LEATHER CRAFTSMAN

STEVE DEWEY  | AT HAND LEATHER

Desert Mama- Who is Steve?

Steve- Oh wow, right out of the gates with the heavies.  

I’ve been asking myself my whole life.

My name is Steve Dewey Coleman. Fourth generation leatherworker. My family have always been country folk. Currently working out of my home town of Canyon City, Oregon.

D- When and what made you get into this type of craft?

S- My father showed me how to do some simple leather work when I was 13 or so, and I liked that his father taught him, and his father before him as well .

D- How long have you been creating?

S- I’ve been creating my whole life, really. In one way or another. But I got into leather work more seriously about six years ago.

D- What is your source of inspiration?

S- Problems are inspiring. Conflict is inspiring. Things not working properly, or failing.

If everything worked right, and was built well, I wouldnt bother with half the things I do.

D- Which do you consider is your best work by now? 

S- This one:

 
 
 

 

D- What is your favorite and your least piece to make?
 

S- I enjoy putting together larger pieces the most I think. Those big duffel bags, saddle bags, shoulder bags, etc. 

I don’t think I have a least favorite. I WANT to make whatever im making. Some things are more challenging than others but the satisfaction is present with every piece.


D- Where and how would you like to see yourself 10 years from now?

S- Hopefully leading a peaceful life, at the house I built, with a couple kids. A working property, here in eastern Oregon, that I built off the earnings from my work. 

Either that or back at that apple orchard in Prague, with a bottle of wine and not a care in the world.

 
 
 

D- Your best quality and your worst defect:

S- My best quality isn’t up to me. That’s for someone else to say at my funeral, but I’d like to know it now 

My worst quality is how easily Im able to put myself down.
 

To shit talk myself or diminish my abilities even when I dont really believe those words when I speak them.

D- A success:

A- With a gun to my head I would say that I feel like a success any time someone tells me they still love the piece I made for them- 1, 2, 5 years ago.

 

D- How is a perfect day in your life:

S- A perfect day is like a perfect lap on a racetrack.

It’s out there, and im trying to find it, but some corners are difficult to navigate no matter how many times you pass through them.

RECOMMENDATIONS

– A phrase:“The trick… is not minding that it hurts”. This is a line that Peter O’Toole gave in ‘Laurence of Arabia’ that I have adored since I was a kid. 

– A film: A film? ONE movie?? Good lord that’s impossible! 

Anything by Kubrick, PT Anderson, Jodorowsky… anything with Oliver Reed in it. Alien is still a favorite. Denis Villeneuve does amazing work. Im sure I could have answered Villeneuve’s DUNE a year from now but it’s not out yet! 
 

– A song: God dammit, that’s so hard too. Lately I’ve been trippin on ‘Sledgehammer’ by Peter Gabriel.

That is so mood based. Like asking someone to just fling out a mix tape. Who is going to hear this? What do I want them to know about me? You know?
 
I will say that I’m probably the biggest ABBA fan you’ve interviewed though.
 

– A book:  Hawkline Monster, by Richard Brautigan. Honestly anything by him. 

Hemingway: ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’  and ‘A Moveable Feast’

WHAT DOES STEVE PREFER?

  • Ten years in a coma /Ten years in jail ( I’d take the jail time I think. Ten year coma would be worse for my family I think)
  • City life / Country life (Live in the country, visit the city)
  • Talking to animals / Talking to the dead (Oh give me all the dead person conversations)
  • Only being able to whisper/ Only being able to scream (Whispers please. I don’t like to assault anyone’s senses)
  • Lifetime free wifi / Lifetime free coffee (Im six years without caffeine so that’s an easy one )
  • Singing in public /Dancing in public (Singing in public has gotten me money, many times in the past. I don’t think my dancing in public would have done that )
  • To only eat salty / To only eat sweet (Salty like the tears of my greatest enemy. Myself)
  • Waking up in a desert / In a boat in the middle of the Ocean ( Ive actually had a fantasy of waking up stranded in the middle of the Sahara since I was a little kid, and figuring out how to survive it. My time at sea was fucking gnarly though. I’d be too tempted to drink sea water I think)
  • Knowing what you will die of / Knowing what day you will (Im the kind of person who will fuck off way too much without a deadline, so give me the date of my inevitable death please so I can act accordingly)
  • Something organized / Something improvised (Both at the time?)
  • Music Concert / Theater Play (Every time im at a music show I would rather be on the stage playing, so watching live theater might be more compelling for me if I ever got to do that.)
  • Visiting the past / Visiting the future (Future. Maybe I could give us allllll our death date hahahHAHAHA)
  • Being unable to see / Being unable to hear (Hearing loss fucking sucks, I’ve had a bit of that. But not seeing might be worse. So I’d rather keep my sight )
  • Lights on / Lights off (Umm, during what? If you mean… then lights on)
  • Reality / Fiction ( What’s the difference?)
  • Motorcycle trip / Car trip (Motorcycle trip for sure)
  • Never leaving your city / Not being able to return (I’d take exile, the world is a big beautiful place)
  • Being submissive / Being dominant (Either, as long as there’s some role reversal)
  • Continuing with your life/ Restarting your life (Fuuuuck, another tricky one. I feel Like I could do a better job with these shapes if I started over, but there would be all kinds of problems either way, so I dont know about this one )