Traditional leather craft at market
Diane Louise Paul demonstrates her stitching technique at the Exeter Farmers’ Market
It’s been a busy year for Diane Louise Paul, a local craftsperson and familiar face at the SGA Farmers’ Markets. Diane is internationally recognized for her pre-Civil War heritage leather work. When she is not demonstrating how to stitch leather belts at the Exeter or Portsmouth Farmers’ Market, she is traveling across the country with her exceptional work.
Earlier this year, Diane presented a display of her antique leather working tools in Virginia for the International Bell Association. “It was a big hit,” Diane says. She’s been asked back next year to their conference in Missouri to lead a seminar on how to preserve antique sleigh bells. “It’s a big thing to be asked to do a talk in front of this group of international bell people.”
The American Bell Association featured Diane in a recent edition of The Bell Tower Magazine. The article describes a part of her history in the craft:
Her fascination with sleigh bells goes back to the day, years ago, when she went to an antique auction to get sleigh bells for her horse, Missy. While waiting for the bells to be auctioned, she studied how the sleigh bell set was made.
As it turned out, she was outbid for the sleigh bell set (it sold to the highest bid paid that year for sleigh bells in New England), but Diane was hooked. She went home, bought sleigh bells… and started making her own.
See the full article here.
For the eleventh year in a row, Diane was given the highest award as a traditional artisan in the Directory of Traditional American Crafts, as judged by Early American Life’s panel of national experts.
Display of traditional leather tools that Diane uses
Diane was also included in an article by the Hippo, featuring a group of NH artists. They fill in more of Diane’s early history:
Before she was a leather artisan, Diane Louise Paul raced horses at Rockingham Park. Naturally, she came across leather items all the time — chaps, straps, sleigh bells, you name it. On occasion, she came across very badly made items. One day in the mid-1980’s, when her chaps needed replacing, she took matters into her own hands. She rented an antique sewing machine and got to work.
“The very first pair I made, I wore,” Paul said… People noticed quickly. Many other riders were facing the same problem — worn-down or broken leather gear — and requested help. “They used to give me things to practice on, and I repaired their stuff. It’s how I taught myself: I took things apart, repaired them, and put them back together,” Paul said.
See Hippo article here.
Diane will be at both the Exeter Farmers’ Market and Portsmouth Farmers’ Market this week. Stop by and ask her about the custom dog collar and leash that Blue buffalo dog food company ordered to use in their next dog food commercial!
October Events – Save the Date
Saturday, October 25th is the annual Pumpkin Smash at the Portsmouth Farmers’ Market, in support of the Portsmouth Halloween Parade.
Thursday, October 30th, come to our Halloween Market in Exeter – celebrate the holiday in style and join us in costume at the Farmers’ Market.
Stay tuned for more details on these October events in upcoming newsletters.
Have a great week & we’ll see you at market!