A history of Belts at the Beggars Pouch
I work at The Beggars Pouch and I make belts. Honest to goodness quality leather belts.
Way back when, in July of 1972 I went to an arts and craft show with my girlfriend. Her father was exhibiting some paintings at The Norwich Rose Arts Festival. I didn’t care too much for the fine art but I was really captivated by the crafts. There were silver and gold smiths, folks doing stained glass, wood carvers and potters, a whole lot of potters. But it was the guys doing leather that really grabbed me! I remember a long hair sitting on a stitching pony hand stitching wallets and another guy lacing up hard leather handbags. And then I stumbled upon another dude tapping designs into leather belts. I had never seen this done and I was mesmerized!!!! In fact, I bought a belt from this guy. Probably paid all of $8 or $10 bucks for it.
I was really taken in by what I’d seen and over the next few weeks I found where to purchase leather working tools and bought a few, along with a couple belt blanks to play with.
In case you haven’t done the math, that was exactly FORTY-FIVE YEARS ago!
This all occurred to me around last January, and I decided to take a little time and enjoy myself. I tunneled in at The Annex, called Roger at RJF Leather and started purchasing European veg tanned double bends. These are hides tanned in Spain and are fabulous for hand tooling.
And I started tooling belts. New designs were worked out, different color patterns, new dye combinations. I spent over 6 weeks driving the crew crazy listening to me hammering out designs and messing with new ideas. I made hundreds of belts!! Then let Jasmine, Will and Matt carefully gum, dye and polish the edges until they had a high luster.
And now, in July of 2017 they are on display and up for sale at the shop. That visit to the Rose Arts Festival took my life on an unexpected turn and now, 45 years later I’m still tooling belts and having a ball doing it. I can honestly say that these are the finest hand tooled belts I’ve ever produced and just might be some of the nicest ones I’ve ever seen!! I’ve posted some pictures, including one of the first belt I ever made along with the first stamping tools I purchased. I must have learned something in all these years!!