Monday, March 20, 2023

Making Art That Lasts: Leather scraps became Alex Hall’s passion

When Alex Hall, the creator behind AThirteen Leather, was in high school, he got a hold of a bundle of leather scraps and created a few leather rings. That bundle of leather became Hall’s discovery of his creative outlet. Originally from the Indian Lake region near Lima, Hall attended Bowling Green University to study Fine Arts. In 2010 he
was hired at RP Marketing/Transcend Strategy Group as the design lead. “Fortunately, I enjoy what I do,” Hall said. “It’s like working without working.”

Renewed leather
But after seeing an old photo of that leather ring he made in high school, he realized that he had an artistic curiosity satisfied by leatherworking. Beginning about 9 years ago, Hall gathered antique buttons and used them to make more leather rings, with a little more craft and detail. An outdoorsman, Hall uses axes for woodcutting and realized how nicely a handmade leather sheath would fit over his axes. Hall found a local source who was selling leather and began learning more about the nuances of the material, including the tanning process and thickness. “The outdoor camping side of me was inspired to make knife and axe sheaths,” Hall said. “And I kept buying more leather to create a variety of things.”

After posting a few of his projects on social media, Hall’s talents started to be recognized. “It really took off with people wanting me to create personal gifts for their family and friends,” Hall said. Today, Hall’s leatherworking has expanded to include wallets, bags, belts,
jewelry and more. He still loves his full time job in graphic design, but says leatherworking is a good creative release.

Personal Pieces
Every piece of work Hall makes is personalized and custom. “People bring projects to me and they’re not able to translate what they want the way I can,” he said. “If I can make it happen, that’s really cool.”

A particularly memorable piece was requested by a friend who wanted to pass down his old baseball glove to his kids, but the mitt was too worn for everyday use. Hall made the glove into things that are able to be kept, used and passed down.“I cut the glove into pieces and made the most out of all the leather,” he said. “I made wallets and earrings that my friend could give to his kids. He was thrilled.”

One of his favorite aspects of leatherworking is what his pieces mean to his clientele. This past Christmas, a woman came to Hall with an axe which had belonged to her husband’s father. Hall burned the initials (which the husband and his father share) into the
wood handle.

“She said it brought tears to her husband’s eyes on Christmas morning,” Hall says. “It’s really awesome to hear that, because my work does take a lot of time and I want it to be meaningful.”

Looking for Leather? Hall does take custom requests and loves to talk with people about leatherworking ideas. Contact him at or through Instagram, @athirteenleather.

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