Rudi Diesvelt

Rudi Diesvelt

Rare Discovery Enterprises 1977 Ltd.

Medium: Leather, Metal, & Jewellery
Location: Vancouver, BC
Member Since: 1981

Rudi Diesvelt began working with leather in the late 1960’s, starting as a purser, making bags, belts and bands. A grant from Circle Craft allowed him to attend a course on Traditional Leatherwork at West Dean College in England, which led to bookbinding and engraving.

In the course of his travels he became aware of the art and culture of the early inhabitants of Pre-Roman Europe. The intricacies of Celtic artwork inspired him to apply that aesthetic to leather, and he found the process to be similar to chasing, a technique that brought back memories of his Father, who had been a silversmith. The tapping of leather tooling was reminiscent of the tapping of his Father’s work, and it was natural that Rudi go on to explore metal work in the form of bowls and plates. He received another grant, this time to travel to learn from Brian Clarke, the last of the great silversmiths in Ireland.

Rudi makes a variety of items from a rare cache of two hundred year old leather hides that were recovered from a ship that sank in Plymouth Sound, UK, in 1786. The Catharina Von Flensburg was carrying fine reindeer hide on board when it sank, and protected underwater, it was remarkably reserved. He has since created everything from golf and doctors’ bags, to belts, ring binders, wallets, card cases and key rings from this rare and fascinating material.

“If it disna’ last, why bother?”

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