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In building Oldfield into everything we hope it can be, we often stumble upon others on a similar path to our own, a path which inspires us to ask a few more questions. In this addition to the Oldfield Journal we met up with Gemma from InkSmudge Journals on a slightly chilly winter’s afternoon, and she told us all about her time in working with leather.
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
“My name is Gemma and I am a stationary addict. Phew, it feels so good to finally say it!” The countryside was where Gemma spent all of her time as a child. Growing up in a creative environment through childhood formed the foundations of what was to come. With a mother as a seamstress, there was always something being made out of nothing; “it was always incredible to see it all come together”. Gemma was surrounded by creativity, and couldn’t stop herself from being hands on, either “making mud pies in the garden or finding pieces of wood and a few nails to knock together a stool”.
Forever addicted to stationary, Gemma had empty notebooks scattered around the place, hiding away in all the draws. With an inspiringly creative mind, but lacking a sense of how to organise her thoughts, she went in search of a system to allow everything to make sense. Ryder Carroll, a designer with attention deficit disorder created a system called ‘Bullet Journaling’, and this was exactly what Gemma needed. It gave her the light she needed to help put her thoughts into words.
Now with a system, Gemma needed the perfect notebook. But of course the perfect notebook couldn’t be found in the local stationers, and so back to the drawing board. “There was only one thing for it, to make one myself. I headed out to the haberdashery for some (now I know was awful) leather, ordered some tools online, and off I went!” After she made the first one, she tried to make some more, share a few online, and to her surprise people shared her passion for journaling. And before Gemma knew it, that was the start of InkSmudge Journals.
ABOUT YOUR STUDIO
“Leatherwork is not as easy as it looks!” Gemma shares a past feeling of bewilderment towards the extensive different leather types, thicknesses, weights, finishes etc. It’s a world that to the outsider can sometimes appear so simple, but as soon as consideration is made for the end purpose of an item, the options are endlessly complicated! Her first year in the leather industry was really about research and learning. Travelling to all the leather wholesalers here in the UK, and to soak up all the advice and knowledge she could about her newly founded passion. A process which further confirmed her love for the material. Between the leather, the tooling, equipment, it’s a super expensive trade to learn. Gemma admits it’s not for the faint hearted. “One wrong cut, a deep scratch, and it is ruined!”
KICKSTARTING A FUTURE
Gemma tells us highlights of InkSmudge today have to be her Kickstarter campaigns. Armed with a product idea, and a plan on how to make it, finding the support to do so via a campaign helped make her dream happen! “The level of support and lifelong customers you can receive is amazing! It is a great platform and I would recommend anyone to use it if they have an idea they want to see come alive.”
From the early days, InkSmudge Journals has been sharing beautiful leather work to people all across the world on Etsy. It is an incredible platform that has allowed her work to be shared globally, but with confidence we are excited to see Gemma’s next stage for InkSmudge, launching a standalone website.
To learn more follow along with InkSmudge over on Instagram.