you may have!
If you like it, share it!
If you have any problems, always be sure to ask us for advise on caring for your items or if you need any repairs!
• And for those who haven’t heard of Robin and Magpie Leather, here’s a chance for you to sell yourself!
We deal in bespoke leather items and replica quality cosplay items! All our items our designed by us! No hidden book of patterns!
If you do have issues with your items, don’t be afraid to ask us for help!
All enquireies are welcome, so have a look at our Facebook page and don’t be scared to ask us anything.
• Last but not least, is there anything that you’d like to ask any (or all) of the Renegade Revolution crew?
I can’t think of any questions, so I’ll just say thanks for taking the time to interview me and I look forward to seeing you all at a convention!
Many thanks to David for his time. We wish him all the best with both his business and his family life!
If you are interested in purchasing any of his products, or enquiring about a commission, here’s some links for more info:
All photos used with permission from Robin & Magpie Leather.