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ROAD TEST

Road Test: learning leatherwork skills at Ah Moon

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 April, 2014, 11:08am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 April, 2014, 11:08am

Crafting leather accessories may seem intimidating, but Ah Moon's shop in Central is one of the few DIY workshops in Hong Kong catering to children keen to create their own unique designs. My 11-year-old, Francesca, recently road tested their introductory two-hour workshop, where she made a simple leather wallet with a zip.

The process, led by an experienced instructor (lessons are in English or Cantonese), started with deciding what to make from a selection varying from a small key holder to a wallet.

Although the workshop offers a wide range of leathers, the introductory DIY class comes with a convenient pre-cut pack of leather in a variety of colours. Once the basic techniques are learned, however, the studio offers many other options, including some custom-designed patterns.

The next step was decorating the leather. Francesca chose an imprint of a Japanese maple leaf and some footprints. She hammered them into the leather, adding the word "purse" to one side.

The instructor showed her the safest and most effective way of wielding the hammer.

After that, the special technique of sewing leather seams was demonstrated. Although it initially proved a little difficult to pierce the leather in some places, Francesca soon mastered the two-needle process joining the edges with a bright, multicoloured waxed thread.

The class is perfect for anyone wanting to start working with leather or someone looking to perfect their skills.

Not only does it provide a hands-on creative outlet, but the whole experience was fun and relaxing. Francesca also learned to work safely and to follow directions to create something from start to finish. She particularly liked the opportunity to add her own unique detailing.

In these days of digital technology, good old-fashioned craftwork is important for hands-on learning and creative thinking. It also aids in developing dexterity and hand-eye co-ordination. Francesca, who paints and enjoys paper cutting, said it was interesting to work with a different material.

I am wary of instructors who take over children's creative endeavours in an effort to make the result look professional. But Ah Moon's enthusiastic staff were quietly encouraging without interfering. Materials and tools were good quality, too.

The course is very popular with children and teenagers, many of whom make bespoke gifts for friends and family. The workshop also hosts birthday parties for up to 10 children (at a discounted rate).

The cost of Francesca's DIY course depends on the item selected (from HK$80 for a business card holder up to HK$150 for a wallet) and HK$250 for two hours' instruction. That is excellent value considering we went home with a useful accessory. The workshop is open seven days a week from 11am to 8pm.

Verdict: very worthwhile. Francesca was proud of her handmade purse and is planning to return to make a business card holder for her father's birthday. Meanwhile, I have my own plans for a fuchsia ostrich skin clutch bag! Ah Moon; Room 302, 3/F, Kamming House, 49-51 Queens Road Central; tel: 2510 0031; e-mail inquiry: ahmoon@ahmoon.com.hk

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